Because I was between projects and waiting for yarn, I decided to work on a vintage pattern that used a stitch I wasn't used to making so that I'd get some more experience with it. That brought me to the Hot Spots Plate Mats pattern which uses the beautiful star stitch.
The first thing I'll mention is that because this is a vintage pattern, the instructions are rather...minimal. After the third row, it just directs you to repeat the rounds, increasing as necessary to keep the work flat. Not having worked much with rounds, I ended up doing a lot of frogging trying to figure out when I needed to increase, when I didn't. Eventually I got into a groove and started increasing for several rows with the same pattern, like three star stitches as one would work normally work a star stitch, then creating a star stitch increase by drawing up your last loop through the fastening ch of the next star st. After several rows, you will notice that the piece isn't working flat again, so you'll need to modify the pattern you'd been using such as make four star stitches, then create a star stitch increase. Continue to do that until your hot plate mat is the size you desire.
To make the hot plate mat, I just pulled out some yarn I had on hand (which wasn't rug yarn as the pattern suggests). I had some pretty variegated Red Heart Super Saver worsted, and I love the way the star st looks using variegated yarn, so that's what I ended up using. For practicality, I would probably go with a heavier yarn if I was going to make more of these because this mat came out rather thin using the worsted, but it's still functional.
I finished off the pattern with a border of sc around. As per usual, I didn't use a stitch marker and had some difficulty figuring out where to end, but I ended up folding the mat in half and giving it my best guess.
All in all, my goal was achieved - practice using the star st which is really a beautiful looking stitch on a finished item. Now that I've practiced and gotten somewhat proficient at it, I think I might actually work up a baby blanket using this stitch!