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Knit Yourself a Tree Topper (or a toy!)

Dec 11, 2009

Norah Gaughan, design director for Berroco Yarns, earned her degree from Brown in both biology and art, and is known in the knitwear industry for her incredible patterns inspired by nature and geometry. Norah has been working in the handknitting industry for more than twenty years and we’re thrilled to welcome her today as our guest blogger. Please give her a warm, Knitting Daily welcome!

The Dodecahedron, a.k.a The Star

What is this thing? Ok, I know, I'm a bit of a geek, but I had such a blast designing and knitting Celestine, my first stellated dodecahedron. As one five-sided cone was added to the next, my imagination ran wild. When you make one, I bet you'll see the possibilities for cartoon hair hats, egg cozies, and myriad things I haven't dare thought of.

In simple terms, my star is twelve elongated pentagons knit onto each other. To make a flat pentagon I decreased one stitch each end on each of the five triangular segments every second round. To make each pentagon into a cone I decreased every fifth round, creating a more mountainous silhouette. (If you are thinking of felting a Celestine, consider adding more plain rows between decrease rows, as most of the shrinkage will happen in height.)

Although you'll notice the instructions say to use four double pointed needles, three to hold stitches and one to knit with, I prefer using six: one for edge side and one to knit with.

When you are about half way through the last elongated pentagon, it’s time to stuff your star. Stuff the star almost full and add the last little bit of filler right before you close 'er up.

Ah, my little dodecahedron star is ready to take on the world! We used it as a tree topper  and I've seen other people use it as a toy for young children.

Download the free pattern on Knitting Daily here.

Since knitting the first star was so much fun, the design team at Berroco ended up making variations—one knit out of sock yarn and a second one that we crocheted.

I recently appeared as a guest on public television's Knitting Daily TV and in this video Interweave Knits editor Eunny Jang and I talk about my affection for geometric shapes, which leads into a demonstration of how to knit this star. You can watch the video now:

(If you experience any problems with this video, try this lower-resolution version.)

This design has certainly caught people’s imaginations—between Celestine, Celestine Sox, and  Celestine Crochet, over 500 (some wild and crazy) of these stellated dodecahedron projects can be found on Ravelry. Please don't be afraid of this project. Celestine may look complex, but it's really the same triangle worked over and over. As far as using the double pointed needles, if you can knit a sock, you can definitely conquer a star.

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syl1234 wrote
on Mar 20, 2010 6:07 PM

Please tell me where to get the pattern for the sweater to the left - modular knit in brown?  Beutiful sweater!

on Jan 21, 2010 2:30 PM

Thank you for this wonderful pattern.  I love it.  I like when math and knitting cross paths.  I was so fascinated when I saw this that I just couldn't rest until I tried it.  I have 3 done already with plans for more. I first used a 100 gram ball of a random striped sock yarn. I did the pattern as written and when I was done it looked like I had used just over half of the ball so I did one with 2 rows between decreases and had just a few yards left.  They are both beautiful.  Then I found that Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand has a line called Glamour that is perfect for the tree topper.  I used the white with a silver thread which is called diamond and it is the most beautiful of all because it sparkles so.  I also have Vanna's cream color with a gold thread in it called topaz that I am doing next.  I am addicted.  I wondered how you attach it to the tree just as a few others have mentioned.

on Dec 11, 2009 5:02 PM

I was fasinated with the Knitted Celestine star. You showed a crocheted version, it there a pattern for a crocheted celestine star.


DianneC@4 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 4:18 PM

Thank you Norah, for your thinking out of the box needlecraft designs.  This is easy to see you are a natural and what a joy, you make it look so easy. I do love your patterns and berocco yarns also. And a shout -out to Interweve GOOD JOB!

Hope wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 2:58 PM

This is the lovliest thing I've seen in a long time.  I plan on making this for so many people; thinking that yarn with metallic twisted in for a bit of shine would definately be splendid!

kathy b. wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 2:17 PM

Oh my, Norah, oh my, oh my, oh my!   This star is so beautiful already in white, but I am also thinking metallic yarn.    Would that work with this technique or too slippery?   Obviously it would be unfeltable, but if it does work, wont' it ever twinkle!   Anyway, it's on my list, thank you so much!  

on Dec 11, 2009 2:12 PM

After watching the video, I am amazed at this clever lady!  I love the sweater on the left in purple/blue.  Could someone please tell me how to get the pattern?


JenniferC@7 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 1:55 PM

I couldn't download the pattern - it looks like so much fun to make and my daughter's geometry teacher would LOVE this as a xmas gift.  Please help so I can get the pattern!


on Dec 11, 2009 1:42 PM

I just read everyone's comments. What whiners you are!  Someone gives you a FREE pattern and all you can do is complain that the same person made mistakes in their sweater pattern, it is too heavy for your tree, you want the crochet pattern.  Be grateful that this was free and you didn't have to pay for it or go travel to a store and buy it.  Celebrate the fact that someone spent their precious time writing out the pattern.  Get a life and a job!!

mfjbh wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 1:39 PM

This is for margiev2 and Elizabeth Hyman:

The pattern for the gorgeous red sweater can be found in the Berroco pattern booklet  "Norah Gaughan, Volume 3". It is called "Strawberry Hill" sweater and it was published in the Fall of 2008. Here is the link:

And you are quite welcome, yarnyoda! Glad I could be of help!


mjn@2 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 11:36 AM

How did you attach this to top of tree?

GlanaR wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 10:30 AM

Hello Nora

I'm a fan of your work, congratulations for this most wonderful that you created a big hug from here do Guaruja-SP-Brazil

cleobaby wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 10:22 AM

Do you have the pattern for the crocheted tipper?

Arby4 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 9:06 AM

Great pattern, looks fun and challenging.   Imagine it knit in fine wire and no stuffing!   The yarn version with stuffing would be too heavy for my tree, but would make a good toy.

on Dec 11, 2009 8:27 AM

Is the pattern available for the gorgeous red sweater shown on the video?

emmasmom60 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 8:09 AM

Totally fabulous!  I especially like the crochet version, although I am not a good crocheter...

yarnyoda wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:56 AM

Thanks for the crochet link Marcia!  I knew I had seen before, but couldn't place it.

BarbaraD@51 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:47 AM

Norah, I love your designs. I am presently working on the Devon sweater in your men's booklet. I feel that there are still mistakes though in the printing of the pattern beyond what the online errata says. Could you please check it and respond? I'm knitting it for my son for Christmas. Keep designing!!

mfjbh wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:42 AM

This is to Mimi@29

You can find the crochet version of the star at the Berroco site. Here is the link:

Hope it helps!


SandyZ wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:26 AM

I actually did the star with Magic Loop, you can see it on my Ravelry page ( It was a little tough knitting the last point, but so worth it. Mine is going to a baby somewhere, as I have several friends that are expecting in the new year.

margiev2 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:09 AM

Very clever - though I think my preference might be to Magic Loop, or use 2 circs. By the way, where has Norah published that wonderful red sweater?

Mimi@29 wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 7:08 AM

I downloaded the star pattern and I'm extremely sorry to see the crocheted version is not included.  I find crochet faster when "under the gun" and would really like the option.  This would make a wonderful toy for babies of friends and pets.

McKennaO wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 6:56 AM

Norah, you are brilliant and this is one of my favorite just-for-fun patterns. Felted and stuffed with catnip, it's always a winner with my feline gift recipients. Thank you:-)