A flutter of butterflies, and a fluffy failure

I’ve definitely got butterflies on the brain at the moment! It started out with this one, based on a tutorial posted on Sarah Jayne’s Bella Coco blog – worked in tapestry wool because I had been given some and thought I’d try it out (it’s OK but not particularly easy to work with, and it feels a bit stiff and rough). The second picture shows the two layers of the butterfly; it’s basically an octagon that won’t lie flat because it’s got too many stitches in it, folded double. A safety pin wiggled through the back makes it into a very wearable brooch, although unlike Sarah Jayne I don’t sew the safety pin down – this way it can easily be “un-brooched” and used in a different way if the owner wishes to (sewn on to a hair band, for example).

A mini butterfly Seen from the side the two layers show well A safety pin turns the butterfly into a brooch The butterfly worn as a brooch

After one more butterfly in tapestry wool I settled on the odds and ends of 4-ply I had found in a bag at the bottom of my chest of Stitchy Things That Might Come In Useful One Day, and that worked very well with a 4mm hook. Incidentally, let me digress for a moment on the subject of 4-ply and other terms. Having learnt my crochet in the Netherlands I occasionally get hopelessly entangled not only in stitch names, which can mean two different things depending on whether the pattern uses US or UK terms, but also in yarns (sounds rather fun actually, getting entangled in yarn smiley), trying to work out whether UK double knitting is US worsted or light worsted, and how either of these match up to the Dutch yarns I have which are graded by metres per 100 grams!

Anyway, let us return to butterflies. Because I like small things I started wondering whether this pattern would work in crochet cotton as well. Well, it does. It comes out a lot smaller, very dainty and lacy, and has already been much admired at my stitching group. It is also a lot fiddlier than the yarn version! I may make a few for special people who would really like them, but for the Craft Fair I will stick with the original version – which may look pretty gigantic side by side with the tiddly version, but is only about 2″ across the wing tips.

Two sizes of butterfly

Encouraged by this successful experiment I decided to try another one; in my bag of left-over baby wool there was a ball of bright yellow fluffy yarn, which consists of lots of short “hairs” on a thinnish thread and which I thought might look quite interesting if used for the outer row of the butterfly. After a bit of a fight trying to work six double/treble crochets into one stitch while the individual stitches and the hook are somewhat obscured by the yellow fluff (making it very difficult to see whether you’ve done five or six stitches) it became woefully clear that “interesting” was the best that could be said about it. There will be no further fluffy butterflies (though it would probably make very effective caterpillars…)

A misconceived fluffy butterfly

So back to the 4-ply (and a bit of DK), and here is the flutter of butterflies ready for Saturday’s Craft Fair (one or two others may join them if I have time):

A dozen butterflies winging their way to the Craft Fair

7 comments on “A flutter of butterflies, and a fluffy failure

  1. Well, if no one made interesting mistakes, how would be ever learn? I still think a variegated yarn for the body would be interesting, too…

    I’m with you in being confused about yarns and what all the names mean. Even very experienced knitters agree that not all DK is created (spun?) equally. I’m looking at wools from a weaving perspective (further complications) and it isn’t quite true that one can weave with anything… what you get at the end, and whether you anticipated the result, really does depend on what materials you are using. Your fluffy butterfly is a marvellous learning tool.

  2. I’m all for interesting mistakes, Serinde; they make life more colourful if nothing else :-).

    When you suggested variegated yarn I did have a look at some in a local shop, but the butterflies use very little yarn, and I’m not sure the variegation would show up effectively unless the yarn changed colour relatively quickly. With most of the variegation I saw, you’d probably just get one wing in red and one in pink, or something like that. But something that changes colour as quickly as, say, some of the Threadworx perles could be great fun!

  3. Why not crochet one in perles? you need one that has very striking changes — Anchor multicolours, maybe? Also have the advantage of being inexpensive, relatively. Harlequin (1345) or Rainbow (1335) would be zingy or Iris (1325) slightly calmer. A very butterfly look from Sunrise (1305). They come in 8 as well, for tiny butterflies.

    >nudge<

  4. You’re trying to tempt me, aren’t you? I can tell! *scuttles off to see which Anchor Multicolours she has in her stash*

  5. I love all these butterflies! ……even the Fluffy Failure has it’s appeal! The idea of using perles is a good one, the sheen on thos threads will add a very different dimension to these Flutterbyes.

  6. I haven’t actually tried the perle version yet; and I doubt it would do for charity crochet because even the standard perles are a lot more expensive per yard than a ball of baby yarn 🙁
    I’ve got a few stitchin deadlines to make but after that I will give it a try, even if only one!

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