Keeping with the squiggly theme…

Remember bookworms? They hold the key to our next essential sea-creature shape: the long spiral. A perfect example of these curly shapes are the tentacles of beautiful brittle stars.

My brittle star pattern uses shortrows and the “bookworm technique” — a cast-on, followed by a row of decreases, followed by a bind-off — to create a more-or-less disc shaped creature with a fringe of curly arms. As far as I can tell, brittle stars can feature any number of tentacles . I stopped at 10. [Edit–Cathy, The Loop’s resident biologist–tells me that brittle stars have radially symmetrical, 5-sectioned bodies. Their arms grow out of each section, so they always have a multiple of 5. (Unless someone nibbled one of them off and the appendage hasn’t regenerated yet).

knitted brittle star

Here is the “official” pattern for the star pictured above, but the techniques can be adapted to craft all sorts of wiggly things.

Brittle Star Pattern (Edit: see a more accurate pattern here)

  • a small amount (about 25g) DK to worsted-weight yarn
  • 3mm knitting needles
  • Blunt yarn needle for sewing up


Cast on 6 stitches.

Row 1: knit 6, cast on 34 stitches using the backwards loop (aka “simple”) cast-on.

Row 2: knit 36, turn work (4 stitches will remain on left needle), knit 2, then ktog 17 times to end of row (tip of tentacle)

Row 3: cast off 16 stitches, knit to end of row (6 stitches remaining)

Repeat rows 1 through 3 until your brittle star has as many tentacles as you think it should have. I stopped at 10. Bind off the six remaining stitches.


Seam bind-off edge to cast-on. Run the yarn tail through the garter stitch bumps around the edge of the centre hole and draw closed. Weave in ends.