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Awash With Color Mystery Sampler -- Block 3

Well, our skill-building Awash With Color Mystery Sampler is getting a great response. We have two blocks completed but it's still not too late to play catch-up if you would like to make this mystery sampler quilt. You can find the previous block patterns on Quilter’s World website; just click on "Updates" at the top of the page and then select the update issue you need from the pull-down menu.

I designed this mystery sampler, Awash With Color, not only to be a fun project but also to be a great scrap and stash buster.
Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my thoughts, inspiration and experiences with other quilters in hopes to inspire them on to another project.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. While we'll be working on the mystery sampler for the next few months, I will also continue to suggest patterns and, sometimes, books that I feel will be of value to anyone who wants to improve their quilting skills. This time I'm sharing Poppy Fields, a downloadable pattern that I feel goes along with Block No. 3 since it contains two sizes of Ohio Star blocks. It's nice to have a pattern that allows you to work on a specific skill, such as making sure you're keeping the points of your triangles when you're piecing. Both the Ohio Star Block No. 3 from the mystery quilt and Poppy Fields can be great for just that purpose. So, if you enjoy this update's block you may want to try the Poppy Fields pattern to further practice your skills.

Poppy Fields
The Poppy Fields pattern can be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

For the third block in the Mystery Sampler Series, Ohio Star, you will need your chosen background fabric (mine is black) and two other contrasting fabrics.

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Diagram of Block No. 3 -- Ohio Star. Make two blocks.

Cutting List for Block No. 3 -- Ohio Star

(Makes two blocks)

From the background (black) fabric cut:
  • 8 (4 1/2-inch) A squares
  • 4 (5 1/4-inch) B squares, then cut twice on the diagonal (HST)

From lime cut:

  • 2 (4 1/2-inch) C squares

From fuchsia dot cut:

  • 4 (5 1/4-inch) D squares, then cut once on the diagonal (QST)

Note: You can easily substitute in your color choices. The only one I would suggest you should keep the same all the way through the Mystery Sampler is the background fabric. All the rest can and should be pulled from your stash if possible.

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My fabric selection for Block No. 3 -- Ohio Star.

Since this is a skill-building exercise as well as a mystery sampler, we really want to take our time with the cutting. A good block starts with fabric selection and then precise cutting. Taking your time and cutting each piece with care, plus double-checking the measurements twice before cutting, will ensure an accurate fit.

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All of my pieces cut out for Block No. 3 (Photo 1) and getting ready to start stitching (Photo 2).

Once all the pieces are cut out for the block, we need to assembly the B-D units surrounding the C center square. If you look at the block diagram these four units are the only ones that need to be pieced before the block can be assembled. The four A corner pieces and the lime piece in the center are just squares. This really is a great block to make. It has QSTs (quarter-square triangles), so there won't be the stretch problem on the long edges like you might get with HSTs (half-square triangles).

Select one each B QST and D QST to make 16 pairs as shown in Photo 2 above; then take the pairs to the sewing machine. Referring to Photos 3 and 4, with right sides together, sew paired B and D pieces together on one short edge to make each unit. I like to chain-stitch my units together -- that is, to sew them one after another without cutting the thread. Working this way saves time and thread. Make 16 B-D units. Press each of the units open with seam toward fuchsia dot and place as shown in Photo 4.

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Stitching the units together (Photo 3) and two B-D units pressed open and ready to sew together (Photo 4).

Place one B-D unit on top of the other with right sides together; nest your seams tightly and pin into place. Stitch the two together to make one star unit. Make eight star units. After you have all the star units stitched, press them open. Then use a ruler to remove the dog ears and make sure the unit measures 4 1/2 inches square.

Tip: If you have a hard time maintaining a quarter-inch seam allowance, try using a scant quarter-inch seam allowance when piecing any unit with multiple seams in it. You can always trim the assembled unit to size before you stitch the units and pieces together. Check the size of each unit before you assemble them into the block.

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Completing the pieced star units for the Ohio Star block (Photo 5), trimming off the dog ears and trimming to 4 1/2 inches square (Photo 6).

Lay out four each A squares and star units with one C square as shown in Photo 7 below, making sure that the orientation of the pieced units is the same as the block diagram. Once you are satisfied that the placement is correct, flip the units over and stitch each of the three rows together.

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All the units and squares arranged and ready to stitch into rows (Photo 7). A closeup of the stitched rows (Photo 8).

After you have the three rows stitched together and pressed, it's time to finish the block. The key to a good Ohio Star block is making sure not to lose the points. The points of each unit need to line up correctly to make the square-in-a-square center. A good way to ensure that you won't lose those points is by placing a straight pin through the tip of the point of each row where the points meet. Place the pin first through the top layer and then through the bottom layer at the intersection; push them together, making sure that the points are positioned correctly. Then use another pin to secure the two layers together. Do each intersection the same and then stitch the two rows together, making sure to stitch through the intersection point. Do each row the same and press the block open.

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Aligning the points of the rows to ensure a good fit (Photo 9) and the end result -- perfect points (Photo 10)!

There we have it -- one Ohio Star block! All I have to do now is make sure the block is square. It should measure 12 1/2 inches square. Make another block just like the first one if you haven't already.

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The finished Ohio Star block (Photo 11) for my mystery sampler.

OK, we have finished the third block in this mystery sampler. I hope you are enjoying this skill builder -- I know I am.

Please let me know how you feel about participating or if you have any suggestions for how to present the instructions. I'd love to hear from you at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com.

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