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As I mulled over the elements I wanted for my Morpho Butterfly arrangement (butterfly, Baby’s Breath, Maiden Hair fern, stems and grasses), I found I was lacking 1 essential item- a flower that my butterfly could land on.  So, I did a little research and found out that since  this butterfly comes from Central America region, then one of the flowers from the same region is what I needed.  My choice- red Hibiscus.  Not only is it gorgeous, but red is one of the background colors of the room where it will be displayed.

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Here it is in all it’s glory!

Now to examine my subject.  I noticed that the “vein’s” of the petals run vertically, just as they do in my butterfly veins.  So with that in mind, and using size 40 thread and a .09 hook, I made a sample.

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Once I had played around with this, I decided to write up the process, hoping to encourage some of you to do the same.

To start with, the paper template you see in the last photo was my guide.

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Hibiscus Petal Illustration

The green lines and directional arrows, are the wires (size 32g, red).  Those wires are divided as shown in the illustration.  A and B will be used to secure the petal to the main stem.  The center 6 wires will establish the center pistols and stamen, which are at least the length of one petal plus some.  One wire from each petal with be the top of the 5 pistols and have a red bead to finish them off.  The other wires will be pealed off one at a time, trimmed to length and finish with a #11 yellow seed bead.  You can see those wires in the last photo.

By using the wires in the manner I did, I am able to flute the edge.  I add even more detail in the solid red areas, as I enclose the wire turn.  Here I can sc, hdc, etc, defining the edge as I like.  I can do the same with the 2 veins that do NOT have the wire turn.  *On the sample I did not add all the scallops.

The solid blue section of this illustration will be worked as one vein.

This may seem complicated to some, but for me it is fun.  Keep in mind that this is a guide, and I am always open to changing things as needed.  Another thing is that nature is not perfect, so any slight variation in the petals is more perfect than you think.

I can not wait for my red wire to arrive so I can get started on the Hibiscus.

I will keep you updated on the progress.

 

 

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One of the most important aspects of free form crochet is knowing how to make the shapes you see on the picture or template you are working with.  To explain this concept I have uploaded the next part of the Basket Weave stitch tutorial.

You will note that the  completion of each section results in a post- ie.,  Basket Weave Post, or BWP.  You will also note that you will be working across the row in a vertical position, as the weft loops (Wflp) lead the way.

I hope that I have made this tutorial understandable, but if you have any questions, you can contact me.

Basket Weave Stitch – Ups and Downs

Happy crocheting!

Update on Morpho Butterfly arrangement elements

1 – frawn of Maiden Hair fern done!

2- 2 clusters of Babies Breath

Morpho arrg

This vase is one that is handy to put the elements in as I go.  It is not the vase that the final arrangement will be made in, that one is a 16 inch crystal fan design.

 

KT

 

 

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My Morpho Butterfly is done.  I even have 6 legs under him.

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In the photo above you can see both sides, and his legs.  By the way, this photo is the favorite pose of my butterfly professor.

The brown circles are tatted(Josephine knot).  The out side circles are embroidered with chain stitch, and the white wash is white enamel.

 

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Now he has a home!

I will leave him here until I have the rest of the elements of the arrangement done.

The next segment of this project involves Maiden Hair fern, and Baby’s Breath flowers.  Below is a photo of the Maiden Hair fern in progress- one branch at a time.

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For this element, I also used the Basket Weave Stitch.  I am still working on the tutorial and will upload it as soon as it is finished.

These leaflets are about 1/2 to 5/8 inches in size.  I am using #80 thread, .06 hook, and size 32 gauge jewelry wire.   Each 12 inch section will be made separately then connected.    The brown thread you see lying on the table surface is #80, and used to tat “double stitch,” anchoring each stem to the main wire.  It is overlaid with Hard as Nails clear polish as I go.  When finished, the entire stem sections will be coated with a coffee brown polish.  Not only with this make is all match, but it helps to secure the stems in place.

As in nature, the leaflets are similar but not exactly the same.  This of course means that I am free to shape them a bit different, and just keep them in the ball park of the size I need.

And yes……………., it takes patience, but I am very happy with the results.

Below is part I of the basic Basket Weave Stitch

Basic Basket Weave Stitch

 

KT

 

 

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morpho butterfly front and back

Above is the top and bottom surface of a real Morpho butterfly

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This is the top surface of a crocheted Morpho using 2 strands of Gutermann metallic sewing thread.  In the proper light it shines just like the real one.  You will notice that there are NO holes.  Raised slip stitches create the vein definitions.  The top and bottom wings are wired on the upper edge, and the bottom wings on the inside edge.

This is not a project for the impatient, but for those of you who are into detail work it is quite rewarding.  I have had a request for a pattern for my butterflies, but honestly there is no way I can do that, as each one is totally different.  That said, I am going to begin a series of posts (one bite at a time)on how I go about the process, and will give you the steps you need to take in order to begin your own butterfly journey.

To Begin-

SETUP STATION

I built myself a setup station which enables me to have everything at hand.  The platform is made of 2-3 inch form, 12 by 12. It is covered with a cotton fabric, and pinned in place.

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You will note that I have pins in the upper right corner, threads at the left and my template in the middle.  These pins are used to check the progress of each vein, as I pin them in their place after each few stitches.

At the present the thread you see is sewing thread from Germany.  The template is for the bottom side of the Morpho, (Yes, this butterfly has completely different  design on the bottom side).  What can I say, I am a gluten for punishment.  🙂

Back to the platform.  I used double pointed knitting needles for thread holders.  Once I decided where I wanted them, I snipped through the fabric and pushed them in. * If you want to have a more firm bottom you can add a piece of heavy cardboard to the bottom of the foam before covering.

Supplies

I begin with my head piece.  It has a light and magnification lense that helps me see the small threads .  As for thread and hooks, all my butterflies are made with crochet threads from size 40 or 80, and metallic machine embroidery threads( Gutermann  seems to hold up well for me).  I usually use a size .06 or .09 hook depending on the thread size.  I use size 36 wire in the upper and lower wings.

Basic Stitch

I had to come up with a stitch that allowed me to have a flat solid surface for each vein of the wing.  Working back an forth with the normal crochet stitch did not do it for me, so I tried a few things and came up with a stitch that gave me a more woven design.  I also needed a flat firm surface on which I could paint, or embroidery the tiny designs  required to make them look real.  As you are aware, threads have their defined edges, so blending colors is difficult-solution paint (acrylic, and fingernail polish).

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  The Basketweave Stitch

In the photo above you can see the  vertical lines that make up the “weft” portion of the weave.  In the photo below I have used a red thread to make these lines stand out.

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This stitch or process is accomplished by picking up the number of loops required through the previous loops around the post of the previous stitch.  In the case of this sample, I have picked up the 2 loops required for my treble crochet through the 2 loops made around the previous post of the treble crochet.

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The second loop is pick up the same way.  You work the remainder of the stitch normally, making sure to make the first part of the stitch firm at the base.  This stitch is only limited by the length of the throat of your crochet hook.  I have had as high as 14 loops on my hook, using sewing thread and a .06 crochet hook.

Give it a try.  Do some crochet swatching.

with size 20 crochet thread and 1.50 hook, chain up  20 stitches and work one row of sc.    Chain 1, and reverse slip stitch through both legs of each stitch to the beginning( this keeps you working on the right side of the fabric).  Ch 4, pick up 2 loops in chain, work treble crochet;  next, pick up 2 loops of through previous stitch(“wefts”) complete stitch as before.  Proceed down the row, crocheting in the back loops(2) of the slipped st. * Be sure to allow your loops to ride on the hook smoothly, do not pull them too tight.

Next, ch 5, pick up 3 loops in chain, work dtr, across as before.  Repeat slip stitch return.  Chain 6, pick up 4 loops, and proceed as before.

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Working in the back loops of the slipped st row, repeat this process adding on more chain and one more loop at the start of each row until you have as many loops(wefts) on your hook as you can work comfortably.

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I am working on a tutorial for this stitch and will post it soon.  It will include instructions on how to make various shaped beginnings and endings,  How to increase and decrease, and how to connect the various parts of veins to one another.

My entire Morpho was done with this stitch.  It worked well.

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Here endeth the lesson for today!

KT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is an arrangement that I am working on for a friend.  It is call a Papilio Ulysses butterfly.  It was quite fun to make.

As before, I worked from a picture I printed off my computer.  As my “bug” Dr. had exactly the specimen for me to take the photo of, I had the size correct from the beginning.

 

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The above photo shows you what I was looking at.  Here you see the the upper wings completed, while the lower wing is just at the beginning stage.

All the work on this project was created using crochet thread size 40, 80, and 2 strand of Guttermeins metallic embroidery threads.  Hook size was .060

For all of my work on these butterfly projects, I have used what I call “closed” stitches.   For example, instead of using a yarn over to make a loop on the hook for a dc (double crochet), I pull up the loop through a thread of the post of the previous dc. Next, I then insert the hook into the next st an complete the dc.    When you do this , you will note that the loop pulled up through the post connects the two stitches, thus filling in the holes more solidly.   This is especially important when working with the metallic thread (2 strands), as it makes the shiny surface look more solid.

As you can see by my last several projects, this has become an addiction.  The possibilities are endless.  🙂

The Finished Arrangement

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I will share the carnation pattern when I am done.

Just sharing.

 

KT

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This is my latest butterfly creation.  It is called a Rice Paper Butterfly and is indigenous to the Phillipines.  I have to say it was definitely a real challenge, but a fun one.

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The process began with a photo that was enlarged to replicate the actual size of the butterfly.  This was my template.  I used size 40 thread and appropriate hook.

Next, I planned my attack.  Starting and the top edge of the upper wing, I numbered the veins and then using the white, I worked my way down the wing, outlining each  vein in a reverse slip st using black.

The top veins was worked over wire, which allows me to shape the wing nicely.  The bottom wings are begun at the inner edge, crocheting the first vein over wire.

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The photo above shows you both sets of wings completed.  You can also see the template in the background.

Those “little” black spots are painted on.  After the crocheting is done, I spray the wings, front and back with acrylic sealer (several coats), let them dry and then use a fine brush, a magnifying head piece, and black “Hard as Nails” fingernail polish do the detail work.

I first tried crocheting this butterfly using the two colors of thread, but found that it got a bit heavy with all the ends woven in.  This system seem to work better.

 

The body is made over wire, through which the wings are attached.  The two wire ends are used for the Antennae.  A black bead is used for the head.

I mounted the butterfly on a black comb, all with thread and black polish.

As this is free form crocheting I am not going to write up a pattern, but if you are interested I would be happy to help you with doing you own butterfly project.

 

My local “bug man” was very pleased with the results.

 

KT

 

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Just finished the project below.  My Monarch now has a home.               016 (2)

As I was working on putting my roses leaves together I thought I would share the process with you.  I have written a basic idea tutorial with photos.

The one thing that stood out to me when I looked at my rose bush was that the rose leaves and stems are two colors.  The tops of the leaves are shiny and dark, the bottom are lighter in color and match the stems.

As I am a nut for making things as close to nature as I can, I decided to make my leaves two colors also.  The simple solution was to paint the backs with acrylic pain.  This actually serves two purposes.  First it  changes the shade of the thread to a lighter green, and secondly, it stiffens the leaves, while sealing the threads.

I found that using a small damp sponge worked great.  Being careful to wipe off the excess, I gently sponged in the paint a little at a time, allowing it to dry in between coats.  I also used a fine short pointed artist brush to define the central vein on the top side.

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For this particular arrangement I chose to use sets of 3 leaves together.  The larger one for the center, and the two slightly smaller ones for the sides.

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I used a backward cast on loop, (Josephine knot) to wrap the wires and secure the leaves in place on the stem.  I use Hard as Nails to secure any place I need to reinforce.

The rose you see in the middle of the arrangement is made directly off the center bud structure, and the edges of the petals are just stiffened with clear Hard as Nails as well.  I love the stuff. No wires needed.

One technique that emerged from this experiment was what I call  closed triple crochet.  This can be worked with other sts (dc, hdc,etc) as well.

I found that if I pick up one of the loops to create the stitch in the post, or chain to the right , it closes the gap sometimes occurring at the beginning of a row or change in increases, or decreases.  I use it often when shaping the close of a row that needs to be tapered at the end, or when I begin a row where I want a smooth edge.

Example, if I need a dc to begin the row, I chain up, then, instead of a yo to make the stitch, I pick up the loop in the middle of my chain, then insert the hook into the hole at the base of the stitch.

If the direction call for starting the row in the second stitch from hook, I pick up the dc loop from the middle of the chain, or in some cases the hole at the base of the chain, then insert my hook into the next st (2nd), then complete the dc.

It works well for me and keeps my edge sts smooth and snug, no gaps.

 

Here is the pdf of my process.  It is for you to play with.

Crocheted Rose Leaves

KT

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