Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Around the Block Round Robin - Ohio Star

The Around the Block Round Robin quilt along is in full swing and I am delighted that Becky at Patchwork Posse asked me to share my favorite block with you!! While it is hard to choose a favorite (there are so many lovelies!), I knew right away that it had to be a star block. The Ohio Star encompasses everything that I love about 21st century quilting - strong ties to the past but easily adaptable to today's techniques and styles, straight lines and symmetry, pretty points and precise piecing and enough versatility to make it personal.

As with many traditional quilt block designs, the exact origin is unclear but it dates back to the early 1800's and gained popularity in Depression era America. It is a basic 9 patch block, made up of five squares and four quarter square triangle units.

Broken apart:

Originally, it would be made of a background color and just one other fabric for the star points, but other versions can have two, three or even four fabrics in them. My favorite is a three color version and that is the one I am sharing the tutorial for today. I love how it gives the look of an on-point square in a square center!!

Let's get started!!

The block measures 12 1/2" unfinished (12" finished)
Seam allowances are 1/4"

You will need:

a background fabric, usually solid but a low volume or polka dot works too.
three fabrics of your choice, some contrast in color or value is best


This diagram shows the placement of the fabrics in the finished block - do not cut the triangles!

background fabric, cut four 4.5" squares and one 5.5" square
fabric #1, cut one 4.5" square
fabric #2, cut one 5.5" square
fabric #3, cut two 5.5" squares

To create the quarter square triangle units, you first create half square triangles. Pair up a 5.5" background square with a 5.5" square of fabric #3, and a 5.5" square of fabric #2 with a 5.5" square of fabric #3. With right sides together, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.

Then cut apart along the drawn line. Press seams towards fabric #3.

You will have four half square triangles - 2 A's and 2 B's.

Taking one A and one B unit, place right sides together so that fabric #3 (the yellow here) is on opposite sides. Fold back the top to be sure you have it right.

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner in the opposite direction of the previous seam line. The seam allowances should snuggle up against each other, place a pin where the seams meet. Sew 1/4" on each side of the drawn line.

Cut apart on the line and press to one side. Each pair will give you two quarter square triangles with a perfectly matched center.

That bares repeating - a perfectly matched center! Go on, do a happy dance!!

Trim the quarter square triangle units to 4.5". Making them a bit big and cutting to size like this ensures that your 9 squares will all be an equal 4.5" and will match nicely at the corners.

Now lay out your squares in the order shown here. You will sew three squares into rows and press seams towards the plain squares.

Then sew the rows together matching the seams. Press the seams away from the center.


This is such a happy block, don't you think? Here is a quilt I made that has a fourth color, creating the appearance of two interlocking 4-point stars:

And here are some variations drawn with the TouchDraw app on my iPad. 
Even in solid colors, you can see how versatile the block is.


So, do you want to win a prize? I thought so! Just make this block and add it to the Flickr group here. One random winner will be chosen to win a bundle of Joel Dewberry's Botanique containing 13 fat quarters. How's that for awesome?!  For more details, or to see the other blocks in the round robin so far, visit Becky's Blog, Patchwork Posse.


And be sure to visit these bloggers and designers to see their blocks.  There is some serious talent here and a giveaway with each block!

3/5/2013Block 5Elizabeth–Simple Simon and Company
3/12/2013Block 6Bonnie-Fishsticks Designs
3/19/2013Block 7Ellen — The Long Thread
3/26/2013Block 8Sherri — A Quilting Life
4/2/2013Block 9Tammie — craftytammie
4/9/2013Block 10Kate and Elizabeth
4/16/2013Block 11Jennifer – Ellison Lane
4/23/2013Block 12Susan- Living with punks
4/30/2013Sew the quilt topBecky
5/7/2013Adding bordersBecky
5/14/2013Machine quiltingBecky
5/21/2013Finishing & bindingBecky
Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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  1. Very pretty Ohio Star, Tessa Marie! Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial!

  2. Lovely tutorial, very clear and perfect results- I am dreaming of the days when I can achieve sharp and straight triangles. The bright fabrics give this classic a modern twist, but it retains its homely charm. One for my to do list for sure!

  3. I like the Ohio Star Block it is a favorite of mine

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. I love your version. I don't think you can go wrong with the beautiful prints from the Sidewalks collection.

  5. very nice blocks and your tutorial could not be clearer, thank you

  6. Gorgeous! Love the greens and navy one. You do fantastic work. Best, Kate


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