Saturday, June 21, 2014

Flutter-By Curtain Ties ~ A Free Crochet Pattern with Tutorial

Mr. M has a positive talent for making curtain ties disappear. I don't know how he does it, but last year he managed to lose all but one of our plain muslin curtain ties. (I suspect he knocked them, one by one, into the brass paper-recycling can that sits between my desk and the window, and, manlike, didn't notice them when he dumped the paper.)

In self-defense, and as an excuse to play with yarn, I decided we needed some really colourful ties that he couldn't possibly miss - lacy, cheerfully orange ties that would look pretty against the muslin summer curtains, and show up well if they happened to fall on the floor or into the paper-recycling can. A little time with the yarn and hook, a few wifely threats gentle reminders to Mr. M on Taking Care with the Curtain Ties, and we were all set:

Operation Colourful Curtain Ties was a rousing success. Our new ties survived the rest of Summer 2013, and were safely put away with the muslin curtains when cold weather came. Now summer is here once more, and the ties are back in action.

I think they'll be good for a few summers yet.

~ ~ ~

Flutter-By Curtain Ties

Size: 1½" wide by as long as you like - mine have 12 Flutter-Bys and are about 18" long

Yarn Requirements: 40-50 yards of DK weight yarn will make (2) 18" ties

Yarn I Used: Planet Penny Cotton Club

How Did the Yarn Behave? Great as always!

Hook Size: D/3.25mm or E/3.5mm

All crochet terminology is American.

Special Stitches/Abbreviations:

Knotless Chain (optional): click here for phototutorial

Forward Loop Chain (forlp ch): click here for written/phototutorial; click here for video tutorial. (You may substitute regular chain stitches for the forward loop chain sections, but they will look thinner and be slightly less sturdy.)

Double Treble (dtr): yarn over 3 times, insert hook in indicated space, yarn over and pull up a loop, (yarn over and draw through 2 loops) 4 times.

Invisible Join (optional): click here for tutorial; you may substitute a plain slip stitch join.

Flutter-By Ties Crochet Chart

Flutter-By Ties Crochet Shorthand Pattern

Ties are worked RS facing at all times.

*Knotless ch (or regular chain) 4, tr2tog in back ridge of 4th ch from hook (top left wing made); ch 4, dc in back ridge of 4th ch from hook, ch 3, sl st in same back ridge sp (lower left wing made); ch 3, dc in same back ridge sp, ch 3, sl st in same back ridge sp (lower right wing made); ch 3, tr2tog in same back ridge sp (upper right wing made); dtr in back ridge sp of starting ch (at top of upper left wing); first flutter-by complete.
Rep from * to desired length of tie.
End loop: Forlp ch 8.
Top edging: Dc 2 in back ridge of 8th forlp ch from hook; *forlp ch 1, sk top segment of dtr, (dc in back ridge of next segment) twice; forlp ch 1, dc 2 in sp at top of next left upper wing. Rep from * across.
End loop: Forlp ch 8, inv join to starting ch.

Flutter-By Ties Phototutorial with Pattern in Plain English

Making a Flutter-By:

Knotless chain (or regular chain) 4:

Find the back ridge of the first chain you made; you will be making your next stitches into it.

Treble crochet 2 together in the space under that back ridge.
(To treble crochet 2 together, yarn over 2 times;
insert hook under back ridge, yarn over and pull up a loop,
yarn over and pull through 2 loops,
yarn over and pull through 2 loops;
with 2 loops still on hook, yarn over 2 times,
insert hook under same back ridge, yarn over and pull up a loop,
yarn over and pull through 2 loops,
yarn over and pull through 2 loops;
yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on hook.)

You've made the first wing of your Flutter-By:

Chain 4, and find the back ridge of the 4th chain from the hook (this back ridge will form the center of the Flutter-By; all the rest of the wings will be stitched into this space):

Double crochet 1 in that back ridge:

Chain 3, and slip stitch in the same back ridge space (lower left wing now complete):

Chain 3,
double crochet in the same back ridge space,
chain 3,
slip stitch in the same back ridge space.
Your lower right wing is now complete:

Chain 3, and treble crochet 2 together in the same back ridge space. Your upper right wing is now complete:

Double treble crochet in the starting back ridge space at the top of the upper left wing (see arrow in photo above).
To double treble crochet:
yarn over 3 times,
insert hook in starting back ridge space,
yarn over and pull up a loop,
yarn over and draw through 2 loops (4 times).

Your first Flutter-By is done!

Repeat all the above steps to make another Flutter-By...

...and another...

...until your tie is as long as you'd like. (My orange curtain ties are 12 Flutter-Bys long - about 18" after end loops are added).

When you reach the desired length, it's time to loop around and start working back the other way. Do not turn your work over; keep the same side facing you at all times.

Forward Loop Chain 8 (see "Special Stitches" above for links to Forward Loop Chain tutorials; you may substitute regular chains if you like, but they'll be thinner and less sturdy):

The arrows in the photo above show where your next stitches will go.

Double crochet 2 in the back ridge of the first Forward Loop Chain:

Now stop for a moment and look at the Double Treble that connects the top wings of the Flutter-By. In the center of it you will see 2 ridges (marked by arrows in the above photo.) Your next stitches will go there.

Forward Loop Chain 1, then double crochet in each of those 2 back ridges:

Forward Loop Chain 1, then double crochet 2 in the top space of the left upper wing:

Repeat this stitch pattern across the top of your curtain tie:
(Forward Loop Chain 1,
double crochet 1 in each of the 2 center back ridges of the next double treble crochet,
Forward Loop Chain 1,
double crochet 2 in the top of the next upper left wing.)

When you reach the other end...

Forward Loop Chain 8, and connect with an Invisible Join to the first stitch of the first wing (see Special Stitches above for Invisible Join tutorial link; you may substitute a plain slip stitch join if you like.)

Weave in ends, and block your tie to open up the spaces and make the Flutter-Bys lie flat:

While the first tie is drying, whip up the next one.

Some other ideas for the Flutter-By pattern:

  • Use as trim for towels or curtains. (A ribbon may be woven through the spaces along the top.)
  • Use crochet thread and a smaller hook for a pretty necklace or bracelet. (Replace one of the end loops with a button.)
  • Use a colour-changing worsted-weight or chunky yarn for a pretty bunting.
  • Work shells or picots along the top (instead of double crochets).
  • Change the Flutter-Bys into Violets by adding an extra wing (or petal) at the bottom center (ch 3, dc in back ridge sp, ch 3, sl st in same sp).
You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern or reproduce the text. (Links are always welcome.)

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Brilliant curtain ties, beautifully done. Can't imagine that he'll ever lose these!

  2. What a nice weekend treat to share a butterfly curtain tie tutorial. So pretty in that lovely blue.

  3. How pretty! they would make a lovely blanket border too, thank you for the pattern. :)

  4. Really like them, maybe this fall when the heat goes away I'll give it a go.

  5. Super and very nice! THANK YOU!
    Have a nice weekend!

  6. Excellent for summer or any season, for that matter. Love your tutorials. :-)
    Happy first day of Summer!

  7. I thought at first Mr. M. was losing curtains, and I wondered how on earth he did that! I'll blame it on tired and sleepy eyes! I can't believe how much work you have put into this post ~ wow! Your orange ties are awesome. Happy summer to you!

  8. wonderful!! I will pass this on to my friend Karen. She will love it

  9. How lovely your new curtain ties are, Sue - ah, men will be men, won't they! Thank you for sharing your tutorial - you've put a huge effort into this, must have taken ages. Happy Sunday, xoJoy

  10. Another pattern I want to try, Sue! Thanks so much for developing and sharing the tutorial!! xx

  11. Very clever pattern and great photos. These tie backs look better than any you can buy in the shops. I hope they last safely this time.

  12. Those are very cute indeed. My husband ties back the bedroom curtains in a way that it appears the curtains are suffering. I usually have to fight to untie them and then make a nice knot so that the curtains can drape nicely. Have a wonderful new week. Tammy

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I love your little flutterbies! What a terrific skirt edging they would make! (I have blinds, so I have to be creative in using your fancy little stitch!

  14. I love this edging! Thank you for sharing your pattern }{

  15. Cute, colorful, and best of all still there.

  16. How pretty! I just love this pattern! :)!

  17. The pattern is adorable! I think it would look cute even as a scarf, if you could do "flutter-bys" on both sides of the dc's....

  18. Now you know what I'm going to say ... yep ... if only I could crochet. Honestly, I've tried, but I think I'm missing the crochet gene.

  19. These are so pretty and cheerful! I don't know how you come up with so many cool stitches. I will definitely be trying this. In fact, I think it might look nice on the bottom of a Barbie dress... :) Thanks so much for the pattern!

  20. Howdy, Sue! I love this Fluter-By pattern... I knew there must be one like this somewhere ;) (feeling to lazy to start thinking for one myself). I'm sure it'll make a fabulous edging for a finished tablecloth that is waiting in my unfinished projects drawer. Thank you so much for thinking anf sharing your creative work!!!

  21. So proud of your crochet patterns being published!

  22. Thanks for this design. I liked it. I tried it as well.

    Thanks again!

  23. I love this design but I'm going to have to give it another go. I'm frogging my first attempt, I want to make Christmas garlands with it.

  24. Very nice pattern, thank you.....the only problem is the last stitch placement for me....I keep trying to go in the starting chain back ridge but it is kind of hard to go in from the back and from the picture you are showing the arrow going in on th front of the stitch. Can someone help me with the correct placement for the last stitch?

    1. Hi Nightengale - so sorry for this late reply. The arrows show where the back ridges are. They're not meant to show direction of hook insertion.
      The hook should be inserted through the back ridge loop from the right side (front) of the project towards the wrong side (back).
      Hope that helps. Let me know if you still have questions.

  25. cute curtain ties, but i didn't find the backstory very charming. your husband sounds like a buffoon and i'm getting real tired of people excusing their inconsiderate behaviour with "men will be men". if that's REALLY how men are, why the hell should we even bother? what exactly is appealing about being married to someone who acts like a child?

    1. Hi Cara - I'm glad you like the curtain ties. Mr. M is not a buffoon, but he does have genuine coordination and vision problems due to a brain injury. I try to keep a sense of humor about it. It's far more frustrating for him than it is for me. Thank you for commenting.

  26. How beautiful I love butterflies and can't wait to start mine .Thank you so much for sharing this pattern.

  27. Still making these in 2022. Thank you for the amazing tutorial! My mom will surely love the flutter-bys on her birthday :)


I love comments! Speak on....