Butterfly Stitch

Butterfly Stitch example & Title Slide for

The Butterfly Stitch


The Butterfly Stitch uses Slip Stitches which are knitted together to form the wings of a butterfly.

The stitch works well on items or areas of projects where you wish to add a bit more detail to break up what could potentially be a pretty flat and monotonous project. The stitch works well on items such as jumpers, cardigans, and hats.

So, what is a Butterfly Stitch? The butterfly stitch uses a series of slip stitches over an eight-row pattern to create a series of loose strands on the surface of the knitting fabric. These loose strands are then knitted together to give the appearance of a butterfly, with the knit stitch representing the body and the loose strands of yarn form its wings.

Butterfly Stitch Banner


Start your Butterfly Stitch by casting on in multiples of 10 + 9 stitches.

The first row begins by knitting two, you then enter a repeating pattern of slipping five stitches purlwise (with the yarn forward) and then knitting five. Repeat this until you reach the last seven stitches and slip five stitches purlwise (with the yarn forward), finishing by knitting two. For the second row (and all wrong side/even rows) purl all the stitches. Repeat this alternating pattern from row one through to and including row eight.

The ninth row begins by knitting four then start a repeating pattern with knitting one under the loose strands from the first eight rows, then knit nine more stitches. Repeat this pattern until you reach the last five stitches, where you will again knit one under the loose strands and finish by knitting four.

The eleventh row starts with knitting seven stitches, and then enters the repeat of slipping five stitches purlwise (with the yarn in front), then knitting five. Keep repeating this pattern until you reach the last two stitches, and knit two. Repeat the eleventh row for rows thirteen, fifteen and seventeen.

Begin the nineteenth row by knitting nine stitches, again entering a repeating pattern by knitting the first stitch under the four loose strands created by the previous eight rows, follow this by knitting another nine stitches. Keep repeating this until you reach the end of the row. The twentieth row, as with all wrong side rows should consist entirely of purl stitches.

Keep repeating rows 1-20 until you reach the desired length.

Difficulty Level:

Intermediate Knitting Stitch Difficulty

Cast on:

Cast on multiples of 10 + 9 stitches. This pattern repeats every 20 rows

Techniques Used in this Stitch:

k1 uls


Traditional Instructions

Rows 1, 3, 5 & 7: k2, * sl 5 wyfd, k5; repeat from * to last 7 stitches, sl 5 wyfd, k2.
Row 2 & all wrong side rows: p all stitches.
Row 9: k4, * k1 uls, k9; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, k1 uls, k4.
Row 11, 13, 15 and 17: k7, * sl 5 wyfd, k5: repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2.
Row 19: k9, * k1 uls, k9, repeat from * to end.
Row 20: p all stitches.

Repeat rows 1-20 till you reach the desired length.

Butterfly Stitch Chart

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Butterfly Stitch Swatch Examples

Example of Butterfly Stitch - RS

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Example of Butterfly Stitch - WS

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Knitting projects using the Butterfly Stitch

We currently don't have any projects to show. If you would like to share your project using the Butterfly Stitch, then get in touch using the comments box at the bottom of the page or through our contact page.


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Stitches & Instruction by Alison; Article by Brian

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