Learn the Butterfly Stitch

Butterfly Stitch
Butterfly Stitch worked over 19 stitches. (c) Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The butterfly stitch is a great pattern for advanced beginner knitters. While the end product might look intimidating the pattern is actually pretty simple. The slipped stitches are gathered together to form delicate butterfly-like wings which are where the stitch gets its name. It's also referred to as the smocking stitch.   

When to Use the Butterfly Stitch 

This is a great stitch to add a little decoration to a baby blanket or a ladies scarf.

It's also good for knitters who'd like to add some texture to their work without dealing with tricky cable stitches. It can also be used to narrow sections of a garment that are too wide with little change to the original pattern. 

For this pattern, it's best to keep the working yarn loose behind the slipped stitches. 

Works over Multiples of 10 plus 9 Stitches.

Rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9: Knit 2. *Move yarn to front of work, slip 5 stitches, move yarn to back, knit 5 stitches. Repeat from *, end last repeat with knit 2.

Rows 2, 4, 6 and 8: Purl.

Row 10: Purl 4. *Pick up loose strands with ​the right-hand needle, slip strands onto left-hand needle and purl together with the next stitch, purl 9. Repeat from *, end purl 4.

Rows 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19: Knit 7. *Move yarn to front of work, slip 5 stitches, move yarn to back, knit 5. Repeat from *, end last repeat with knit 7.

Rows 12, 14, 16 and 18: Purl.

Row 20: Purl 3. *Pick up loose strands with​ the right-hand needle, slip strands onto left-hand needle and purl together with the next stitch, purl 9. Repeat from *, end last repeat with purl 3.

Repeat these rows for pattern.

Note: For more detailed instructions on how to work Butterfly Stitch, check out this tutorial.

Also Known As a Smocking stitch.