Saturday, May 21, 2016


latch hooked butterfly wall hanging
A reader recently wrote: “I love butterflies! Your wall hanging is so pretty! Thank you for the pattern. How do you go about designing and how do you make charts from your designs?”

I love butterflies, too! Thank you for the compliment, and you're most welcome for the pattern (March 21, 2016). It can be used for several types of needlework. You have asked about one of my favorite subjects designing. Before I get started on a new design, I do research. I look at photographs of my subject, as well as scientific illustrations (if it is a living thing), paintings, even cartoons. Each photographer or artist sees and emphasizes something different in his or her pictures, so I get more details from looking at many sources. This photograph shows some of the things I looked at while I was considering butterflies.

butterfly samples pictured

I wanted butterflies of three different shapes and sizes for the wall hanging. Once I made my choices, I made enlarged cutouts of their shapes. To make the butterfly shapes show up even more, I glued them to sheets of dark blue paper.

butterfly silhouette on blue paper

Before I did that, however, I traced the butterfly outlines onto pieces of quarter-inch graph paper.

butterfly silhouette on graph paper

Then I made the squares of graph paper match the curves of the designs as well as I could sometimes stopping just inside the butterfly outline, sometimes drawing just outside it. I marked the squares with letters or symbols representing the colors of the butterflies. Then I made a little “key” for each butterfly, telling what each letter or symbol represented.

butterfly pencil chart on graph paper

I then filled in a second graph paper silhouette for each with the colors of the butterfly, making small adjustments as needed. I used markers because the colors are more vivid, but colored pencils are easier to erase, so you may choose to use them. 

butterfly chart colored in

Then I used my paper patterns to make the latch-hook pictures. I chose colors of cut rug yarn that were the closest color matches for the marker shades. If I wanted to do the same designs in counted cross-stitch, I would start with graph paper that had much smaller squares so I could get much finer details into the picture.

latch hooked section done from colored chart

When we get a little time, I’ll ask J.D. to work his magic and turn my simple chart into a professional color-coded chart that you can download. Look for it in a future post.

Another reader commented:”You mentioned sewing tabs on the reverse applique butterfly (April 10, 2016). Can you show me what you meant?”

Certainly. Here is a  pictures of the finished butterfly ready for framing or to be prepared for hanging. I decided to make it a small wall hanging. The first thing I did was to cover the back of the entire rectangle with another piece of felt. This made it feel solid and caused it to hang straight and flat.

butterfly reverse applique

I then cut straight strips of the darkest color of felt, folded them in half, and sewed them to the back of the rectangle. I planned to glue wooden beads to a small-diameter wooden dowel and slip the beaded dowel through the felt tabs. Once I had it centered, I would have inserted a screw-in hanger into the top center of the dowel and it would have been ready to hang on the wall. However, I purchased a black wire hanger on sale from that seemed just right for the butterfly. You can see the finished project below.

butterfly reverse applique with tabs and hanger
As you can see, this butterfly is not like any living species! Butterflies and moths have such intricate patterns that they stimulate the imagination. It is easy to dream of fantastic ones.

butterfly pillow top
Here is a picture of a fantasy butterfly made in French longstitch with back-stitched outlines, against a striped “sky” done in tent stitch. For more information about French longstitch, see the post for March 8, 2015. The piece was designed for a pillow top.

butterfly transparency in hoop
And for a butterfly that can really “fly” in an open window or doorway when there is a breeze, look at this little “Window Wonder”. For the directions to make one like it, see the post for April 29, 2015.

And, finally, a picture of a real, live butterfly, courtesy of J.D.'s sister, J.J., who is also an enthusiastic photographer.

Best wishes to butterflies and butterfly lovers everywhere,

colorful butterfly photo by jljardine

 Creative Commons LicenseThis post by Annake's Garden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.