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.

What Does “Work Even” Mean?

What Does "Work Even" Mean?

Knitting and crochet patterns often say work even. What does “work even” mean? What about work even in pattern, or continue in pattern?

What Does "Work Even" Mean?

Learn what work even means and why it’s such a useful term to know.  

 

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This post contains affiliate links, which may pay me a small income if you buy something. They don’t cost you anything extra.

Work Even Defined

In a knitting or crochet pattern, work even simply means “keep doing whatever you’ve been doing without increasing or decreasing”.

If you’ve been increasing, for example on a top-down hat, stop increasing and continue working on a constant number of stitches.

In this example of a crocheted top-down hat, the first five rounds have been increase rounds, but in Round 6, you stop increasing and start “working even” on 40 half double crochet stitches.

Rnd 5: Ch 1, hdc in same st and in next 2 sts, 2 hdc in next st, [hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in next st] around, join with slip st to top of first hdc—40 hdc.
Rnd 6: Work even.

crocheted circle with increase rounds followed by a non-increase round

An alternative wording to this Round 6 might be:

Rnd 6: Ch 1, hdc in each hdc around, join with slip st to top of first hdc—40 hdc.

If you’ve been decreasing, stop decreasing and continue working on a constant number of stitches. Here’s a knitting example:

Rows 1, 3 and 5 (RS): K1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1—2 sts decreased.
Rows 2, 4 and 6: Purl.
Rows 7-10: Work even.

knitted swatch with a decrease section followed by a non-decreased section

An alternative wording here might be:

Rows 7 and 9: Knit.
Rows 8 and 10: Purl.

OR

Continue working in stockinette stitch without increasing.

Work in Pattern

Whether you’ve been increasing or decreasing, when you begin to work even, continue working in whatever pattern you were doing during the shaping.

    • If you were knitting stockinette stitch, continue knitting stockinette stitch.
    • If you were working double crochet, continue working double crochet.
    • If you were doing a fancy stitch pattern, continue doing that same stitch pattern, adjusting the edge stitches as necessary to maintain the pattern without interruption.

Sometimes patterns will say work even in pattern or continue in pattern. These mean the same thing. If the instructions don’t specify “in pattern”, but simply say “work even”, the “in pattern” is assumed.

Continue in (established) pattern is also used without meaning “work even”. In that case, it means that you should maintain the stitch pattern as established while the shaping takes place.

For example, after describing how to do a decrease, the instructions for the the Right Front armhole shaping on a crocheted sweater might say:

Continuing in pattern, decrease 1 st at armhole edge every row 2 (2, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, 4) times – 34 (35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 42, 44) sts remain.
Work even until Right Front measures 3½ (4, 4¼, 4¾, 5, 5½, 6, 6½)” [9 (10, 11, 12, 12.5, 14, 15, 16.5) cm] from bottom of armhole, ending with a WS row.

Right Front sweater schematic with straight and decrease sections

After defining the particular stitch pattern used in a sweater, instructions for a sleeve might say:

Cast on 35 (36, 37) sts. Work even in pattern for 2″ [5 cm], ending with a RS row.
Next row (Inc Rnd, RS): K1, m1, work in pattern to 3 sts, m1, k1—2 sts increased.
Continue in pattern for 15 (13, 11) rows.

Repeat these 16 (14, 12) rows 3 (4, 5) more times—43 (46, 49) sts.
Work even until sleeve measures 7.25 (7.75, 8.5)” [18.5 (19.6, 21.5) cm].
Bind off.

sleeve schematic with straight and increase sections

Combined With Shaping

While the examples above show work even used after a shaping section, it can also be used to indicate how often to work shaping.

A crochet pattern might say:

Next Row (Decrease Row:) Ch 1, sc in first st, sc2tog, sc in each st to last 2 sts, sc2tog, sc in last st, turn—2 sts decreased.
Work even 3 rows.
Repeat these 4 rows 5 times.

A knitting pattern might say:

Next Rnd (Increase Rnd:) K1, yo, knit to last st, yo, k1—2 sts increased..
Work even 3 rnds.
Repeat these 4 rnds 5 times.

Work Evenly

Sticklers for grammar (and I am one) might be tempted to write “work evenly”. After all, work is a verb, and evenly is the adverb that would  modify work. Resist that temptation!

Work even is the industry term, or term of art, that we use to mean “keep going without changing stitch count”, while work evenly would mean “keep your stitches the same size”.

Work evenly would always be assumed, don’t you think?

work even definition

Why Do Instructions Use It?

So why do instructions use the term work even, rather than spelling out row-by-row instructions?

The term is a kind of pattern shorthand, in the same way that there are shorthand terms in recipes. The examples above are simple ones, but there are times in more complex patterns where spelling out every row or round would be cumbersome.

If your recipe says “beat eggs”, you understand that means to lightly mix the eggs and eggs yolks together. Unless you are a brand-new cook, you wouldn’t expect the recipe to say “lightly mix eggs and egg yolks together”. If all recipes spelled out instructions that much they would be too long!

In the same way, it can be shorter for pattern designers to write work even than to spell out each row or round.

And now that you know what work even means, you’ll be able to tackle those pattern instructions with confidence!

Want to learn more about knitting and crochet terminology? Check out Knit: Basics & Beyond and Crochet: Basics & Beyond.

 

 

 

Simple Sheep Hat Knitting Pattern

Simple Sheep Hat Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckman
Simple Sheep Hat design by Edie Eckman

These little sheep are ready for anything as they stand at attention around the base of this beanie.

This post contains affiliate links.

The Inspiration

A while back on this blog, I raved about the Alterknit Stitch Dictionary. Recently I was in the middle of planning for a new class I’m teaching at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, and I was looking for a small project to work on while I think of new ideas for classes. I remembered these little sheep from the book, and knew they’d be perfect.

Alterknit Stitch Dictionary Andrea Rangal knitting
Alterknit Stitch Dictionary

About the Yarn

Fibra Natura Kingston Tweed is a lightweight wool blend with a bit of loft, like a traditional Shetland-style yarn. It’s 50% wool, 25% alpaca, 25% mixed fiber.

Kingston Tweed

Each 50 g ball of Kingston Tweed has 194 yards [177 m]. It took me about 150 yards of the main color and a total of about 35 yards of the contrasting color for one hat. I used some leftover colors from another project: less than one skein of #105 Ochre (MC) and #112 Basalt (CC).

Simple Sheep Hat closeup design by Edie Eckman

About the Construction

Knit the hat in the round from the bottom up. Use circulars and double-points, or the Magic Loop method, whichever you prefer.

It’s a great way to use up odd balls of leftover yarn and a fun and easy way to practice stranded knitting. There are only two colors on the stranded sections, and the patterns themselves are simple. The colorwork ends before the crown shaping begins.

Watch How to Work Stranded or Fair Isle Knitting for tips on holding one color in each hand for faster knitting.

About the Pattern

You’ll be using a chart for the colorwork. The interactive pdf includes links to tutorials for the Magic Loop and for stranded/Fair Isle knitting techniques. The pattern has been test knit and professionally tech edited.

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Please share images of your #SimpleSheepHat on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Let’s see those sheepies!

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?

Avoiding Bumps on the Cast-On Edge

cast on with purl bumpsWhen it comes to those ugly bumps at the cast-on edge, my skin crawls. Those bumps are a common knitting problem — dare I call them an “error”? However, it’s easy to avoid them once you understand that your cast-on has a right side and a wrong side.

The following explanations and video apply to right-handed knitters. Left-handed knitters, you may be casting on and knitting differently, but you should read and watch the video to understand the concept. Adapt it as necessary to fit your knitting technique.

Long-Tail Cast On

closeup of long tail cast on
Right side of long-tail cast on

When you cast on stitches using the long-tail method, the stitches are on the right needle at the completion of the cast on. You are looking at what is generally considered the “right side” of the cast on.

closeup of wrong side of long tail cast on
Wrong side of long-tail cast on

When you turn needle to put it in your left hand in preparation to work the first row, the purl side of the cast on is facing you. It’s usually considered the “wrong side” of the cast on.

If you knit that first row, you are knitting a wrong side row. This is perfectly fine if you are working garter stitch or reverse stockinette stitch, but stockinette stitch is “knit right side rows, purl wrong side rows”.

If you knit the first row after a long-tail cast-on, you’ll get a series of purl bumps on the right side (the knit side).

Instead of knitting the first row, simply purl the first row (a wrong side row), and continue with stockinette stitch.

Cable Cast On

close-up of cable cast on
Right side of cable cast on

When you cast on stitches with the cable cast on method, the stitches are on the left needle at the completion of the cast on. The right side of the cast on is facing you, and you don’t have to turn the needle around to start the first row. Therefore, knit the first row to avoid the bumps.

Knitted Cast On

Right side of knitted cast on
Right side of knitted cast on

The knitted cast on works the same way as the cable cast on. The cast on stitches are on the left needle, so just knit the first row and there won’t be any bumps.

The Solution

stockinette stitch with smooth cast onNo matter which cast on you use — and there are many more than these to choose from — pay attention to whether it has a smooth side and a bumpy side. In most cases, choose the smooth side as your right side and work the first row accordingly. You’ll avoid those bumps on your cast-on edge, and the State Fair knitter in you can be proud.

For more knitting tips, visit Knit: Basics & Beyond.