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Pattern for Starfish Coasters

April 19, 2012

No matter how hard I try, when I’m at the beach I can’t stop myself from picking up some stone or shell with an unusual shape or a magical color pattern. And, of course, once the first one is in my pocket, there’s no stopping myself. Last fall, I became intrigued with some very flat stones I found on Nauset Beach on Cape Cod. They had a nice weight, with consistent thickness, and were perfect, I thought, for coasters, especially if I gave them a little fiber “coat” to absorb moisture. I included a photo of some of them in my blog, and because a reader requested a pattern, I’m happy to share it here.

Because these are found objects, you’ll have to adapt the pattern somewhat to fit the shape of the stones you find. I discovered that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to ensure a flat surface, both top and bottom, steady enough to ensure that a hot cup of tea or a tall, cool glass of wine wouldn’t tip over. Even if the stone itself is flat, the way you connect the starfish’s “arms” on the bottom of the stone also has implications for how steady the piece is. On the other hand, the stones would be just as useful as paperweights, and then no worry about wobbling.

My stones are about 3 or 4 inches in diameter — all irregular shapes — and about ⅜ inch thick. I used 5/2 pearl cotton and a size E/4 (3.50 mm) crochet hook. The star-shaped pattern is adapted from Edie Eckman’s Motif #144 in Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. I crochet the “starfish” first, then add chain-stitched arm extensions to each point. When the crocheting is done, I lay the piece over the stone, and gather the extensions together to join them underneath, with their arms securely wrapped around the stone. The different shapes of the stones change the way the arms organically arrange themselves, just like those of a real starfish clinging to a rock.

Crocheting the Star

Begin with a sliding loop.

Rnd 1 Ch 1, 10 sc in ring, join with slip st to first sc. (10 sc)

Rnd 2 Ch 1, 2 sc in same stitch, 2 sc in each sc around, join with slip st to first sc.

Rnd 3 * Ch 8, sc in third chain from hook, hdc in next ch, dc in next 2 ch, tr in next ch, skp 3 sc, slip st to next sc; repeat from * four more times, ending last repeat slip st to base of first chain. (5 points made) Fasten off.

Arm Extensions         

Note: You may need to crochet longer or shorter chain extensions, depending on the diameter of your stone. I like the tips of the star to disappear over the side of the stone, so that the chains that secure the starfish to the stone are hidden on the underside.

Chain 12, * slip st into tip of one starfish arm, chain 24; repeat from * three more times, slip stitching in the tip of each starfish arm in order; chain 12, end with slip st into first stitch of beginning chain. Cut the thread, leaving a tail about 10 inches long. Thread the tail in an embroidery needle.

Lay the starfish over the stone and draw the chains to the underside. Use the tail to sew through each chain at its halfway point (marked X in the illustration, below right), drawing the chain extensions together and securing the starfish around the stone.

Extensions complete, ready to be fitted to stone

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