Prepupa Spicebush (complimentary pattern alterations!)


I had a customer request for a Prepupa Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar! I've wanted to make one in these colors forever, so I was tickled I had a chance! 

If you didn't know, some caterpillars change looks drastically from one instar to the next (when they molt) and then sometimes, if all factors are just right (temperature, weather, diet, etc.) they can take on a bright color for just a few hours before they molt* into their pupa state to become a chrysalis to develop into a butterfly. If you see a caterpillar in the wild in these special last-hurrah colors, you are very lucky! 

*Just a quick note here to mention that not all caterpillars (moth or butterfly) molt into a pupa state. Some spin their enclosures (butterfly: chrysalis; moth: cocoon) out of a silk thread they produce themselves and others build their enclosure by gluing tiny bits of dead leaves, etc. together with a similar substance (or they steal bits of spider web! to tape it all up!). Some pupate in a week or so above ground attached to plants or even your deck rail and some bury themselves underground and take all winter.  It's all very complicated with endless variables and I enjoy discovering these little details whenever I work on a new species. 

So, just over 2 years ago, I released the pattern for the Spicebush Caterpillar. It's a very striking caterpillar with its false eyes and the black outlines to the color spots gives it a very cartoonish look. Another feature of this caterpillar is the osmeterium- a little sense organ that he can push out (and also sprays a stinky substance) if he is ever threatened. You can see a lot of videos on YouTube of assholes intentionally frightening them to make them display this organ, but I'm not going to link to them. My design for this caterpillar features a pocket that you can hide the osmeterium in when not in use. 

The Original Spicebush Caterpillar Pattern is available on Ravelry and Etsy

The Prepupa-colored Spicebush is based on this pattern with mostly just color changes, though I have added one detail that you may like or not like. At any rate, it is my pleasure to explain the changes I made here in this blog post in case you ever want to make one yourself! (Or one of each!)

The Prepupa Spicebush Caterpillar

So here are the changes I made to the pattern to achieve this second look: 

PAGE 2 - 4:
Caterpillar Back
I used a light orange (Dessert Glaze, I Love This Yarn) through round 20. 

On round 21, I began a scallop transition to the new color to simulate the color fade/transition on the real caterpillar. This Gold is Redheart Super Saver, which is a lighter and more orange-y hue than other brands I had on hand. 

NOTE: A much easier alternative would have been to find a color that worked in between my orange and gold colors and just make rows 23-24 with that color, but I couldn't find a color that was suitable, so this was my solution:

Round 21: Repeat around: 6 orange, 2 gold. (Be sure to anchor your gold float!) My stitches worked out perfectly, but if yours doesn't, don't fret. Just pick a spot (at the end maybe) where you can have one wider scallop and it will look intentional. 
WHAT'S AN ANCHOR? you may be wondering. An anchor is simply one place somewhere in the middle of a float where you crochet over that floated color to help you keep the right tension on your stitches. A FLOAT is the color that you aren't using and are stretching across the back of your fabric until you need it again. If you don't anchor, it's pretty much a given that you will pull too tight when you pick that color up again and cause a pucker in the fabric. As a rule, I anchor every 4 stitches, but I will float for 5 if it means I won't actually need to do an anchor. We DO NOT CROCHET over dropped colors along the full length because this makes your stitches much bulkier on these rows than previous rows and frankly it's just really ugly.

Rows 22a and 22b: as written

Round 23: Picking up again with the scallop, do 4 orange and 4 gold. Be sure that these are centered on the previous rows.

Round 24: Orange for 2, gold for 4, anchoring the orange floats as before. FO the Orange now.

Round 25: Gold.

There is no black stripe.

Shows the scallop transition

Page 4:
Caterpillar Belly

Made to the pattern, using color Gold

Page 5:
True Legs:
1 - 7: Use color Orange
8. Black as written
9 - 11: Use color Gold

Use Color Gold
Note: I actually used a 2nd gold color to mirror the scallop, but it was really unnecessarily fancy. I have made SO MANY caterpillar feet over the last few years that sometimes it is nice to do something different even if I'm not sure I like it all that much after it was done.

Page 6:
Made as written, using Gold

Prepupa Caterpillar Undercarriage

Page 6 continued...
Osmeterium Pocket:
Made as written, using Gold

I don't really make these anymore on any of my caterpillars. I always thought they looked stupid and nobody has ever asked me 'hey but doesn't it need a mouth?'. 

False Eyes:
I used a pale yellow in place of the Peach (Herrschnerr's 2-ply afghan yarn in Buttercup)

Page 7:
Large Spots:
I used Pale Yellow in place of the Peach.
On round 2, instead of changing to White, I change to Black for those few stitches. Then proceed to round 3 without needing to FO in between.

Page 8:
Triangle Spots:
I did not include these. 

Medium Spots and Small Spots:
Made as written, using light blue yarn. (Herrschnerr's 2-ply afghan yarn in Cool Blue)

Note: You may have noticed that my medium and small spots are not all in the right places. That is just me unable to follow the rules even when they are my rules. You can also not follow rules sometimes if it makes you feel good (and it's not going to hurt anyone, obviously). 

Page 8 continued...
Made as written with a dark orange. (Herrschnerr's 2-ply afghan yarn in Copper)

So, everything else is the same! You don't need to worry about the black stripe and you can use your Belly color to make the segments rather than the fishing line as the colors are close enough they aren't going to show. 

If you make one- old colors or new colors or even made-up colors (how fun would that be?!?!), I hope you will tag me on Insta! @jennawingatedesigns and @hotlarva

Purchase on Etsy
This pattern in a bundle with other caterpillar patterns HERE
Purchase on Ravelry


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