As I considered this situation last year I thought that it might be preferable to send out butterflies that could be used all year long. For people who have Christmas trees they can still hang the butterflies. For those that don't, the butterfly can be displayed elsewhere or used on clothing or stored wherever they've been keeping the rest of them, which is hopefully not file 13 aka the circular file.
I have a butterfly pattern which can be done in one pass, but I don't really like the look of it. See what I mean?
I took the basic design and replaced the body section.You can see that I was playing around with how the wings fitted onto the body. That meant that the body, which is done with split rings needed to be done with 2 shuttles wound CTM
After working in size 20 thread I did it again in some size 80 using a solid thread colour for the body and the small rings that attach to it with a complimentary variegated thread for the rest of the wings. For the body I loaded enough solid coloured thread for the body and one wing. After tatting the body, I started the first ring of the wing and added in the variegated thread working from a section where the colours matched. (I used my method of adding thread which you can find in the sidebar to the right.) It didn't turn out to bad, but I didn't like the antennae.
When I tatted it again in the size 20 Lizbeth thread I made the antennae longer and tied a knot in the tip. I wasn't really paying attention to the placement of the variegated colour except on the starting ring to minimize the amount of contrast between the first ring and chain of the wing especially since the split rings were probably going to show a marked contrast anyway. Then again, these were butterfly wings and I wanted a lot of variation.
On some of the later butterflies I made more of an attempt at matching the wings, but sometimes, with the way the colours were arranged especially on a colour like Summer Fun, it was almost impossible. Some match better than others, although with the solid colours being in fixed positions, that certainly helps.
I'm not at all anxious about front side/back side tatting, so I didn't get bent out of shape trying to keep everything going in the same direction. On the second wing I just turned it to the back and repeated. For anyone who is, they'd have to reverse their order of tatting for the second wing.
Here's what the collection looks like. Each butterfly is approximately 3.75 by 3.5 inches which is just about perfect for what I was looking for.