If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ll have seen the cotton face cloths I’ve been making for my friend Anna’s business Salamanca Skincare Co. She commissioned two designs, one of which uses star stitch (to great effect if I do say so myself!).
Star stitch is a gorgeous stitch that looks great when used for a whole item like these cotton washcloths, or in small amounts to add a decorative element, like a single line (or three) of stars in a beanie or blanket.
I’ve put together this tutorial so you can learn how to do star stitch with step-by-step instructions. It might look like a looooong post with a lot of steps, but that’s just because I’ve tried to be thorough with helpful tips along the way.
I’m using US crochet terms. If you need to translate it into UK crochet term you can use my stitch dictionary here.
Sadly the gorgeous olive green colour of this Scheepjes Catona cotton in Willow doesn’t show its true shade or tone in photos very well but in real life it’s quite beautiful.
Basic elements of star stitch
Star stitch is made in two rows. The first row makes the bottom half of the stars and the second row completes them.
The first row mostly involves inserting your hook into different places and pulling up loops before closing them off together. Then the second row is easy, just half double crochets across (but worked into a specific location along the row).
Although working out (and remembering) where to insert the hook in the first row can seem a bit complicated at first, you’ll soon get the hang of it. I’ve found a helpful trick is to count the number of loops on my hook before pulling the yarn through them all, to make sure I have 6 loops. If I only have 5 loops it means I’ve missed a step.
To do star stitch you’ll need to understand (in US crochet terms):
- Chain 1 and Chain 2 (ch and ch2)
- Yarn over (yo)
- Pull up a loop
- Half double crochet (hdc)
- Front and back loops (FLO = front loop only, BLO = back loop only)
If you need a refresher on any of these, check out my basic guide to common crochet stitches and terminology (Stitch Dictionary) here.
Alright. Let’s get started!
Row 1: How to start crochet star stitch
Start by making a chain with an even number of stitches/chains. Make your chain slightly longer than you want the width of your finished piece to be.
For the washcloths I start with a foundation chain of 36, which makes them approx. 16cm wide before I add a border. A regular chain in any even number is fine, but I’d suggest starting with at least 10 stitches so you can practice making a number of stars in a row.
Step 1. Making the star points
To start the row, skip the first chain and insert your hook into the second chain from the hook. Yarn over and pull up a loop.
Then do the same for the next 4 chains, inserting your hook and pulling up a loop through each of them, one at a time.
Keep it nice and loose as it will be difficult to do the next part if your loops are too tight. You especially want the last loop pulled up to be loose as it will make a tricky step in creating the next star a lot easier if this loop isn’t too tight.
You should now have 6 loops on your hook (including the one you started with before pulling up 5). These loops become the points of your star.
Step 2. Securing the star points & the eye
Now yarn over, catching the yarn with your hook, and pull it through all 6 loops that are on your hook.
Chain 1 to secure it and create the ‘eye’ or centre of the star, which you’ll use to make the next star.
You’ve just made the bottom half of your first star!
This method to make the first star of each row is a bit different than making the stars along the rest of the row. Let’s now make the second star, which will be how the rest are created.
Step 3. Starting the next star
To start your next star, insert your hook into the eye (or centre) of the star you just made when you chained 1.
Step 4. The first tricky point
This next step is one of three tricky parts in doing star stitch, I find. This is where you want that last loop pulled up in your previous star to be nice and loose. If it’s too tight, it’s difficult to get your hook under both loops in this step.
Insert your hook under both front and back loops of the last star point (the last loop you pulled up in step 1).
(Excuse the unkempt thumbnail. I did a lot of gardening on the weekend and my hands are now paying for it!) Anyway…
Yarn over and pull up a loop. You should now have 3 loops on your hook.
Step 5. The second tricky point
The next place to insert your hook is a bit hard to explain. You want to put it through the base stitch – or chain rather in this first row – where the last loop/point of your previous star was made.
So at the bottom of the tricky loops you just worked into – find the chain they were worked into (the last of the “next 4 chains” in step 1). Insert your hook into that chain, yarn over and pull up a loop.
You should now have 4 loops on your hook.
Step 6. The last two points
You’ve got past the tricky points and the next bit is easy!
For the next 2 chains (stitches in later rows), simply insert your hook, yarn over and pull up a loop. You should now have 6 loops on your hook.
This is where I count the loops on my hook to make sure I’ve done all the steps needed to have the correct number of points in my star.
If you don’t have 6 loops on your hook now, retrace your steps and figure out which one you missed before continuing on, otherwise you’ll have an odd star in your pattern.
To fix, it’s probably quickest to just undo the last few steps and go back to the end of step 3 where you have your first loop of this star pulled through the eye, and start over from there.
Step 7. Securing the new star
Now we’re past the new steps and back to step 2 – yarn over and pull through all 6 loops on your hook.
You’ve now finished your second star (or the bottom of it at least) and created the eye, ready to start making the next star!
It may look like the second star is sitting awkwardly on top of the first one, but it will all even out when the row is finished and will look more like an actual star pattern when the next row completes them.
Step 8. Completing the first row
To keep going and create more stars along your row, keep repeating from step 3.
When you get to the end of the row, finish the row by making a half double crochet (hdc) in the same stitch/chain as the last loop of your last star.
Row 2: The second row of star stitch
Now we get to put the top on the stars and complete them. This is the easiest part of star stitch and you’ll find you get the hang of it very quickly and can breeze along this row in no time at all!
The second row is worked into the back (or ‘wrong’) side of the piece, working your way back along the row you just finished, using the same stitch over and over.
Step 9. Completing the stars
To start your second row, chain 2 and turn your piece so the ‘wrong’ side is facing you.
Now to complete each star that you’ve just created the bottom half of in the first row, simply half double crochet twice into the eye – or centre – of each star (ie. into the ch1 from step 2).
If it’s not easy to see where the eye is on the back, just turn your work over for a quick look at the front and place your finger as a guide showing where to insert your hook through the star’s centre hole from the ‘wrong’ or back side.
Step 10. Finishing the second row
After you’ve done the second hdc in your last star, finish the row by making a final hdc into the last loop of the last star.
We’re not quite finished yet though. This first line is a little unique. There are another couple of steps to learn…
Row 3: Starting a new row of star stitch
Now, I know I said star stitch is created in two rows, but you actually need to learn three rows – or how to begin the third row at least – because starting each new row of stars after the first one requires a different method than the very first one that began the whole piece. This is because you’re now working into completed rows rather than a beginning chain.
After you’ve completed the first two rows (or first line of stars) you’ll use this method for each new line of stars for the rest of the piece – ie. this is how to begin rows 3,5,7,9, and so on.
Step 11. Beginning Row 3
Chain 2, making sure the front of the piece is facing you.
Now comes the third tricky bit I mentioned earlier – and the last difficult part – the rest is easy after this.
Insert your hook under the back loop (BLO) of the 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop.
Then insert your hook under the front loop (FLO) of the same chain (2nd ch from hook), yarn over and pull up a loop.
I find this FLO business a bit fiddly and sometimes it’s a bit hard to see where the front loop is after I’ve pulled the first loop through the back loop, as it can get a bit twisted. You may find it easier to do the FLO first, then the BLO. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you end up with 3 loops on your hook by now.
That’s the tricky bit over. Phew!
Now in the first 3 hdc stitches, pull up a loop through each. (ie. insert hook into the first hdc, yarn over, and pull up a loop. Then repeat in the next 2 hdc stitches).
You should now have 6 loops on your hook.
The rest should now be familiar – we’re back to step 2 again: Yarn over and pull through all 6 loops on hook. Chain 1 to secure.
You now have the bottom half of your first star in row 3.
Completing row 3 of star stitch
Continue on, repeating steps 3-8 to keep making star bottoms along the remainder of the row.
To complete the stars, just repeat the instructions for Row 2 (steps 9 & 10).
And that’s it! You’ve learnt all the steps you need to know to make the beautiful star stitch.
Subsequent rows of crochet star stitch
Now that you know how to start star stitch and complete each row, you can continue on for as many rows or lines of stars as you like.
Just remember to follow the instructions for row 3 when you start each new line of star stitch. You only need to do row 1 for the very first row of the piece, then you just repeat rows 2 and 3 over and over, finishing with a row 2.
So the pattern is essentially: Row 1, Row 2, *(Row 3, Row 2), Repeat from * until your piece is a big as you want it.
Star stitch crochet video
If it helps to see some of this process in action, you might find this short video helpful. It shows me doing steps 3-8 above, which is the process of making the bottom half of a star stitch. It probably gives a better view of where to insert your hook for some of the trickier steps in creating the 6 loops which become the points of your star. You can watch the video on LittleButtonBlue Facebook and Instagram.
What will you make with star stitch?
So far I’ve only used star stitch to make these cotton facewashers but I’d love to have a go at adding it as a decorative element in a beanie, cardigan, or blanket (if I ever commit to a project that big!). Perhaps it will make an appearance in some doll dresses for some of my amigurumi in future.
What will you make using star stitch? Leave a comment and let me know!
I’d love to see your star stitch creations. You can share photos of your work that you’ve used this tutorial for, by tagging me on Facebook and Instagram using @littlebuttonblue.
Good luck with it and have fun! If you have any questions pop it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer for you. What other stitch instructions or tutorials would you like to see? Tell me in the comments below.