Friday, February 25, 2011

Woolie Star Tutorial - rhombic hexecontahedron

 This is my Woolie Star tutorial.
(Edit** I wrote this in February 2011 when I didn't have the best camera,
please accept my apologies for dark photos**)
I remember these folkie Victorian quilted star shapes from visits with my French Canadian grandmother when I was young,
they fascinated me. I was thrilled with this little vintage quilted one, pictured below.
My very good friend, Missy picked it up from a thrift shop and gave it to me, several years ago.
Ever since, I have been looking and surfing for a pattern. 
I almost took this little one apart, it was close! 
I could not find a pattern and fiddled with thoughts and ideas of how to make my woolie version.
 Wool Star Instructions
by Colleen MacKinnon - Penny Rugs and More

Use fusible tape and an iron to wrap and
 hold fabric to diamond cardboard shapes. 

This star will be approximately 9 inches tall.

Your star does not have to be made of wool.  
Any fabric scraps will do.

My large diamond measures 3.5 inches along each side and across the middle,
 making it approximately 6 inches long. 
My smaller diamond is 2.25 inches along the sides and across the middle, 
making it approximately a 4 inch diamond. 
(These are 60 degree diamonds) 

 Cut your fabric or wool (felted or not felted) scraps into diamond shapes.
Cut 60 pieces of fabric from the large 6" diamond.

You'll need quilt batting to place between your fabric and lightweight cardboard. 
Cut 60 pieces of cardboard from the smaller 4" diamond.
Cut 60 pieces of batting from the smaller 4" diamond.

I used cardboard you find on the back of pads of note paper.
Cereal boxes would do as well.
Trim pieces of  fusible webbing into narrow strips
 by cutting in half, lengthwise.
Edit...*** if you don't want to use fuseable webbing
you can make long stitches from side to side
as in English paper pieces with reference to quilt making
 and leave the stitches intact**)

Layer, fabric, quilt batting and cardboard. 
Iron all four sides and corners securely, with fusible webbing
You will need to complete 12 - 5 point stars,  60 diamond pieces in total.   

 Trim corners 
 With right sides together whip stitch two shapes along one side.
 Continue in this manner until you have five diamonds joined
 Pull together the first and the fifth diamonds and whip stitch to join.
 Continue until you have six stars (three illustrated below)
(Six stars will make up one half of your completed Star.)
 Begin to join your stars together, start with two, back sides together as below.
Use a blanket or a whip stitch on the outside.
 I used black #10 crochet cotton and my #20 chenille needle.
 As one star is joined, add another star.
So that as you stitch completely around just one star you have five stars attached to it.  
 Now join the sides of the "side" stars,
I used the edge of my ironing board to help support the pieces as I worked this stage.
 This is a bit awkward, but I know you can do it.

Here are six stars joined to make one half of the project.
Side view
Now repeat and make the other six stars for the second half. 
Remember, you are going to make 12 x 5 point stars.

Inverted view below of two halves of my completed star.
(6 stars for each half)

Turn one over the other, adjust until you have colours
and the shape aligned suitably. 

 Begin stitching the two pieces to each other,
working your way around the center.
Be cognizant of the points,
you want your stitches to work in any loose pieces of fabric.

 As my thread gets shorter and the star is almost closed,
 I work my short thread back and forth
 through the padding of one diamond
 instead of having a knot show on the outside. 

 Back and forth, several times, catching a bit of the batting.

   Pull snugly up on the thread as you cut it close to your fabric,
the thread will bounce inside and be hidden. 

  Start a new knotted thread
 pull your needle through a bit of fabric on the inside
 then up through your last stitch,
snugging the knot on the inside. 
 Continue stitching to the end.

  I'm really happy with the finished result! 
  A woolie star! 

Visit my Esty Shop for templates, chipboard, or kits for this project.
I add kits to my Etsy shop  from time to time.
Ask for custom colours if you'd like, I will accomodate.

January 2019 Edit*** I am learning more as I
hear from folks who write to me about this shape.
Mathematically this is a  rhombic hexecontahedron
I thought it was Moravian Star.
 Or is it a Giramundo Happiness Star? Or?
Where does it originate from?
I do like the reference to Happiness Star.

I do know it was an item that was made by quilters in the past,
there are lots of great photos on the web when you research this happy star now.
There was nothing to see or reference back in 2011.

Read this wonderful scientific recent research and the story of Spikey
(scroll way down for the bits about folk art)


  1. Thank you for such a great tutorial... these are beautiful!

  2. Thanks so much for the tutorial it is great!
    Years ago I bought one at a yard sale and have always wanted to know how to make one, I didn't know what they were called.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Ronnie in Washington

  3. Wowser!! Thanks for the tutorial, you are so generous. Having said that, this is way, way beyond my capabilities, and eyesight. I do love looking at your eyecandy though.

    I enjoyed your pictures on FB of your trip too!


  4. Oh my. I have never seen one very beautiful. All your work is so inspiring......I look forward to your posts.

    Happy sewing

  5. I have made 2 of these, they are neat. I hung one in my sewing room.

  6. I like the diamond shape of yours. I did one last year with a simple triangle shape. I love moravian stars!

  7. I made a Moravian Star from a tutorial by Jennifer Strauser on the Dizzy Quilter website:
    I wrote about it on the staff website for Connecting Threads yesterday:
    Jennifer had linked to your site so I thought I should send you a big THANKS as well.

    1. Hi Ann, Thanks so much for letting me know about your project. The little ornament size is so sweet! Happy Stitiching!

    2. After posting my tutorial back in 2011 I have since heard from folks around the world. I am now not sure the name of this star, I have heard it called an Happiness Star in Brazil for example on this blog Mathematically it is a rhombic hexecontahedra, read about Spikey here scroll waaaay down to find the folk art connection.

  8. Thank you so much! I always wondered how that was made!

  9. Hi Collen I loved the wooly star. Those stars are traditional here in Brazil, they have different names according to the region, but the most common is giramundo. You can see more in my blog

    1. Hi Paula, thank you so much for your link. When I first started researching these beautiful stars there was little I could find. The info you share on your blog is wonderful! Thank you so much for offering the regional names and styles that are know in Brazil,a place I would love to visit one day.