Crafting, How To

Knit Your Comics: A Star Spangled Doily

Welcome to the second Knit Your Comics! Look, we have a banner! Isn’t it awesome?

Last month’s Nimona-inspired hoof-knit scarf was so much fun that I think I have extraordinarily high expectations for this month.

First, before I get to this month’s projects, a quick announcement.

As this column evolves, I plan to share what are my guiding principles. So far, I have three.

  1. The project should be a pattern or project not available elsewhere.
  2. The project should include all the instructions for making said project, even if some of those instructions/patterns are hosted offsite.
  3. The project has to be able to be made within a month, from purchasing yarn to blocking. I will, naturally, be adding more as they occur to me, but for now, this is the standard operating procedure.

This month’s projects—yes projects, plural—were inspired by my amazing editor Ginnis, with whom I was brainstorming project ideas. She suggested, casually, that I knit Captain America’s shield, and my gut reaction was no way—I’m a knitter, not a crocheter, and those kind of circular projects are usually the realm of crochet, but then I thought—maybe.

I had no idea if this project was going to work when I set out to try it, but I feel like the knitting gods were smiling down on me because everything worked out exactly as I needed them to, from yarn choice to finished product.

And now … for your consideration and amusement: the Star Spangled Doily and the Winter Doily. (Because you can’t really have Steve without Bucky, now can you?)

 

Part 1: Yarn Selection + Other Supplies

For this project, I went with a sockweight yarn that I already had in my stash, although I did go out and purchase the same brand in navy blue and grey to complete this project. The fact that this yarn was available in the colors I needed was a strong selling point for me.

Captain America colors--red, white, and navy blue.

Captain America colors–red, white, and navy blue.

kyc yarn2

Winter Soldier colors–red, grey/silver, and black.

The yarn is a Michaels brand yarn called Loops & Threads, and this is the Woolike, which is a superfine yarn, although closer to sockweight than laceweight. It’s 85% acrylic and 15% nylon, which makes it 100% washable, a requirement for doilies, I should think, especially if they’re not going to be framed, but instead out and actually being used.

[Sidenote: There was a discussion by the WWAC staff about whether doilies served a purpose other than being decorative. Apparently people put them underneath plants or use them as coasters?]

I also like this yarn because it’s inexpensive, but soft and pleasant to knit with. A 100g skein (which is roughly 678 yards) at my local Michaels is $2.99 plus tax.

The suggested needle size for this yarn is 2.75 mm (US 2), which is what I used. In addition to the six double pointed needles (although you can get away with five + a stitch holder, I found it easier with six), a 16” circular, and a larger 24” circular (although I got away with a 30” for the last red ring, it would’ve been easier with a 24”). You could also get away with doing the first red ring with longer double pointed needles. You will also, depending on which method of cast on you use, need a small crochet hook to create your magic loop cast on circle.

You will also need a yarn or tapestry needle for weaving in ends from the color switches, although I personally don’t “weave” so much as “knot tightly, add Fray Check so the knot won’t unravel, and cut short with scissors.” For a project like this that is decorative and won’t be getting a lot of wear and abuse, you can use whatever method appeals to you.

Part 2: Constructing the Star

Full confession: I’ve never made a doily before. I never even knew I wanted to make a doily, so I spent a lot of time on Ravelry looking at patterns and doily construction websites before settling on purchasing this pattern for $1.25 and adapting it for my purposes. There are a lot of stars and six-pointed stars out there, but I picked this one in particular because of the way the snowflake has the same diamond-shape for each arm of the star that you can see on Cap’s shield in the movie versions.

See the diamonds?

See the diamonds?

To adapt this 6-pointed star into a 5-pointed star was actually pretty easy. I simply cast on 10 stitches using the crochet magic circle/adjustable loop method instead of 12 and kept track of where each arm of the star was until you get to the part where you knit back and forth. Also, casting on 10 stitches instead of starting from 5 means that I skip one of the increase rows of the pattern, since I’ve already increased.

One more note about the pattern: The pattern is not clear that you are knitting back and forth for one arm of the star at a time, even though two of your three needles will be holding two arms for the first 13 rows.

Once you’ve finished your 5-pointed star, you have your center star in white for Cap’s shield or in red for the Winter Soldier.

Pinned red star of the Winter Soldier.

Pinned red star of the Winter Soldier.

Part 3: Filling in the Gaps

This part was sheer guessing and experimentation, but it worked, and I am thrilled that it worked exactly as I needed it to.

To fill in the gaps, you’re going to pick up two stitches at the base between the arms of the star and use the basic lace stitch (YO, K2TOG, repeat) to fill in as you go up the sides, picking up stitches on either side of the star as you go. In practice, your rows will look like this:

  • Row 1: Knit across (2 stitches)
  • Row 2: Pick up two stitches, purl across (4 stitches)
  • Row 3: Pick up two stitches, K1, YO, K2TOG twice, K1. (6 stitches)
  • Row 4: Pick up two stitches, purl across (8 stitches)
  • Row 5: Pick up two stitches, K1, YO, K2TOG to last stitch, K1. (10 stitches)
  • Etc.

Continue until all stitches on the sides have been picked up, cast off final row knitwise (24 stitches).

Congratulations! You have now made the center of Cap’s shield, or the center of the Winter Soldier’s arm, depending on which colored yarn you’ve used.

Cap's Center

Cap’s Center

Center for The Winter Soldier.

Center for The Winter Soldier.

Now, onto the rings.

Part 4: The Rings

The rings are, in my opinion, actually the trickiest part and the part where this pattern gives you the most freedom depending on what kind of look you want. I liked the way my doily looked when I picked up just one loop from the outer cast off row, because it created a hard “line” clearly demarcating each ring, but other people might prefer a different look. Experiment! Decide what you like!

You can also vary your choice of stitch depending on what aesthetic you want. I wanted a geometric stitch that echoed the interior construction, so I went went with the Arrowhead Lace stitch for Cap’s shield. For The Winter Soldier, I wanted a kind of “twist” on the Arrowhead lace, and modified Zigzag Lace Trellis stitch to appear as if it was the Arrowhead lace turned on its side.

With both patterns, you will pick up 120 stitches for the first ring. You can, as I list below, pick up 125 stitches with the intention of doing a decrease at the tip of each star, just for added tightness to the design, but that’s optional.

The Star Spangled Doily

First Red Ring:

  • with 16” circular, pick up 125 stitches from cast off edge (25 per wedge)
  • Round 1 : Knit 24 stitches, Knit 2 tog, Repeat all the way around.
  • Round 2: Knit around.

Total stitches after: 120. (24 per section)

Complete the Arrowhead Lace stitch for 12 rows (3 pattern repeats), ending on a knit row. Cast off.

One ring down, two to go!

One ring down, two to go!

White Ring:

  • with 16”/24” circular pick up 120 stitches from cast off edge
  • Round 1: K2, YO. 180 stitches total.
  • Round 2: Knit around.

Work Arrowhead Lace for 12 rows (3 pattern repeats), ending on a knit row. Cast off.

Two down, one more left.

Two down, one more left.

Second Red Ring:

  • with 24”/30” circular, pick up 180 stitches.
  • Round 1: K2, YO. 270 stitches total.
  • Round 2: Knit around.

Work in Arrowhead Lace for 12 rows (3 pattern repeats), ending on a knit row. Cast off.

Finished, but pre-blocking!

Finished, but pre-blocking!

The Winter Doily

Ring One:

  • with 16” circular, pick up 125 stitches from cast off edge (25 per wedge)
  • Round 1 : Knit 24 stitches, Knit 2 tog, Repeat all the way around.

Total stitches after: 120. (24 per section).

Begin Modified Zigzag Lace Trellis Stitch for 15 rows:

  • Row 1:  Knit around.
  • Row 2: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 3: Knit around.
  • Row 4: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 5: Knit around.
  • Row 6: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 7: Knit around.
  • Row 8: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 9: Knit around.
  • Row 10: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 11: Knit around.
  • Row 12: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 13: Knit around.
  • Row 14: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 15: Knit around.

Cast off.

One ring done!

One ring done!

Ring Two:

  • with 16” or 24” circular, pick up 120 stitches from cast off edge
  • Round 1 : K2, YO. Repeat all the way around. Total stitches after: 180.

Begin Reverse Modified Zigzag Lace Trellis Stitch for 15 rows:

  • Row 1:  Knit around.
  • Row 2: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 3: Knit around.
  • Row 4: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 5: Knit around.
  • Row 6: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 7: Knit around.
  • Row 8: SSK, YO. Repeat around, ending with a YO.
  • Row 9: Knit around.
  • Row 10: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 11: Knit around.
  • Row 12: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 13: Knit around.
  • Row 14: YO, K2TOG. Repeat around, ending with a K2TOG.
  • Row 15: Knit around.

Cast off.

Second Ring!

Second Ring!

Now, you can do a third ring if you wanted, but I chose to stop there with two.

Part 5: Blocking/Finishing

Depending on how loosely or tightly you knit, your blocking procedure may need to be adapted. If you never blocked before, don’t worry—it’s pretty easy, especially when your project uses yarn that can be machine washed and tumble dried. I, for lack of time, opted to simply pin to the foam core tabletop I use for my work table and spray with water. Drying time will vary based on climate, but I’m in the California desert in July, so mine was dry in a couple hours.

Pinned and wet for blocking.

Pinned and wet for blocking.

Part 6: Final Notes

So, that’s it. That’s the pattern. If you have any questions or need clarification, please don’t hesitate to comment below or track me down on twitter. The pattern will also be going up on Ravelry shortly (my first! I’m so nervous), so please feel free to find me on there as well.

Happy Knitting!

My dog Ollie is unimpressed by the doily.

My dog Ollie is unimpressed by the doily.

  1. Al

    July 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH

    1. Kate Tanski

      July 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      I AM SO GLAD! 🙂

  2. jj

    September 14, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Love the banner! I do so miss the http://worstedforwear.com comic

    1. Kate Tanski

      September 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you! I was sad to realize that I’d missed it when it was still being posted, and reached out to them when I found the artwork, but never heard back, sadly. So great!

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