Butterfly Collecting – Cannetille Crochet

A Humane Approach to Butterfly Collecting

by Ann Reillet

Throughout history, Butterfly Collecting has been widespread. It was extremely popular in the Victorian Era. While insect collecting is considered by many to be an educational hobby, it’s not without some controversy over capture for preservation. Personally, I think we collect them, but are captivated by them. Perhaps butterflies represent life; ever changing, transforming and beautiful.

There are over 18,000 species of butterflies in the world but the butterfly shape is a staple of many crafts. They can be collected in many forms. Besides crochet, my favorite are cannetille butterflies.

Cannetille is a type of filigree metalwork that originated in France in the early 19th century as a metal interpretation of an earlier style of French embroidery of the same name and which is characterized by the use of gold thread. The filigree work is comprised of thread wire and thinly hammered sheet-metal which is curled or coiled into various shapes. These pieces are then soldered together to form a fancy flower or butterfly. Sometimes precious metals are used and gemstones added; a type of mixed media. The jewelry is typically worn as a pendant, bracelet, or brooch.

For this display, I used two (2) vintage cannetille brooches, a 4×6 photo frame and a piece of black book cloth. I wrapped the cloth over the glass from the photo frame and printed an “identification card” on the computer; a very humane approach to butterfly collecting.

Local antique shops, EBay, Etsy and Ruby Lane are a great place to find vintage cannetille filigree. If you have an opportunity, check out Kath’s Collectible Treasures at:    http://stores.ebay.com/kathscollectibles/ 

Crochet Butterfly of Valletta lace titled “LunarHeavenly” http://www.creema.jp/exhibits/show/id/383435
Cannetille AJU/access 8/6/2015
Ebay auctions filigree butterfly/access 8/5/2015
Wikipedia Insect Collecting/access 8/6/2015

Crochet Cannetille Style Arrow Flower

This was a freeform crochet arrow flower incorporating elements reminiscent of cannetille. I created a chart for the leaf / petal and decorated the petals with spirals having a center clones knot. Shaping was achieved by hook (#10 for side petals and #8 for larger center petal). I added a pear shape, point lace cord and leaf spray to finish off. The motif was made in separate components that were sewn together to form one piece. Finished size measures 7″ length by 3″ width.

Crochet Cannetille Leaf Petal

To crochet my “Easy Ovals Butterfly” make two large circles and two smaller followed by an edging of ch1, sc around. Arrange on blocking board and make a helix by crocheting a chain the desired length of the body, then 3 sc into each chain (it will curl naturally). Finish by sewing the pieces together and use tails of the helix to create antennae.


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