Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Random Ohio Stars!

Random Ohio Stars!!
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here for printer friendly version)



Approximate size: 60"X71"


Ohio Stars have been a favorite of quilters for generations!

I am graduating from massage therapy school in two weeks, (Nov 11th, 2005!) and for the last two terms, I've presented graduates at school with lap quilts. The last term I took all the graduate's names and had someone draw two names to "win" the quilts. So here I am with my own graduating class and it's been eatting at me that I don't have anything for my OWN class!

I recieved these 12" Ohio Star blocks when I moved here to South Carolina from an online email list that I am on. I had toyed with the idea of making 6" blocks to go in with the 12" blocks and started making them, but to make it bed sized I was going to have to make a bunch more 12" blocks, and oodles of 6" blocks.....I got started, but it of course got way-laid as I got interested in things that were more interesting.. :c)

One morning I pulled these out...this is how many 12" Ohio stars were already done, and I also had a stack of the 6" ohio stars, and even the shirting alternate plain blocks were cut. I just started laying them out on the floor. I thought that if I added borders I could quilt this simply, with some all over design and it would be perfect for a graduation quilt for one of my classmates!

This lap sized quilt measures approximately 60" X 71". It has 12 12" Ohio Star blocks, and 16 6" ohio star blocks. There are also 16 6" plain shirting blocks used as alternate squares. You can make the quilt bigger or smaller as you desire, just lay out blocks as you to go make it the size you want.

***Formula Hint*** Lots of blocks use quarter-square triangles because we need the straight of the grain on the LONG edge of the triangle. Half-square triangles have the bias edge on the long side, but these are a bit different. What is the formula to keep in mind for when you need to figure out what size of squares to cut with an X to get the 4 quarter square triangles? Take your finished size of the unit. In this case the finished size is 4". Add 1 1/4" to that measurement. In this case that size is 5 1/4"!! We will be cutting 5 1/4" squares with an X to get our quarter square triangles. In the future, just remember that you add the 1 1/4" to the FINISHED SIZE of the unit!

12" Ohio Star blocks:



Because these blocks were recieved from friends, they are all slightly different in appearance. Some are made with two fabrics, some with 3 or more. It is fun to do different variations to give the quilt some spark. the pieces above are what you need for a 3 fabric block. The background is all the same shirting print, the star points are all the same, and only the center square is contrasting. You can cut the center square any color you want to get the look you want. For this variation of star you will need:

Light: (4) 4 1/2" squares
Light: (2) 5 1/4" squares cut diagonally from corner to corner twice with an X
Dark: (2) 5 1/4" squares cut diagonally from corner to corner twice with an X
Center: (1) 4 1/2" square


I like to lay out my pieces to see how the block is going to look before I sew it together. to me, the red/black print and the mourning grey print that I used for the darks are just looking washed out with the light! So this is where you can make some changes and some variations. What if we removed the 4 light triangles around the center square and added another color?

Here is another option for you. Along with the method where you cut the squares with an X to get the star triangles, did you know you can use a 'companion angle' ruler and cut the same shape from 2.5" strips? That is what I did to get these alternate triangles!


Gotta love the tools and gadgets! This was a 2.5" strip that was already in my strip bin, and instead of using the 5 1/4" square cut with an X...I used this ruler to cut 4 triangles from the strip instead. Options are always good, right? :c) I laid out the double pink triangles in place of the shirting ones, and YES! I like this one much better. So there is another option for your stars!


Remember with these triangles, as you lay them with right sides together, you are going to sew along one short side, not the long side as you would in 1/2 square triangles. These are quarter square triangles and sewn together they make what we call an 'hour glass' block or unit. I chain pieced these through my machine, and then pressed them all towards the star point fabric. Trim the excess "dog ears" at the corners.



Here you see how the 'hour glass' unit halves are sewn together and being fed through the machine. Sew all 4 hour glass units this way and press towards the darker half. Trim remaining excess 'dog ears' at the corners. Next you will lay out all your pieces in 9 patch fashion, and from here it is as simple as sewing a 9 patch block together. Looking at this block, I can see another variation we could do with it...what if you made all 4 corners a different fabric? Maybe use another shirting that was a slightly different shade for a very old fashioned look, or bring in another color all together!


Here is our finished block! Continue making blocks in the 12 inch size until you have 12 of them.

Now for the 6" blocks!

The only difference with these blocks (besides being small!) is that they have DARK backgrounds and LIGHT star points. These stars also only use two fabrics, but you could vary them as you want.

Do you remember the formula for quarter-square triangles? For the 6" blocks, our finished unit measurement is 2". We add 1 1/4" to that 2" to figure what size of squares to cut with an X to get the star point triangles. We will be cutting these squares 3 1/4"! (2"+1 1/4"= 3 1/4")

For each star cut:

Light: (star points)
(2) 3 1/4" squares. Cut these squares diagonally twice
with an X to give you 8 star points.

(1) 2 1/2" square for the star center.

Dark: (background)

(2) 3 1/4" squares. Cut these squares diagonally twice
with an X to give you 8 star background triangles.

(4) 2 1/2" squares for block corners.

Plain alternate squares:
(16) 6.5" squares cut from shirtings or other light prints.

Piecing Small Ohio Star Blocks:

Make four hour-glass units:

Place a light triangle with a dark triangle with right sides together..and seam along one SHORT side. This will make one HALF of your hour glass unit. Continue chain feeding triangle pairs through your machine until you have 8 identical triangle pairs.

lay these out on your pressing board and press the seam allowances to the DARK. trim points and snip threads between triangles.


Pair the hour glass halves with long sides facing eachother.Lay these with right sides together to stitch them into hour glass units. Trim threads between squares, and trim excess points.

Lay out all your star pieces to form the block..... Make sure that your white points are forming the star points...and place your 4 blue background squares in the corners, and the white square in the center.

Sew the block sections together as you would a 9 patch block.
Make 16 6" Ohio Star blocks!


Take a 6.5" cut light background square, and sew it to each of the 6" star blocks. I press towards the light on these because it is less bulky than folding the star point seam allowance back on itself. I often let the fabric dictate to me which way it wants to press.

Now for the random setting part! This is fun, because there are no real rules as how blocks have to be set, you can pretty much lay them the way that you want. Here is the first layout I played with:



Lay out the large stars on the floor and insert the small stars with the background squares between them.
Some places you will want to have two small stars next to each other making a star 'four patch'.


I ended up moving a couple stars around to get a more pleasing color balance. Remember these large stars were all sent to me in the mail by friends, and they didn't know what the others were sending. I ended up with A LOT of green and cheddar! So I tried to make the small stars in all the colors that were NOT green and cheddar to even out the color scheme a bit.



I assembled the quilt top in rows ACROSS and then sewed those rows together to make the quilt top center.
Playing with colors for borders was fun too. Green was too overpowering, red still made it look like a Christmas quilt, so I went with 2" cut strips of medium blue for the inner border, and 5" cut strips of indigo for the outer border. Blue always seems to tie things all together for me.

Close up of quilting:


I quilted this with an edge to edge design called "Waterworld" by Willowleaf Studio Designs. I could have quilted it more intricately, but remember this is going to be given away to a classmate next week!

I am also in a hurry to get it bound! :c)

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