Free Knitting Pattern: Star Coasters

star coasters on table

It’s a party any time you use these cute star-shaped coasters! Use them for Independence Day, birthday parties, or holiday decor. They are quick and easy gifts for everyone.

Looking for a beginner project that teaches new skills? Check out the video tutorials below. You’ll increase, decrease, use stitch markers, seam, and weave in ends, but you’ll never have to purl!

Star Coasters by Edie Eckman

The star is made by knitting five separate points first, increasing from the tip of each point toward the center. Then the points are joined and the center of the star is worked back and forth in rows, decreasing toward the center. When the decreases are complete, there is one short seam to sew.

The free knitting pattern is below. You can also purchase a printable ad-free pdf that includes links to the tutorials.

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About the Yarn

Symbol for 4 weight yarn

Each coaster takes just 25-30 yards [23-27 m] of medium-weight yarn. Mix and match colors to increase your stash-busting potential. Or use a bulky wool and large needles to create a pot holder or hot pad!

I used a variety of stash yarns for my samples. The red star pictured is knit from Red Heart Soft (100% acrylic) in color Really Red. I used US size 8 [5 mm] knitting needles.

image of Red Heart Soft yarn in color Really Red

Gauge is always important, but it’s not crucial in this project. As long as you are happy with the fabric you are knitting, a slight variation in size won’t matter.

Knitting Skills Used

This is a perfect project for beginners willing to take on new skills. If you know how to knit (you won’t have to purl), you’re ready for the next step.

The pattern uses the knit front and back increase (kfb), knit 2 together (k2tog) and slip, slip, knit (ssk) decreases. Once you have practiced those, you’ll have a chance to learn the slip2-knit-pass (s2kp) double decrease. You’ll also see how stitch markers are used to mark shaping.

There are video tutorials for the whole thing, so you have plenty of support!

And if you aren’t a beginner? This is a quick, easy and portable project.

Red knitted star coaster

Star Coasters Pattern

Finished Dimensions

Approximately 6″ [15 cm] tip-to-tip

Materials

Worsted Weight Yarn: approximately 30 yds [27 m] of any color desired C. Red sample used Red Heart Soft Yarn (100% acrylic, 5 oz [140 g], 256 yd [234 m]), 1 skein Really Red

US size 8 [5 mm] knitting needle or size to obtain correct gauge; you may choose to knit back and forth on a circular needle .

Stitch markers; tapestry needle

Gauge

20 sts and 18 rows = 4″ [10 cm] in Garter Stitch (knit every row)

Gauge is not crucial in this pattern. If your gauge is different the size of your coaster will also be different, and you may use a different amount of yarn.

Abbreviations

dec: decrease
inc: increase
k: knit
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together
kfb: knit into the front and back of the stitch
pm: place marker
rep: repeat
rnd(s): round(s)
RS: right side
s2kp (slip 2, knit, pass): slip next 2 stitches together knitwise, k1, pass 2 slipped sts over the knit st
ssk (slip, slip, knit): slip next 2 stitches one at a time knitwise, insert left needle into the fronts of these 2 stitches and knit them together through the back loops
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

Red, yellow and blue star coasters

Pattern Note

Leave at least a 4” [10 cm] yarn tail to allow enough length for weaving in ends.

Instructions

Star Point (Make 5)

Long tail cast on 3 sts.

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: [Kfb] 2 times, k1—5 sts.

Rows 3-5: Knit.

Row 6 (Inc Row): Kfb, knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1—2 sts increased.

Rows 7-9: Knit.

Rep last 4 rows 2 times—11 sts.

Cut yarn; leave sts on needle. On last point, do not cut yarn. You will have 55 sts on your needle. Make sure that each point is arranged with the ending yarn tail on the right edge, ready to work a RS row.

Star Center

Row 1 (Joining Row, RS): [K11, pm] 4 times, knit to end.

Rows 2-3 (Dec Row): [Ssk, knit to 2 sts before marker, k2tog] 4 times, ssk, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog—35 sts.

Row 4: Knit.

Rows 5 and 6: Rep Rows 3 and 4—25 sts.

Row 7: Rep Dec Row—15 sts.

Row 8: Knit, removing markers.

Row 9: [S2kp] across—5 sts.

Row 10: Knit.

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing. Thread yarn tail through remaining stitches and pull tight. With RS facing, sew open edges of star center together. Weave in ends.

Looking for more easy knitting patterns?

Easy Colorblock Knitted Washcloths (or Dishcloths)

Easy Knitting Colorblock Washcloths-6 designs shown

Whether you use them as dishcloths or as washcloths, knitted squares are a useful and popular project for knitters of all skill levels. Who doesn’t love a beautiful, soft hand-knit cloth to pamper their face, or a cute and sturdy cloth for that thankless chore that is kitchen cleanup?

This collection of six knitted washcloths (or dishcloths) helps you brush up on your knitting skills.  Links to video tutorials help you with unfamiliar techniques. 

Easy Knitting Colorblock Washcloths or Discloths-6 designs shown

With these patterns, knitting garter stitch was never so rewarding! Relax into the meditative rhythm of all-over knit stitches and enjoy the beauty of color. 

Beginning knitters will be comfortable knitting stripes, then progress to knitting on the bias. After that, step up to the joy that is a mitered square. Garter stitch intarsia techniques take you from beginning to intermediate skills in easy steps. There’s no purling needed!

This post contains affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra. Many thanks to Trailhead Yarns, who provided the yarn for this project. 

Easy Knitted Colorblock Washcloths by Edie Eckman- rolled up

The free pattern for the easiest cloth, Team Colors, is presented below. Buy a printable downloadable pdf of all six patterns, and knit your cares away.

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The Yarn

Use a cotton or cotton-blend fine- or light-weight yarn to make these soft and absorbent projects. The pattern calls for five colors, so this is a perfect time to try out a colorful pack of mini skeins!

Basket of 5 colors of yarn ready to knit

For the cloths pictured I used Trailhead Yarns Appalachian Trail Yarn Crew mini-skeins. Appalachian Trail is 65% cotton, 35% nylon. I used about 108 yds [99 m] each of five colors to complete all six washcloths. 

Other knitters who tested the pattern had good success with Cascade Ultra Pima Fine, Ultra Pima DK, or Premier Yarns Cotton Fair.


Finished Dimensions

The finished size will vary based on the yarn and needles you use, and your particular gauge. The washcloths shown measure about 6 3/4″ [17 cm] square. 

Size is not crucial in this project, but if you substitute yarns, choose a needle size that results in a fabric that is not too dense and not too loose.

Easy Colorblock Washcloths arranged in a basket

Materials

Fine-weight yarn: approximately 40 yds [36.5 m] each of two colors (Color A & Color B) for the Team Colors cloth below.

US size 2 [3 mm] knitting needles or size to obtain appropriate gauge

Gauge

30 sts and 22 rows = 4″ [10 cm] in garter stitch in fine-weight yarn

See note above about gauge.

Instructions

Team Colors

With Color A, long-tail cast on 50 stitches.

Rows 1-23: Knit. You have 12 garter stitch ridges. Cut A.

Rows 24-75: WIth Color B, knit. You have 26 garter stitch ridges in B, Cut B.

Rows 76-99: With Color A, knit. You have 12 garter stitch ridges in A. 

Bind off. Weave in ends. 

What’s Next?

Knit: Basics & Beyond offers links to help you improve your knitting skills.

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

My First Scarf
Easy Two-Toned Pillow
Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

How to Become a Crochet Designer

How to Become a Crochet Designer

You enjoy creating new designs instead of relying on other people’s patterns. Your friends want to make the items you’re designing. How do you become a crochet designer?

There’s a lot to learn, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Here are my ten best tips for becoming a crochet designer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tip #1 Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet a lot. Crochet many different types of things: hats, scarfs, afghans, pillows, amigurumi, shawls and sweaters. Crochet items where gauge matters so that you understand how important gauge is. Crochet sweaters for women, for men, and for children so that you understand ease and fit.

Pay attention to the techniques you use and try to understand the “why” behind what you are doing. You may learn that you don’t enjoy crocheting a specific type of project or with a certain type of yarn. Or you may find new favorites!

The more you crochet and the more varied your projects are, the faster you will learn the designer skills.


Tip #2 Learn from Others

Learn from Others

Study what other crochet designers have done, and see what techniques they use.

As you learn new techniques, make sure you’re learning from reputable sources. Blog posts and videos made years ago may have a lot of views. This makes them show up at the top of a list when you do a search. And they may be at the top of the list because they are useful and answer your questions.

Yet not every post or video you’ll see will be accurate. It may be that things have changed recently and new terminology has come into fashion. There may be more than one “right” way of doing something. The information given may not cover the whole story.

Take time to look at many sources for information. Learning from books, blogs, and videos will increase your knowledge. Books like Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney can speed you on your way.

Take classes to up your skill level. Many in-person classes are on hold right now, but they are an excellent way to build your skills. Bloggers and teachers who teach at national shows such as the CGOA’s Chain Link or Stitches events are a good place to start.

You can see all my available classes here.

And of course, there are thousands of YouTube videos to choose from. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of crochet instruction.


Tip #3 Swatch, swatch, swatch

Swatch, Swatch, Swatch

swatch of crocheted fabric

Swatching is the process of making a small sample of fabric using the yarn, hook, and stitch pattern(s) you’ll use in a project.

Most people think of swatching as a chore they have to do to match a pattern gauge. But swatching is much more than that! It’s a crucial tool for designers.

Swatching allows you to try out ideas before you commit to making an entire project. If you have a problem with the yarn or hook, or don’t like the stitch pattern, it’s better to find that out early on. Why wait until the middle of the project to find out you don’t like it?

Swatching allows you to get a feel for the fabric you are making. You can decide if that fabric behaves the way you want it to for your project. Play with combinations of hook, yarn and stitch pattern to get the exact fabric you want.

Crocheting is forgiving of experimentation, and that’s what swatching is all about. And yes, a good swatch also gives you important information about gauge.

Watch How to Measure Gauge in Single Crochet.


Tip #4 Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

While we are on the topic of experimenting, grab a stitch dictionary or three and try out different stitch patterns. Add stitch patterns to your design toolbox!

Try out a variety of patterns, hooks, yarns, and projects. This kind of play (it’s called swatching!) allows your creative juices to start flowing.

Here are some great places to start with stitch dictionaries:


Tip #5 Understand the Math

Understand the Math

Designing for crochet is all about math. You are going to be using arithmetic in all your crochet designs, whether you realize it or not.

Knowing how gauge factors into everything is a start, but there is a lot more to know. You will save huge amounts of time, and lots of trial and error, if you take the time to learn the math behind the crochet.

Understanding the math ensures that your projects will turn out to be the size and proportions you intend. Don’t be scared! We are talking 4th-grade level calculations, and calculators are allowed! Learn more in my Math for Crocheters class.


Tip #6 Prepare a Professional Pattern

Prepare a Professional Pattern

Have you ever felt discouraged trying to read a crochet pattern? An incomplete or poorly written pattern can make you throw your hook in the air with frustration!

Crocheters are more likely to trust you and want to make your patterns if they are easy to read and understand. Publishers and editors love designers who can compose well-written patterns.

Save yourself time and effort by coming up with a designing system. Develop your idea, make the project, and write the pattern in one integrated, seamless workflow.

Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop graphic

In my online course Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop, you’ll start to create this type of workflow. You’ll develop a style guide so your patterns are consistently formatted. You’ll learn to write clear instructions. Improve the overall quality of your patterns for a more professional presentation.



Tip #7 Use a Tech Editor

Use a Tech Editor

A technical editor, or tech editor, checks your pattern between when you design it and when you publish it. They ensure that all of your math checks out and that you haven’t left out crucial instructions. A tech editor is a crucial step in presenting accurate, well-written patterns.

For more about tech editors, read Working with a Technical Editor.

Want to hire me as your tech editor? I’d love to help you become a better crochet designer!


Tip #8: Style Your Photos

Style Your Photos

Easy Little Baskets photograph
Easy Little Baskets

Think about how you’ll be taking photos. Don’t just take a picture of your project on the kitchen table with mess in the background. Use natural light whenever possible, and the best camera you have available. (Maybe you need to borrow a family member’s phone!)

Putting other items in the picture with the project to style it makes the photo more interesting and memorable, and encourages people to click on your pattern.

For more on this topic, read Show and Tell: Photographing Handmade Textiles.



Tip #9 Publish Online

Publish Online

Anybody can be a published designer when you publish online!

Put patterns up on your blog or on pattern sites such as Ravelry, Etsy, or AllFreeCrochet.

Many crocheters expect patterns to come as downloadable and printable PDFs, not as pamphlets from their local stores. Make sure that those who find your patterns are able to find you and any other patterns you may have. Include your email address or website on each pattern.


Tip #10 Promote Your Patterns

Promote Your Patterns on Social Media

megaphone graphic

Let your friends and family know about your pattern, and encourage them to share it. Your cousin who doesn’t crochet may have a best friend who is looking for their next pattern.

Use those beautifully-styled photos you took! Broadcast your news on all the channels you can think of: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Consider making a promotional video for YouTube or other video platforms. Tell the world about your awesome design!

For more information on promoting your patterns, read my interview with Marie Segares, AKA Underground Crafter, and author of Design It, Promote It, Sell It.

More Resources

There’s so much to learn about becoming a crochet designer! Check out Knit & Crochet Design Resources for some helpful links.

Do you have questions about crochet design? Ask them in the comments below.

Crochet a Grass Mat

Crocheted Grass Circle with Loop Stitch or Fur Stitch

Tired of that messy plastic grass in your Spring decorations? Wish you had some eco-friendly faux grass that you can use season after season? Crochet your own!

This crocheted “grass” circle can be made any size, with any yarn you have on hand. Use it to line an Easter basket or as a Spring centerpiece with your favorite flowers!

The loop stitch technique is based on single crochet. Watch the video for a tutorial on How to Crochet Loop Stitch (also known as Fur Stitch). I’ll show you three different variations, so you can choose.

This post contains affiliate links.

About the Yarn

Use any yarn you choose, with a hook in an appropriate size for your yarn. The Grass Circle pictured used one ball of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice color 172 Kelly Green (100% acrylic, 3.5 oz [100 g], 170 yd [156 m]) .

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

About the Construction

The mat is worked in the round from the center out in continuous, un-joined rounds. Every other round is worked using the loop stitch single crochet technique.

Instructions for the Grass Circle are given below. A print-friendly, ad-free version includes instructions and charts.

Grass Circle Mat Pattern

Size & Finished Dimensions

Can be made to any size. The sample pictured measures 14″ [35.5 cm] diameter.

Materials

Worsted weight yarn (or any size yarn desired), approximately 170 yd [156 m] to make a 14″ diameter circle

Size I-9 [5.5 mm] crochet hook, or size needed to create a nice fabric for your yarn

Stitch marker

Gauge

Rnds 1-7= 4″ [ 10 cm]

Gauge is not crucial in this pattern.

Abbreviations & Special Stitches

ch: chain
Lsc (Loop single crochet): Hold working yarn so that it is coming from back to front over left index finger (right index finger for left-handed crocheters). Hold this finger approximately 1″ [2.5 cm] from the hook. Insert hook into next stitch, then move the hook clockwise (counterclockwise for left-handed crocheters) so that it comes over the front of the working yarn; yarn over with the strand of yarn that is coming from the back of the index finger; keeping index finger in place, pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook to complete a single crochet. Remove index finger from loop.
rep: repeat
rnd(s): round(s)
sc: single crochet
st(s): stitch(es)

Pattern Notes

Do not join at end of rounds.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Ch 1 (does not count as a st), 6 sc in ring—6 sts. Place marker in first st to indicate beginning of rnd and move marker up as you work each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 Lsc in first st, 2 Lsc in each st around—12 sts.

Rnd 3: Sc in first st, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] around—18 sts.

Rnd 4: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 2 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 2 sts] around—24 sts.

Rnd 5: Sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—30 sts.

Rnd 6: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 4 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 4 sts] around—36 sts.

Rnd 7: Sc in first st, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 5 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—42 sts

Rnd 8: 2 Lsc in first st, Lsc in next 6 sts, [2 Lsc in next st, Lsc in next 6 sts] around—48 sts.

Rnd 9: Sc in first st, sc in next 6 sts, 2 sc in next st, [sc in next 7 sts, 2 sc in next st] around—54 sts.

Continue in this manner to increase 6 stitches every round until piece is as large as desired, ending with an odd-numbered round. Weave in ends.

For more detailed instructions for Rounds 1-23, plus a stitch chart, buy the ad-free printable pattern.

What will you use your “grass” for? Share photos on my Instagram feed, using #edieeckman!

My First Scarf: A Story and Free Knitting Pattern

The beginning of the first scarf I knit

This is the story of my first knitting project. It’s a story that spans 50 years. It’s about yarn and memories and connections that come full circle. And it includes a free beginner pattern.
This striped garter-stitch scarf is a good beginner project for novices who have the patience to knit a whole scarf. Don’t want to knit so much? Make it a coaster or cowl instead.

This post contains affiliate links.

In the Beginning

When I was about six, one of my favorite books was A Gift from the Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. In the story, The Lonely Doll —whose name is Edith—knits a scarf for her dad, Mr. Bear.  She knits diligently at every possible opportunity and (spoiler alert) the scarf ends up too long. It’s worth reading the book for all the adorable details.

A Gift from the Lonely Doll cover image

Like my doll heroine, I wanted to knit a striped scarf for my father’s Christmas present. The scarf must be red and black, the team colors of his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs.

My First Knitting Project

My maternal grandmother lived with us and was happy to teach me to knit. We started with a skein of black Germantown worsted wool, some leftover bits of red Germantown, and a pair of straight needles. She showed me how to cast on—the German twisted cast on, no less!—and how to do the knit stitch.

I knit and knit. The stitch count changed from row to row, but that didn’t matter to me.

The subtle shaping was due to inadvertently added stitches. Surely a design element, right?

I knit and knit and knit. I learned to change colors, although not always on the correct side.

I clearly didn’t have an idea of “right side” and “wrong side”.

I knit and knit and knit. The scarf grew slowly. Yarnover holes and incomplete stitches magically disappeared overnight. It’s the only time in my life that the Knitting Fairy has corrected my knitting.

 I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. Now it was starting to look like a scarf. I tried it on frequently to see if it was long enough.

Is it long enough yet?

I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit . Nana kept urging me to knit a few more rows, but I was on deadline and anxious to finish on time. (Sound familiar?)

Just in time for Christmas, the scarf was long enough. Because the edges were so wobbly, Nana single crocheted around the whole thing to tidy it up. We wrapped it up in anticipation of the big reveal the next day.

On Christmas morning, Daddy opened the package. He made all the appropriate noises about how beautiful the scarf was, and how hard I must have worked to make such a special gift. Apparently it was the best gift ever!

I never saw him wear it, and I eventually forgot about it.

About 25 Years Later

Visiting my parents’ house, I caught a glance of red and black rolled up in the back of a drawer. It was my first scarf! Daddy had saved it all those years!

But that photo doesn’t really do it justice. Let me help you understand the scale of this scarf.

It is 4″ wide x 22.5″ long. Despite all my efforts, and even trying it on my skinny six-year-old neck, it was way too small to be worn by an adult male! Furthermore, we lived in Georgia where scarves aren’t even needed. The scarf came home with me, to remind me how much my technique had improved.

About 25 Years Later

As I wandered the aisles of a trade show, my eye caught a familiar sight: Germantown yarn from Kelbourne Woolens.  I’m pretty sure I squeed out loud. I may have jumped up and down a little bit.

Germantown Yarn colorful skeins

About Germantown Yarn

For that first scarf, and for many projects after that, Brunswick Germantown Worsted was my go-to yarn. 

Knitters who have been around for a long while will remember this ubiquitous yarn. There weren’t nearly as many yarns available as there are now, but Germantown was a classic worsted weight standby that came in many colors.

Germantown Yarn in black and red

Read Germantown: Redesigning a History for the story of how Kelbourne Woolens revived the brand, then read A Brief History of Germantown Yarns for a fascinating look at this American yarn. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you do that.

When Kelbourne Woolens owner Courtney Kelly heard the story of my first scarf and what Germantown meant to me, she immediately suggested that I make another scarf, and provided the yarn for me to knit it.

My First Scarf Knitting Pattern

So here, fifty years after the original scarf, is the pattern for My First Scarf. This version is meant to be easy enough for new knitters to knit, and long enough and warm enough to actually be worn by an adult.  

Presented in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. Note that black is not the best choice for beginners; feel free to use different, lighter colors for easier visibility.

My First Scarf

The free pattern is below; you also can purchase a printer-friendly pdf.

Buy the Printed Pattern Button

Want to knit it in Germantown yarn? You’ll get 10% off the price if you use code EDIEECKMAN at checkout here.

Materials

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

Kelbourne Woolens Germantown (100% North American wool, 220 yds/201 m, 100 g), 1 skein each #005 Black (A) and #625 Scarlet (B), or colors of your choice.

US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge

Stitch marker or safety pin

Finished Dimensions

3.75″ (9.5 cm) wide x 61″ (155 cm) long

Gauge

20 sts and 39 rows = 4” (10 cm) in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this pattern, but for best results match the gauge of the pattern. Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch.

Pattern Note

Leave a 4-5″ [10-13 cm] tail of yarn each time you change yarns so that you’ll have enough yarn to securely weave in the tails. Each time you change yarn colors, the yarn tails should be on the rightmost edge of the scarf.

Instructions

With A, long tail cast on 19 sts.

Row 1 (Wrong Side): Knit.

Turn the work and place a marker on the right side to help you keep track of the right and wrong sides.

Rows 2-15: Knit.

At this point you have a total of 8 garter ridges and you have ended by knitting a wrong side row.

Cut A.

Rows 16-27: With B, knit. End by knitting a wrong side row. You have 6 garter ridges of B.

Continue working alternate stripes of 8 garter ridges (16 rows) in A and 6 garter ridges (12 rows) in B, until you have 20 stripes in color B. End by knitting a wrong side row.

Last stripe: With A, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). End by knitting a wrong side row. Bind off on a right side row.

Weave in all ends. Block.

Crochet Pattern Round-Up: Unusual Techniques

Break out of your crochet rut and try a new technique! Skip the rows of double crochet and rounds of granny squares.

Find a technique that’s new to you with this collection of crochet projects that use unusual techniques.