I wanted to knit something with butterflies. So I went to the internet. Turns out there’s a stitch called the butterfly stitch.*
It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind at first, and was completely different from anything I’d done before, but it grew on me. I knit a few practice swatches, and experimented a little with different dimensions for the butterflies.
I settled on the original pattern – 5 stitches wide and 5 repeats tall. (by repeats, I mean visible strands in the butterfly wings – one row of slipping, one of knitting, well, purling.) The butterfly needs to be an odd number of stitches wide, in order to get the head in the center. I didn’t want any wider, so I tried three stitches wide but it didn’t look right. It was disproportionate and the strands were too narrow to be noticeable.
I did try three wide by three tall, but those looked more like ants than butterflies. Regardless of width, three strands tall looks more like insects.
I tried the top and bottom strands five wide and the middle strand three wide, to make them look more like a butterfly, but it didn’t work out, The middle strand wasn’t noticeable enough. One of these actually stayed in the final scarf.
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft (medium weight): 1 skein Soft Grey Heather (silver), 1 skein Charcoal Heather (darker grey)
CO 5 x 5 + 8 = 33
Stockinette first few rows
Stitches 1, 2, 32, 33: garter stitch
Stitches 3, 4, 30, 31: stockinette
The middle stitches: Butterfly stitch, 5×5, start with 3 butterflies. So, butterfly 5 stitches, stockinette 5, butterfly 5, stockinette 5, butterfly 5; the next set of butterflies stockinette 5, butterfly 5, stockinette 5, butterfly 5, stockinette 5.
Knit half the scarf, then put it on a stitch holder and knit the other half (so the butterflies face the same direction).
I originally planned to do the entire scarf in silver, but I realized that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to make the scarf as long as I wanted it. I considered buying another skein, even if the dye lot would be different, but then I settled on using a contrasting color instead. In the end I like it better this way. I really like how the color join turned out.
The hardest part ended up being joining the two halves of the scarf. I’d used the kitchener stitch once before, but I didn’t have it quite right. I didn’t really care at the time, because it was in an inconspicuous location, but for this I really wanted the join to be smooth. I practiced quite a few times until I got it right. The key for me ended up being working on the wrong side – the purl side – instead of the right side, and practicing using a contrasting color to stitch the pieces together, so that I could see my work.
In the end, the join turned out beautiful. I have to check the direction of the butterflies to make sure I have the right place.
I intended this scarf to be a Christmas gift. I did start it before Christmas, but I didn’t finish it until…much later. Part of the problem is that the pattern is repetitive enough to be boring after a while, but complex enough that I can’t do it without looking. So working on it in venues like a movie theater is not an option. Then it took me a few more weeks to master the kitchener stitch for the join.
After all that time I put into the scarf, I took a few photos of it. Then a few more. I may have gone a bit overboard. I decided that the real reason that the butterfly scarf took so long is because it wanted to go on adventures, and, well, this happened: