Friday, 15 November 2013

Butterfly Wedding Cowl/Infinity Scarf Crochet Pattern

Three small, but exquisitely coloured skeins of Japanese Indigo plant dyed wool have been burning a hole in my mind's eye.  I imagine the colours as representing Madama Butterfly. 
In Act One of the opera, she is a fifteen year old geisha.  Pinkerton is charmed by her, enchanted, but sees their marriage only as part of getting an exotic bit on the side. She is in love.

How to make something frothy and romantic with my little bits of jade and turquoise wool?  As it happened, I had some left overs of the same weight spinning wool, dyed pale shades of plum. Pink for Pinkerton and very cherry blossom for my jade diva. Just the combination to make what I think will be the first piece of a Madama Butterfly series - assuming I can propagate this year's Japanese Indigo seeds.

Lovers' Knots are a new crochet stitch for me, but hearing the name alone on a Ravelry post set me thinking of using them for the Act One project.  This video of the stitch is really helpful.  My pattern is the simplest possible use of Lovers' Knots, no turning corners with shorter loops or slip stitching up rows.  Even so, I drove myself mad trying to to avoid twisting the loops or accidentally joining in to the wrong knot and having to frog back.  The third row was a nightmare, as my beads only just slid along the yarn and got stuck on lumps in my handspun.  After that, I had the knack, finished the fourth and fifth stripes barely paying attention.  BG and I were more engaged in groaning over Wales getting thumped by South Africa in the first of the Autumn Rugby Internationals.
The edging firms up the fabric, just as rigging does a sail, and as I think a naval officer like Pinkerton would wish.  I tried making butterfly wing shapes in reference to those who begged him not to pull the wings off his Butterfly, but they looked fussy.  Too bloody clever by half, as my father would have put it.  In the end, I did a really simple repeat pattern along each pair of Lovers' Knots.

Butterfly Wedding Cowl


4 ply/fingering weight yarn about 14 wpi
  • 20m (9g) for each stripe of the body of the pattern = 100m (45g)
  • 50m (20g) for the edging
3.5mm crochet hook
40 beads
darning needle


After washing and blocking out
18cm wide x 132cm loop
10cm2 = 6 Lovers' Knots


Make a starting loop in the 20m of yarn you want to use for the first stripe. 

Crochet a chain of 80 Lovers' Knots, then crochet two more, finishing the second stitch through the middle of the fourth knot back along the chain.  Keep the single thread of the three forming each loop nearer to the middle of the work and the paired threads lower.  Continue working back along the chain, finishing alternate stitches through every second knot of the original chain.  When you get to the end, fasten off, leaving a good tail for sewing up.  

Take  the next 20m of yarn, make a starting loop and finish the first knot through the penultimate (upper) knot on your first stripe. Make one Lovers' Knot then finish the next through the next free, upper knot on the first stripe. Continue in this way til you reach the end and return along the row you have made, just as for the first stripe.  

Thread forty beads onto the third 20m length of yarn.  Make the third stripe in the same way as the second, leaving a bead in the knot of each central Lovers' Knot.  Make the fourth and fifth stripes like the second.

Match the ends of the stripes together and thread the tails of wool onto a darning needle to sew each starting point into the knot at its opposite end. Hide the ends by fastening off into the knot.

Take the 50 m of wool for the edging and pull a loop through any of the outermost knots.  Make a double crochet stitch.  *Make two double crochet over the double strand of the next loop of a Lovers' Knot, chain one and make two double crochet over the double strand of the next loop of a Lovers' Knot.  Double crochet into the outermost knot.* repeat from * until you complete the circuit of the cowl.

Turn.  Double crochet into the top of the stitch above an outer Lovers' Knot. *Chain three,  double treble crochet around the next chain stitch in the first row.  Chain three and double crochet into the top of the stitch above the following Lovers' Knot.* repeat from * until you complete the circuit.  

Do the same on the other edge of the cowl.  Wash and block out to dry.

It may not offer seasonal warmth, but since I was aiming for bridal party wear, I have nothing to complain about. Now, which of my three nieces might enjoy a Butterfly Wedding?


  1. Light airy pattern, complements the light airy colours and looks lovely. You're so clever! Creativity - you have Bags of it.

    1. I've made a couple of these now, the best effect defintiely comes from choosing a bouncy, full bodied yarn. You are right about keeping it light and airy. Drapey cotton, silk or alpaca blends lie much flatter and so did one I made in worsted spun Hebridean.