8 December 2017

English Paper Pieced Christmas Star

Every year I like if possible to make a new Christmas Decoration, last year I made my Tilda Pixies (you can read all about them HERE).  This years decoration, an English Paper Pieced Star...was inspired by one that I made about 20 years ago for a friend who was having a baby boy... it was obviously in a time when you didn't really photograph your sewing makes prior to gifting, so sadly I can not share it, but I remember that it was all baby blue fabrics and at the point of each star I glued in a glass headed pin.  I am assuming that the 'mum to be' did hang it well out of reach of said baby boy!!

I am reliably informed the following by Wikipedia......my Christmas Stars correct geometric name is a Rhombic Hexecontahedron, n geometry, a rhombic hexecontahedron is a stellation of the rhombic triacontahedron. It is nonconvex with 60 golden rhombic faces with icosahedral symmetry. It was discovered in 1940 by Helmut Unkelbach.

In plain English my star has twelve sides made using sixty 2" x 72 degree Diamonds.  I made the individual stars/sides exactly as I would any other English Paper Pieced star (see this A Little Happy Tutorial)....I glue basted and then hand sewed 5 diamonds together to form the 5 point star.  I use 50wt Aurifil Thread in a lovely silver grey #2600 with Clover Black Gold needles size 9.

Obviously time had dimmed the memory of how fiddly this was to make...not  fiddly enough that I won't say never again, but if I were, I would construct it slightly differently... here's what I would do next time.........

When joining the stars together, rather than adding continuously to the 'Mother Star'  I would make up three sections each one comprising of four stars /sides...like that pictured below.....
The reason for this being that I found that as I added further stars /sides the 'Mother Star' structure became increasingly wobbly and consequently more awkward to sew.....

Having thought about this only after I had slowly added eight sides to the 'Mother Star'.  I made the final section of four stars /sides separately and it was noticeably easier to then join these two larger sections together.

Obviously what I haven't mentioned yet but what you can see from the photo's is, that unlike normal English Paper Piecing, I did not remove the papers and the stars / sides were sewn together with Wrong Sides Facing.
I used bakers twine to hang my star...I simply folded aprox 1 metre of twine in half and tied a good size knot near the raw edges.  Then as I sewed my final seam, I slipped the knot inside a point of the star and then sewed up the gap tightly sandwiching the knot inside.

I am so pleased with it and it is amazing how it has gone from a flimsy structure to a very strong one, but obviously light enough to hang from the ceiling with just a drawing pin holding it up.

So in summary although at various points during the making and having said never again...... of course rather predictably, I'm now thinking how sweet a star would be, made with 1" 72 degree papers, but maybe that's an itch I'll have to scratch next year!!


If you feel inspired and would like to make one you will need:

(60) 2" 72 degree diamond papers available HERE (you'll need two packs)
(12) different fabrics, this would be a great scrap buster, alternatively you can find a fat eighth bundle of the 12 fabrics I used HERE
Bakers Twine to hang, I used THIS ONE
Thread to sew together, I used THIS ONE
My favourite needles are Clover Black Golds available HERE

I hope that you are finding a moment to enjoy some festive Happy Stitches!  See you next time!