• Antique star stitch pattern in the form of a veil-like smoke ring in 2 sizes.
  • Continuous spiraling rounds.
  • 130–260 yds CYC #0 laceweight yarn and an oversized crochet hook (L/8mm–P/12mm).

More details below.


By 1891, star stitches were already popular for baby blankets, sacques, hats, and coats. In wool yarns and tight gauges, the dense starry “spokes” create a sweet padded fabric still loved today. A decade or two before they went in the thermal direction, star stitches were crocheted with lace weight wool yarns and big hooks in reversible rows to make veil-like “fascinators”…sort of like Starwirbel.

I’m delighted to share my discovery of a special type of 19th century star stitch in the form of this veil-like “smoke ring.” Unlike the usual star stitch projects, Starwirbel is stretchy and weightless, yet holds its shape. I’ve enhanced its starry texture with a spiraling construction, twinkly yarn, and a bit of invisible increasing.

Emphasizing the “eyes” of these orbiting stars adds to the special effects. I’ve smoothed the look of the “spokes” radiating from them to brighten the eyes even more. An emphasis on the eyes also makes crocheting this project fast and easy (the eyes show you where to crochet the next stitch).

It’s also quick to crochet because the loops are large, and crocheted in a continuous spiral. I could finish one in an evening.

It feels weightless and for good reason: I had yarn left over from a small 25 gram ball. This lace cowl weighs in at less than an ounce, requiring less than 136 yards (124 m). The lacy capelet used only about 200 yds (183 m).

Skill Level

Easy Intermediate. This is an easy star stitch variation I developed specially for this design. The challenge for some crocheters might be to make consistently loose stitches with a big crochet hook and superfine yarn.

The earliest instances of star stitches I’ve found (1881-1891) inspired me. I think of Starwirbel as an easier (and starrier) type of star to crochet for several reasons: they always face the front; the enlarged eyes are easy to see and crochet into; their side loops are not used; and there is no joining of rounds. (Wirbel is German for whirl, which is what it feels like to crochet these airy spiraling Stars.)

I discovered a surprising range of variations while preparing to teach a class on star stitches. My goal is to design with them in ways that take advantage of the unique charms of each Star type.

New in 2018: the pattern is updated with a stitch diagram and option to start project with a foundation star stitch.

I’ve kept pattern abbreviations to a minimum and include International English equivalents for American terms.

?After using this pattern, you will know (if you didn’t already):

  • How to crochet a star stitch pattern in a historic manner and understand its texture.
  • How to heighten the best qualities of this star stitch.
  • How to crochet star stitches in a spiral (no joining of rounds and no turning).
  • How to increase star stitches invisibly.
  • How to crochet a consistently loose stitch gauge with a superfine yarn.

Finished Dimensions

Cowl: Circumference of head opening: 21″ {53.34 cm}; widens at shoulder to  30″ {76.2 cm} and stretches to approx. 40″ {101.6 cm}. Length with folded collar: 15″ {38 cm}.

Capelet: Circumference of head opening: 28″ {71.12 cm}; widens at shoulder to 54″ {137.16 cm} and stretches to approx. 68″ {172.72 cm}. Length: 16″ {40.64 cm}.


  • Crochet Hook: Sizes US O/15 {11.5 mm or 12 mm} and US L/11 {8 mm} or sizes required for gauge. The smaller crochet hook is used for the edging only.
  • Stitch markers: A half-dozen or so (one for each invisible increase).
  • Yarn Used: Schulana Kid-Paillettes (42% kid mohair, 40% polyester, 18% silk; 136 yd/125 m per 0.875oz/25g): 1 (2) skein(s) of color #320 (dove gray with silver sequins).

To substitute a different yarn of the same thickness: Mohair-textured yarns come in a dizzying array of thicknesses that can look equivalent until they are crocheted! Choose a #0 Lace weight {UK & AUS 1 or 2 Ply} yarn. Note that this category of yarn encompasses a range of superfine yarns. Try one that lists a knitting needle range of 4 mm – 5.5 mm.

Additional information


Star Stitches, Crocheted in Rounds


Premium Item, PDF Download, Original or Rediscovered Stitch, Visual Aids


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