Moravian Star Ornament
2.23.2016

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Moravian Star
Before Christmas, my friend Nancy found a free pattern online for an English Paper Pieced (EPP) Moravian Star by Jennifer Strauser. Click here for a link to the free PDF of the pattern on the AQS QuiltViews page.

Although the last thing I needed was another project, I was intrigued!  I enjoy EPP and having a hand project to do. And, as you will see, this project lends itself to fussy cutting—another of my favorite techniques.

Supplies
1″ six-point diamond EPP paper pieces are needed. They are available through paperpieces.com. Order carefully – there are also 1″ eight-point diamonds which will not work for this project.  One small package of 75 is sufficient; 60 are needed.

1″ Six-Point Diamonds Available from paperpieces.com

Other supplies include:

  • Needle – I used one of my favorite Black Gold Appliqué/Sharps #9 and it lasted through the entire construction of the project.
  • Thimble – The Clover Open Sided Thimble worked well. Even if you don’t usually use a thimble, you will probably want some kind of finger protection for this project!
  • Fabric glue – Both the Prym Fabric Glue Stick (suggest order two) and the Fons & Porter Water Soluble Fabric Glue Stick (suggest order a refill) worked well; it takes a lot of glue so it is possible you may run out if you only have one glue stick.
  • Template plastic (optional) – I used a scrap of template plastic cut the size of the diamond to plan fussy cutting.
  • Scissors or rotary cutter/mat/small ruler – I used my shears for trimming the fabric around the diamonds and 4″ Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors for cutting threads.
  • Thread – Nancy and I used monofilament thread for the whole project because the stitches did not show but other thread can be used.

Nancy’s Moravian Star
I will start with Nancy’s version first because she followed the suggestion in the pattern of using one fabric—a stripe—for the whole project.  She loves a rainbow palette, so here is the fabric she chose:

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Since there were nine stripes and twelve “baskets” to make, she moved the diamond down a row each time she started a new section. The remaining three baskets were made to look different by switching the end she put in the center. Clever!

Five matching diamonds are joined from the back with small whip stitches secured well at the beginning and end of each 1″ and as needed. The monofilament makes it easy to sew multiple colors and hide stitches. We both agree the advantage was offset somewhat by the tendency of the monofilament to wrap around a neighboring point. Ongoing care was needed to watch for this because it wasn’t easy see and sometimes was not evident until later.

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Here are two views of her finished project. The baskets are joined from the top side or front of the seams at this stage of construction. You can see how well the monofilament makes the stitches almost invisible. She did a great job of fussy cutting and lining up all those lines! Now she has a colorful project to enjoy all year round.

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Ann’s Moravian Star
Not sure I would be able to finish it before Christmas and also wanting to enjoy it all year, I chose to make mine in our Kinderfolk collection by Jenni Calo. The red and white palette was reminiscent of candy canes, but didn’t scream Christmas. I had scraps, but a 10″ stack would work fine I think—depending how much you want to fussy cut.

I lightly glued the diamonds to the wrong side of the fabric and trimmed around leaving about a 1/4″ edge. For the red and white plaid below, I lined up the points with the design. For the other fabric, I carefully placed the diamonds so each would have a flower in the center. After the diamonds were cut out, the edges were glued to the back of the diamond, one side at a time. Unlike other EPP projects, the paper pieces were left in the project after the pieces were sewn together to provide stability.

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Here are some fussy cut examples:

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My 12 baskets were now complete! As the pattern suggested, I petted them, took pictures, and had everyone in the family—including our foreign exchange students—admire them.

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I chose to make four groups of three baskets. Below, three groups are joined and waiting for the fourth.

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Finished! Hooray! I found an ornament hook to hang it from for  display.

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Nancy and I agree on the following:

  • It was a fun project
  • Monofilament was worth the hassle because the stitches were almost invisible
  • It wasn’t hard – just time consuming
  • Figure it took about 12+ hours
  • We are unlikely to make another
  • We have a terrific, unusual, and finished project to enjoy!

A big thanks to Jennifer Strauser for this unique project and to my quilting buddy Nancy for doing it with me!

If you are new to EPP, check out Vicki Bellino English Paper Piecing (free downloadable tutorial) and English Paper Piecing Tutorial (free video). Enjoy!

 

 


21 comments

  1. Stephanie - February 23, 2016

    Wow that is just gorgeous! So many possible colors and combinations for this.

    Reply
    • Ann - February 23, 2016

      Thanks Stephanie! I really like the way coordinating fabrics can be chosen for fussy cutting or, as Nancy did, just use one fabric like a stripe. It would be a lovely Christmas ornament but I like enjoying it all year long as well.

      Reply
      • Stephanie - February 23, 2016

        I have a special penchant for red and white as well as blue and white. So lots of possibilities. My husband loves collecting eggs which we hang on the type of hanger you pictured. So I will enjoy expanding the options to hang some fabric stars! Cheers and have a wonderful day.

        Reply
  2. Jodi - February 23, 2016

    This is very cool! I have never seen anything like this before.

    Reply
    • Ann - February 23, 2016

      Thanks Jodi! Isn’t it unusual! I have seen light fixtures made of glass or tin with holes to let light through – but never in fabric. I have done EPP but never left the paper in. People are really drawn to it to comment and figure out how it is made.

      Reply
  3. EllenB - February 23, 2016

    These are fabulous and look fairly easy to make. Would be fun for different holidays or gifts. Thanks for sharing a neat project!

    Reply
    • Ann - February 23, 2016

      Thanks Ellen! They are fairly easy – just a bit time consuming. Leaving the paper in makes simplifies the process. I like the monofilament – despite it’s difficulties of wrapping around other points. I don’t think I would have been as pleased with the results when joining the baskets together from the front side if I had used regular thread or floss. It would work well for different occasions and as gifts. They are a conversation piece even among non-sewers.

      Reply
  4. Jodi - February 23, 2016

    I would like to try this project. It would make a unique Christmas gift.

    Reply
    • Ann - February 23, 2016

      Jodi – I hope you do make one! The tutorials in both blogs give you the information you need – you just have to decide on the fabric/s. Enjoy!

      Reply
  5. Lenny Mangld - February 23, 2016

    These small stars are great! In the 1990’s I made some, only larger. The diamonds were about 2 inches. The women who showed me how to construct it said it was an old time item called a “grasper”. We weighted the inside with small stones or plastic pellets and it became a door stop. Yes, it is a great conversation piece. She also had other 3-D shapes done this same way. Instead of paper as a pattern, we used tablet back or cereal box cardboard. I used matching color regular sewing thread and really the stitches do not show if you do not take a very big bite on the edge of the diamond. Also instead of using glue, use a iron on such as wonder under to hold the fabric to the paper or cardboard and the tip of your iron to roll the seam allowance over to the back side.

    Reply
    • Ann - February 23, 2016

      Thanks for the information Lenny! I have never heard of a grasper – I will have to look it up. I love to learn about the history of techniques and how they evolve over time. Sounds like you have been a “maker” for a long time – me too! Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Reply
  6. Linda Christianson - February 23, 2016

    Very nice one of a kind.

    Reply
    • Ann - February 24, 2016

      Thanks Linda! They are unusual and a real conversation starter….How did you do that? The internet is wonderful at times for inspiration and sharing ideas. Sounds like these have been made for a long time – with similar methods but different supplies.

      Reply
  7. Colleen MacKinnon - February 24, 2016

    Nicely done Linda! The ornament size is lovely. An old time craft that’s new again! Here’s a link to my woolie version on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZZvHVn8jiw

    Reply
    • Ann - February 24, 2016

      Thanks Colleen! I wish I knew more about it as a craft from the past. I do like the larger wool version as well. Thanks for sharing your blog and video tutorials.

      Reply
  8. Kathleen - February 26, 2016

    I have got to make this!! Thanks for showing this.

    Reply
  9. BettyBarthelmes - September 24, 2016

    thank you for sharing, the stars are just lovely . I want to make some .you made it easy for everyone giving the instructions,

    Reply
  10. Anita Camacho - November 15, 2016

    I made one for my mother back in the 1975She still has it.

    Reply
    • Ann - November 16, 2016

      I am sure she treasures it! Crafts, like fashions, do seem to come back around again.

      Reply
  11. Judith - September 27, 2017

    I have made three, and am now working on mini ones with 3/4″ sides. I’m beading the seams between each basket, and love them.

    Reply
  12. Mamypatch - November 28, 2017

    Merci, c’est trés joli.
    Bises et bonne fin d’année

    Reply

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