Knit Butterfly Stitch Pattern and Tutorial

Knit Butterfly Stitch Pattern and Tutorial

I wanted to share this Knit Butterfly Stitch Tutorial because I am working on a pattern that is going to use the Knit Butterfly Stitch. This is one of those knitting pattern where I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. The Knit Butterfly Stitch requires 5 stitches and 10 rows.  If you want to work up a swatch to practice the Knit Butterfly Stitch, I recommend added 5 stitches of either stockinette or garter stitch in between each butterfly band.

The Knit Butterfly Stitch is made up of three strands of yarn carried across the front of the fabric. You then use a knit stitch to bring together the carried strands of yarn.



Knit Butterfly Stitch Swatch Pattern

Here is the basic pattern for the Knit Butterfly Stitch. I will give the pattern directions based on a border of 5 garter stitches on either side. The Knit Butterfly Stitch is shown in [brackets].

  • Cast On 15 sts
  • Row 1, 3, 5, 7: K5, [K5], K5
  • Row 2, 10: K5, [P5], K5
  • Row 4, 6, 8: K5, [Slip 5 sts Purl Wise (yarn held in back)], K5
  • Row 9: K5, [K2, Pick up 3 carried strands with right needle, K1, Slip carried strands over K stitch, K2], K5


How to do the yarn carry rows (rows 4, 6, 8)

Please note: I am working with different edges than given in the swatch pattern above. The Knit Butterfly Stitch is illustrated between the two pink markers.

knit butterfly stitch carry yarn 1

Begin by holding the yarn to the back. Since we are working on the wrong side, the yarn will be carried across the right side of the pattern.

knit butterfly stitch carry yarn 2

Slip 5 stitches as if you were purling.

knit butterfly stitch carry yarn 3

Carefully, without pulling the yarn too tight, work the next stitch after the butterfly pattern. I left the yarn looser for the photo than I actually do. You just don’t want it to pull the fabric in.

knit butterfly stitch carry yarn 4

When you have completed all three carry rows, you should have three yarn loops on the right side of your pattern. You are now ready to complete the butterfly body row.


How to do the butterfly body row (row 9)

knit butterfly stitch body stitch 1

First you will need to knit the first two stitches after the marker, then use your right hand needle to pick up the loose yarn carries by inserting the right needle from the bottom.

knit butterfly stitch body stitch 2

Knit the next stitch, which is the middle stitch of the butterfly pattern.

knit butterfly stitch body stitch 3

knit butterfly stitch body stitch 3b

Use the left hand needle to slip the loose yarn strands over the knitted stitch.

knit butterfly stitch body stitch 4

Knit the last two stitches in the butterfly pattern.


Continue knitting the rest of your pattern.


Variations to the Knit Butterfly Stitch Size

You can make you butterfly taller by completing an extra carry row (or two) before completing the butterfly body row. Additionally, you can also make your butterflies wider by working the pattern in 7 or 9 stitches. Just remember that you need an odd number of stitches so that the butterfly body can be centered and you also don’t want to make the butterfly too wide because it is not a good idea to carry yarn for more than a few stitches. Have fun adding the Knit Butterfly Stitch to your next knitting project.


By the way, because I know someone will ask, the yarn in the photos is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted in colorway Confetti.

Michelle ~ Wee Folk Art


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