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?

Tips for Learning in an Online Knitting or Crochet Class

Knitting classes and crochet classes are almost the definition of “hands-on”. But now that we can’t be together physically, what’s it like to take a knitting or crochet class virtually?

Is it even possible to learn a new skill in these circumstances? The answer is an emphatic yes! Even in a distanced world, you can make the most of your next virtual knitting or crochet class.

This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but they won’t cost you anything extra.

You may already be familiar with video learning from YouTube or platforms like Creativebug and the (former) Bluprint/Craftsy. You may have found that those one-way classes are perfect for you, and that you don’t need live interaction with your instructor.

But if you want more, try out virtual classes with a live teacher. You’ll find more and more of these online as teachers pivot from teaching at large in-person events to virtual classrooms. Learn how with these best tips for learning in an online knitting or crochet class.

Tip #1 Use reliable internet that supports streaming

It’s no fun when your screen locks up or the little “buffering” wheel goes round and round. Make sure others in your household are not hogging shared bandwidth. Have them do something else while you are in class. 

Tip #1 reliable connection-ethernet

Can you go to a place that has a better connection? Most public libraries have public internet, and even if the library is not open, you may be able to connect from a parking lot or sitting area just outside the library.

Try to let the teacher know ahead of time if you know that your internet is unreliable and you might get kicked off at any moment. They might have to let you back into class at some point, and a heads-up on that is helpful. Find out if the class is being recorded and if it will be available afterward in case you can’t access it during class time.

You may want to leave your camera off as much as possible to help with streaming. Turn it back on when/if you need to show yourself or your work.

Tip #2 Use the largest screen available


If you have a choice of devices, you’ll want the one with the most screen real estate. 

Tip #2 - two large iMac monitors
Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexels

You’ll need to be able to see the instructor’s hands on close-up shots. You’ll want to be able to see their face, and maybe those of your fellow students. It’s also helpful to see chat comments and questions in a sidebar (on some platforms).

Don’t count on using your phone as your main screen. You won’t be able to see well enough, and some of the teaching platforms don’t have as many features available on the mobile versions.

Tip #3 Know how to use the hardware and software

Well before class starts, do a dry run with your equipment. 

Mpow headset

Download the app you’ll be using. If you already have the app, check for updates. Sometimes updates take a while, so allow time to install them.

Make sure your speaker or headphones/earbuds work with your device. Check that your microphone is working and you have allowed the app to access it. If you don’t know how to do these things, ask for help from a family member or friend. Or Google it.

Practice using the platform. Most of the platforms have a free version. Set up a time to meet with a friend so you can become familiar with the features and quirks of the program. 

At some point, you may need to show your work to your teacher. Especially if you are having trouble executing a technique, it will be important for the teacher to see your hands.

Think about how you can do this. Is there a way for you to set the camera above your hands, shooting down (at least temporarily)? Can you hold your hands up to the camera (which presents the reverse side of the work to the viewer)? Can you move the camera to your lap, so the teacher can see the work from your perspective?

Tip #4 Prepare your space

Sit in a comfortable seat, with the screen on a table or stand where you can see it easily. Remember that you’ll need your hands to crochet or knit! Keep your lap free for your work.

If it’s an interactive class, where the instructor and other students need to see you, try to set the camera angle so that it gets your full face. You don’t want them looking up your nostrils or just at your forehead!

Make sure you have adequate task lighting, with the light in front of you. Turn off lamps and close the blinds behind you to prevent harsh backlighting which throws your face into shadow.

LED ring light

Place any class supplies within reach, including notions like scissors and yarn needles. Keep some extra yarn handy, as well. You don’t want to have to step away to look for a missing notion, and you won’t have a fellow student next to you to let you borrow their scissors!

Think about the things you might want to have with you in a regular in-person class: water bottle, pencil, notebook. Have those things handy, as well.

Tip #5 Minimize distractions

Turn off the TV. Put your cell phone in another room, or turn off the ringer. Try to be in a room by yourself, or at least have the kids and pets in another room. Don’t be doing laundry or other tasks while in class.

mother with laptop and baby on her lap
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

You’ve probably paid for the class, so get your money’s worth by concentrating on the class just as you would if you were attending in person.

Tip #6 Wear pants

Disappointing advice, I know. You don’t have to wear hard pants, but do make sure you are dressed. You may be on video, and even if you think only your upper half will show it’s safer to have all your clothes on!

woman wearing jeans
Photo by Heitor Verdi from Pexels

Some people suggest that wearing “real” clothes will signal to your body that it’s time to work (or learn), so there’s that, too.

Tip #7 Stay muted

There are always unexpected background sounds in any meeting. Sirens, lawn mowers, barking dogs, shouting children, people talking in the next room, someone asking what’s for dinner. Multiply this by the number of students in the class, and it can get noisy fast! 

Muted micropohone icon

Unless you need to say something, turn your microphone to mute (there’s a setting on the platform you are using). Your teacher may mute you, as well. You can always unmute yourself when you have something to say.

Tip #8 The old rules still apply

What Old Rules? The ones you followed back in the days when you took live classes in person with teachers and other students right there in the room with you!

Make the most of your next knitting or crochet class

There are lots of things you can (still) do to make the most of your classes, whether they are online or in person. Things like check the prerequisites, do your homework, show up on time, and more. Read Twenty Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class.

Tip #9 Pretend you are somewhere else

Yes, I know you are at home in your comfy chair, with yarn in your hand. You have your favorite beverage nearby and you are ready to settle in to learn something new.

You didn’t have to get a baby sitter or a pet setter. You didn’t have to take a road trip or get on a plane. You didn’t have to get up early, deal with rush hour, find a place to park, locate a classroom in the bowels of a convention center. You didn’t have to pick a place to sit that was close enough to see the teacher but—God forbid!—not in the front row.

But the familiarity of home has a downside. Namely, you aren’t quite as excited to learn as you might be if you had gone to more trouble to get to class. After all, by now you may have attended a Zoom meeting or fifteen, and haven’t found them all that exciting.

Edie teaching at Stitches Event

Build up the excitement and enthusiasm you’d feel if you were traveling to a new venue. Pretend that’s what you are doing.

Pack a bag with all your class materials, throw in snacks and a water bottle, and put it by the door.

Now take a 15-minute walk in your neighborhood to clear your mind. You need the exercise before you sit before your screen for an hour or more. And if you were at a fiber event, it would probably take you a 15-minute walk to get to your classroom!

When you come back home, pick up your bag, go into the room you have decided to use as your “classroom”. Come a bit early and chat with your fellow students, do a little show-and-tell, and generally settle in before the teacher starts class.

Tip #10 Be patient

This whole experience of interactive learning online is new to most of us.

stacked stones-be patient in an online class

It’s new to your Instructors. Instructors are learning to use their classroom skills in a new environment. Lesson plans have had to change. We are learning the new technology along with our students while we navigate classroom management, invitations, privacy, screen sharing and other hosting duties at the same time.

It’s new to your fellow students. Along with you, they are learning the ins and outs of muting, camera set-ups, and all the distractions that come from life. All this, while trying to learn whatever it is that the teacher is trying to teach!

Be patient with your teacher, with your fellow students, and most of all with yourself as you adapt to this new way of learning. With practice, we’ll all become more comfortable with interactive online learning in our yarn world.

Next Steps

closeup of hands with crochet in progress from online class

As more in-person events go virtual, it’s a whole new world out there for teachers and students alike. Technology platforms and teaching/learning best practices are changing daily. I’ll try to update this post (and add new ones) as I myself practice and learn more about virtual learning.

The best way to see how live and interactive online knit and crochet classes work for you is to try it!

For more online learning opportunities, check out my Workshop Schedule.

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

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.

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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.

Baby Eyelet Cables Knitting Stitch Pattern

Baby Eyelet Cables is a knitting stitch pattern that’s fun to do and easy to memorize. It has a repeat of only four rows, and three of those are “knit the knits and purl the purls”. That means you only have to think on one row!

Despite its name, Baby Eyelet Cables are not true cables. You won’t need a cable needle because the stitches don’t really switch places.

It’s easily converted to knitting in the round, which makes it a versatile stitch pattern for many projects.

This post contains affiliate links, which won’t cost you anything extra but may provide a small income to me.

Chic Sheep yarn ball

The yarn I used for the sample is Red Heart Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. It’s a sqooshy medium weight yarn with excellent stitch definition. However, this stitch pattern looks great in any weight yarn; solid colors are best to show up the patterning.

Clover bamboo knitting needles are a good choice for beginning knitters. I’m using 5 mm (US Size 8) for this yarn.

Baby Eyelet Cables

Baby Eyelet Cables chart
Baby Eyelet Cables chart
Chart stitch key for Baby Eyelet Cables

Cast on a multiple of 6 + 3.

Set-Up Row (WS): K3, [p3, k3] across.

Row 1 (RS): *P3, slip 3 sts purlwise, pass 3rd st on right needle over 2nd and first sts on right needle, slip those 2 sts back to left needle, k1, yo, k1; rep from * to last 3 sts, p3.

Row 2: K3, [p3, k3] across.

Row 3: P3, [k3, p3] across.

Row 4: K3, [p3, k3] across.

Repeat Rows 1-4 for pattern.

Abbreviations
k:
knit
p:
purl
rep: repeat
RS:
right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS:
wrong side
yo: yarn over

For another fun rib-stitch pattern, see Mistake Stitch Rib. The Broken Rib Hat uses a rib-stitch pattern worked in the round. How many ways can you use Baby Eyelet Cables?

How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch

knitted garter stitch closeupThe first knitting stitch you learned was the “knit” stitch, and the first stitch pattern you learned was probably Garter Stitch. Measuring gauge in knitted garter stitch is pretty straightforward, but if you are unfamiliar with the concept of measuring gauge or counting stitches and rows, a few tips are in order.

To create garter stitch, you knit every row (or purl every row) when knitting back and forth. When you work in the round, of course, you have to knit one round, then purl one round to make the same stitch pattern.

Watch this video that covers the basics of measuring gauge in garter stitch.  In future posts, I’ll talk you through what to do when you run into problems like uneven stitches or varying stitch counts.

Do you have questions about measuring gauge in knitted garter stitch? Or questions about gauge in general? Let me know in the comments.