For anyone that knows me, they’ll tell you that I do a lot of quilt research. In my travels, I’ve acquired a nice personal library of resource and reference books. One of those books happens to be America’s Quilts and Coverlets by Carleton L. Stafford and Robert Bishop. On page 38 is a black and white photo of the quilt that inspired this particular project. I haven’t actually asked for permission to post the photo, so you’ll have to use my in-process photos as reference points. The blurb below the photo states: “Glazed linsey-woolsey, patchwork in an eight-pointed start design, c. 1800, New York or Pennsylvania. 93 1/4″ x 77 1/2″. A deep watermelon pink combined with dark brown, and quilted in oblique lines to fill each square. The pink sections have been pieced many times. (Privately owned)”
First off, deep watermelon pink and dark brown combinations weren’t really popular until the late 1800’s. The idea that there’s a quilt out there that has this color scheme so early in the century, is quite a find! I was intrigued. I do have a tendancy to make/recreate quilts based on photos and having only the finished size to work from. This one is right up my alley.
The next point that makes this quilt interesting enough to want to recreate it was the eight-pointed stars. Most quilters would call the block an Ohio Star. It’s a basic quilt block pattern – directions can be found in a variety of places and websites. For my use, I didn’t use those. Instead, I went to a couple of other references for triangle measurments.
The last “selling point” to make this quilt was the overall finished size. It’s decent bedsize quilt, and many reenactors would find it handy for use in camps. Big blocks make for quicker piecing – always a bonus.
The first thing I needed to do was reverse engineer the blocks. Doing basic math and knowing what measurments are easier to use, I decided the blocks would be finished out to 15″ square, and the rest of the size would be made up with the outside border.
To make this quilt, you will need the following:
3 1/4 yards of dark watermelon pink fabric
4 1/2 yards of dark brown fabric
Queen sized batting
2 1/2 yards of 108″ fabric for backing
Coordinating thread for piecing
Coordinating thread for quilting
Basic quilting/sewing supplies
Traditional piecing method
From the pink
– cut 5 strips WOF at 15 1/2′ wide; sub-cut these into (10) 15 1/2′ squares
– cut 4 strips WOF at 6 1/4″ wide; sub-cut these into (20) 6 1/4″ squares – cross cut these twice, so each square yields 4 triangles (total of 80)
– cut 2 strips WOF at 5 1/2″ wide, sub-cut these into (10) 5 1/2″ squares
From the dark brown
– cut 10 strips WOF at 2 1/2″ and set aside. This is your binding.
– cut 4 strips WOF at 6 1/4″ wide, sub-cut these into (20) 6 1/4″ squares – cross cut these twice, so each square yields 4 triangles (total of 80)
– cut 6 strips WOF at 5 1/2″ wide, sub-cut to (40) 5 1/2″ squares
– cut 4 strips WOF at 9 1/2″ wide and set aside. This is your side borders.
– cut 4 strips WOF at 9″ wide and set aside. This is your top/bottom borders.
~~Making the Quarter-Square Triangles~~
You’ll need 4 per block, 40 total
Modern piecing method
Do NOT sub-cut the 6 1/4″ squares!! Instead, draw lines corner to corner on the back of either the pink or the brown squares. I chose the brown.
From here on out, I’ll be dividing each step of the assembly instructions like this, traditional and modern piecing method. Please keep track of which you’re doing, as it could get confusing otherwise.
Tradtional piecing method
Draw a 1/4″ seam allowance on the back of each brown piece. (I chose brown, because I wanted to make sure the lines wouldn’t show through the fabric.I used a mechanical pencil to draw in my lines. Chose whichever works for you, but be consistent.) This will become your stitching guide.
Start handsewing! 😀
Using the above triangle image as a guide, you’ll piece one pink and one brown piece along the right side, right sides together. Do this for each pink/brown triangle set. You can choose either the left or right short side, just make sure you stay with that side all of the way through this step. Otherwise, the quarter-square triangles won’t turn out right.
Don’t forget to make a backstitch every inch or so. You do this, so if – at some point in the quilt’s life, the thread breaks, it doesn’t undo all of your hard work. It’s easier to fix a small hole than to attempt to fix a bigger hole, once the quilt is done.
Piece the quarter-square triangle sets together like this.
To get the back seam, where the triangle points meet, it helps to open them up like this, and then press flat. It helps to flatten the “bump” at the center.
Modern piecing method
Pair up the 6 1/4″ pink and brown squares, right sides together, with the drawn line on top. You’ll be stitching 1/4′ on either side of this line.
Cut the squares apart on the diagonal line. Press the seam to the dark side of the triangles.
Place the half-square triangles together as shown. Draw another cross line from corner to corner. This is your next stitching guide line.
Stitch down either side of your guide.
Cut apart, using your drawn line as your cut line. Open your squares, and press.
Measure the size of your quarter-square triangles. If you need to, trim to 5 1/2″ square.
~~Piecing the blocks together~~
Time to start putting your blocks together!! You’ll need the following, per block:
– 4 brown 5 1/2″ squares
– 1 pink 5 1/2″ square
– 4 quarter-square triangle blocks you just made
I set mine out to make sure of placement and double check my work against my source photograph. It would really suck to have one of the quarter-square triangles turned wrong. Never hesitate to double check your work!
Traditional piecing method
Don’t forget to draw on the 1/4″ seam allowance on the back of the brown squares, if you haven’t already done it. I usually sew my blocks into strips, then sew the strips together.
When you have the block done, press.
Now, make another 9 more!! You’ll need a total of 10 Ohio Star blocks.
Modern Piecing method
When piecing, make sure you keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance. I chain assemble the blocks together. (Some call it flagging, or flag assembly) I will caution you to make sure the quarter-square triangle blocks are going in the right direction. I ended up having to redo a couple of the assemblies, because I had a couple turned wrong.
Don’t forget to press your blocks when you’re done. You’ll need a total of 10 Ohio Star blocks when you’re done.
Strictly as an observaton – this is what the handsewn and the machine sewn blocks look like side by side. Front and back views.
~~Piecing the main quilt top~~
Now that you’ve assembled the Ohio Star blocks, you’ll need to piece the rest of the quilt top together. Alternate the Ohio Star blocks with the 15 1/2″ square pink blocks.
Press the pieced top.
You’ll need 2 strips WOF for each side. After you trim off the salvege, piece the strips together on the short edges – creaing one long strip.
Measure the center of your quilt, from top to bottom. Write this number down.
Trim your side borders to the measurement you wrote down. Attach the side borders.
Top and Bottom Borders
You’ll need 2 strips WOF for top and 2 for the bottom. After you trim off the salvege, piece two strips together on the short edges – creating one long strip.
Measure across the center, side to side. Write this number down.
Trim your top border, and the bottom border, to this measurement. Attach to the top and bottom, respectively to your quilt.
My finished quilt top looks like this:
In the next lesson, we’ll begin the quilting.