Monravian Star Ornament
Before Christmas, my friend Nancy found a free pattern online for an English Paper Pieced (EPP) Monravian Star by Jennifer Strauser. Click here for the 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.
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 Monravian 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:
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.
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.
Ann’s Monravian 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.
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.
I chose to make four groups of three baskets. Below, three groups are joined and waiting for the fourth.
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!