Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Butterflies and beads

Bountiful, beautiful beaded butterflies! This is the decoration I made for the GB's room, given to her for Christmas and now hanging from the ceiling over her bed. I had a lot of fun making it and she loves it, which is even better.

I first got the idea to make this decoration when I saw a photo of a similar one on Pinterest. I couldn't find a source right away, so I searched further and found another photo that linked back to Ravelry. There, I found a pattern for butterflies crocheted with basic cotton yarn, called Bountiful Butterflies and designed by a crocheter named Marken, of The Hat and I, which seems to be an online pattern shop. Marken had used a bunch of crocheted butterflies to create a beautiful hanging decoration wherein the butterflies were attached to beaded strands and hung from an embroidery hoop. The strands cascaded in a spiral from the hoop and it all looked really pretty and bright and cheerful, perfect for a girl's bedroom.

I enjoy making crocheted decorations for the GB's room, like a garland using Maybelle flowers which hangs over her headboard. I thought one of these hanging decorations could be a nice addition, but the project took a bit of planning because there weren't really instructions for making one. It didn't look too difficult, though, and I improvised a bit. The hardest part may have been the crocheting, actually. The pattern is easy to follow, but I'm not a big fan of crocheting with cotton yarn; it makes my hands hurt, I find it annoyingly splitty and it sheds fibers everywhere. I sneeze a lot when I crochet with cotton. But it's a nice yarn for decorations because it's strong and can be crocheted tightly for stiffness and structure, and it comes in such vibrant colors.

I crocheted 20 butterflies in a rainbow of colors - some solid butterflies and some dual-colored. I ended up using only 18 of them; the ones I did in light aqua gave me too many blues in the rainbow sequence. 18 was plenty for a good spiral. I did make one change to the butterfly pattern in that I didn't add the "bodies" as shown; I thought they looked a bit heavy and lumpy when I did the first few, so I decided to frog that part and not make any more. I think they still look sufficiently butterfly-ish without bodies.

If you'd like to make one of these decorations, here's how I made mine.

After I'd crocheted the butterflies, I put all the parts together. For the strands, I used .25mm nylon beading filament (Beadalon Supplemax illusion cord) and 6mm/8mm faceted plastic rondelle beads (see bottom of post for links to these products). I used an 8-inch wooden embroidery hoop for the top part.

I wanted my butterflies to hang in a helical formation, at a reasonable height above the GB's bed, so I started with a 16-inch length of Beadalon for the first butterfly (the lowest-hanging one) and decreased each subsequent strand by half an inch, so that they would march upward along the spiral.

For each length, I used a sharp needle to thread one end through the top center of a butterfly, knotting tightly to secure it. Then I strung beads on from the opposite end of the strand, leaving two inches at the end to attach to the hoop with a tight knot. After they were all tied on, I moved them around to space them evenly around the hoop.

Next, I cut a quarter-yard of pink tulle fabric into long, 2-inch-wide strips and wrapped them around the hoop, covering the tied-on strand ends as I went. I tied the ends of the tulle strips to each other to secure them and buried the knots under the tulle as I wrapped the strips.

For the hanger, I cut four 12-inch lengths of the same beading filament and affixed one end of each strand to the hoop with a tight knot, passing it through the tulle with a sewing needle. Then I gathered the strands at the top and knotted the other end of each to a small plastic ring. Fortuitously, the GB already had a sturdy plant hook in exactly the right spot on her bedroom ceiling.

Here's the view from the doorway, zoomed in a bit. The decoration hangs at a good height, I think, especially for a person who still likes to stand on the bed to look out the window.

I hadn't been able to think of a good way to wrap the decoration for Christmas, so I wrapped a rubber band through the plastic ring and hung it off the drawer-pull on one of the end tables in the living room, next to the Christmas tree. I put an adhesive gift label on one of the butterflies. Most of her presents still come from Santa, but this one and the Sweetiepie ABC's sampler I took credit for. She was very excited to find that both were for her.

She tells me that she especially loves lying under it and looking up. I can see what she means. It's pretty fun to look at it this way. I wish her the sweetest of dreams under a spiraling, sparkling rainbow of butterflies.

Bountiful Butterflies Decoration
Yarn: I Love This Cotton and Sugar 'N Cream worsted-weight cotton, assorted colors
Hook: H/8 (5.00mm) Clover Amour
8-inch wooden embroidery hoop
Approximately 400 small plastic rondelle beads, In Bloom brand
Beadalon Supplemax nylon beading filament
Tulle fabric in 2-inch strips, from a 1/4-yard cut of tulle
1-inch plastic ring for hanging
Started: October 2016
Finished: December 2016


  1. Bravo, that turned out so pretty and fun! What a lucky girl to have a mother who is so talented and spends the time to make something special for her. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  2. Oh, Jennifer, it's beautiful. I think I'd like to lie in bed and look up at that too! Well done you! :o)

  3. It's really pretty. The rainbow of colour is delightful and I can just imagine how sparkly those beads look in the sun. What a gorgeous present. xx

  4. Oh goodness, I LOVE it!!! Just beautiful.

  5. That is beautiful Jennifer. I can see exactly why she loves laying in bed looking at it. What a sweet gift and you did an amazing job of it. I admire how you figured out each step. If I don't have a pattern I have difficulties. :)-

  6. How lovely. I might have to ask DD2 if she'd like something similar (or a garland to go around her headboard).

  7. That is SUPER cute! Way to go, Jennifer!

  8. You are so talented! That is the cutest thing, and I can see why GB loves it!

  9. It is beautiful, such a lovely gift made with love.

  10. That is just so so pretty - not surprised she loves it :)

  11. That is really pretty, the view from below is very soothing.

  12. This is such a sweet idea and beautifully crafted, too. xx

  13. It's so pretty, perfect for for a girly girl's bedroom.

  14. It is a triumph, Jennifer! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain how you made it. I imagine GB will have sweet dreams as the pretty butterflies swirl above her. xx

  15. Good morning! I'm writing to say thank you for all your lovely blog posts, which I have silently read and enjoyed over the past year or so. Also to wish you a happy and peaceful new year and 2017, this year in which we all have to find our own way to optimism and hope.
    All good wishes, Deborah

  16. It's lovely Jennifer, so pretty. :) xx

  17. What a gorgeous gift, and how very lovely to make such a gift for your girl. You are such a loving mother Jennifer, and your family benefit from your love every day X

  18. That is such a special gift for your daughter, it turned out beautifully.

  19. It is beautiful, I was wondering what it was going to turn out like and it is totally wonderful. Jo x


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