With its geometric design, I just love the Ohio Star Quilt Block. And what’s even better, it’s surprisingly easy to make, consisting of just squares and triangles.
This timeless block boasts a rich heritage that quilters have cherished for centuries. Tracing its roots back to the early 1800s, its popularity surged in the 1930s and more recently it has found its way into the hearts of modern quilters.
In this tutorial, I’ll run through how to make the 9-inch version of the Ohio Star quilt block. I’ll then go into detail on how you can make your own variations to make something with your own unique style.
- 2 fat quarters in contrasting colours.
For a traditional Ohio Star block, selecting two contrasting colours of fabric is key to highlight the star design.
- Sewing machine
- Iron and ironing board
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Quilter’s ruler
- Fabric marker or chalk
Cut the following squares for a 9″ Ohio Star Block:
- Cut (4) 3½” x 3½” squares from colour 1 for the corners.
- Cut (1) 3½” x 3½” square from colour 2 for the center.
- Cut (2) 4½” x 4½” squares from colour 1 for the star points.
- Cut (2) 4½” x 4½” squares from colour 2 for the star points.
1. Place a 4½” square of colour 1 on top of a 4½” square of colour 2, right sides together.
2. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.
3. Sew ¼” away from the line on both sides (see red dotted lines), then cut along the drawn line.
4. Open the blocks and press the seam allowances to one side to create four Half Square Triangles (HST). Repeat for the other 4½” squares.
Place two of the HST together with right sides together making sure that the colours are opposite each other. Repeat steps 2-4. Trim the block to measure 3½” x 3½” square.
This will form Quarter Square Triangles (QST) which will complete the star points.
Layout the cut squares and QST blocks (star points) to form the Ohio Star Quilt Block.
Sew the blocks in the top row together. Press with the seam allowances going in one direction.
Sew the blocks in the middle row together. Press with the seam allowances in the opposite direction.
Sew the blocks in the bottom row together. Press with the seam allowances in the same direction as the top row.
Sew the rows together to form the finished Ohio Star Quilt Block.
Quilt Block Variations
The Ohio Star Quilt Block serves as a wonderful canvas for creative expression. Here are some variations you might consider:
Two-Colour Ohio Star: The traditional Ohio Star Quilt block usually employs two contrasting colours. This stark contrast helps to highlight the star pattern effectively.
Three-Colour Ohio Star: Introducing a third colour can add a new dimension and make the star pop even more.
Four-Colour Ohio Star (Variable Star): Incorporating a fourth colour can transition the Ohio Star into a Variable Star, providing a more intricate design and colour play.
Block Arrangement: Experiment with the arrangement of your blocks within your quilt. Rotating or mirroring the Ohio Star block can create visually captivating patterns across your quilt top.
Combining with Other Blocks: The Ohio Star can be combined with other block designs to create a more complex and visually interesting quilt.
Scaling Up or Down:
Adjusting the size of your Ohio Star block can create different visual effects. A larger block can make a bold statement, while smaller blocks can be used to add intricate detail to your quilt. I’ve seen a double bed size quilt made from one huge block, which is really quite striking.
Fabric Choices: Instead of using a solid colour, consider using fabrics with different textures or small-scale prints. This can add depth and interest to your quilt design.
Embroidered Details: Add hand-embroidered details such as veins or subtle shading to bring your block to life.
The modern quilt movement embraces the idea of breaking rules. Don’t hesitate to think outside the box. Mix patterns, play with asymmetry, or even incorporate some appliqué work to give a modern twist to the traditional Ohio Star Block.
Advanced Ohio Star Block Designs
Dive into more complex designs by playing around with the colour schemes or by incorporating different fabric textures to add depth and a unique touch to your quilt project.
The quilt above has a repeating 4-colour Ohio Star block, with sashing between the blocks.
In this quilt design I’ve replaced the plain squares in the four corners with half square triangles. You can see that it gives a very different feel to the finished quilt and produces a kaleidoscope of colour.
Tote Bag Using the Ohio Star Block
I was so inspired by this block, that I made a tote bag that features the Ohio Star block on it. This is a 9-inch block with the addition of a border around the sides.
Final Thoughts on the Ohio Star Quilt Block
The Ohio Star Quilt Block is a timeless classic, offering both historical richness and a canvas for modern creativity. So if you’ve not tried it before, why not give it a go? We’d love to see what you create with it.