Wednesday, 24 September 2008

All buttoned up

We all know that a love of the textile arts often brings with it the desire and habit of stashing away lovely materials for future use. Most of us own up to a yarn stash but a knitter's house will often be populated with a number of 'sub-stashes,' depending on his or her preference. I know knitters who love collecting vintage patterns, I've seen a whole book dedicated to the collection of knitting needle gauges and a friend of mine is a self confessed dpn tart. I too, am guilty of the development of a number of sub stashes, particularly useful for that bit of retail therapy when you have sworn you are on a yarn diet and know in your heart that when you have enough yarn for 150 pairs of socks, sock yarn most certainly counts as stash.

Today, I wanted to share with you a small peek at my button stash... During one of my late night tea drinking sessions with natalie we were talking about mini projects using 100g or so of hand spun yarn and I started developing an idea that I have had for some time. While I was away in Italy I finished the knitting but there was one ingredient missing - buttons.

I had great fun sorting through my button stash and came up with the following shortlist...

As you can see the yarn is a hand painted merino silk mix spun into a heavy DK bordering on aran weight in a mix of deep pinks, greens and browns.

The first button I auditioned was a square paua shell with a wonderful, deep iridescent quality which complements the sheen of the yarn.

Next comes a vintage art deco Bakelite button which puts me in mind of the front of an old radiogram in the colour of a freshly fallen conker.

This vintage plastic button reflects the pink and green tones and sheen of the yarn very well.


Mother of pearl this time with the greens and pinks again reflected in the button but in a much more muted way.

I was amazed at how many buttons I had which have colourings completely suited to this colour combination. This wooden button reflects back the greens and pinks of the yarn but this time the colours are much more matte.

Being a good green, alongside the reused vintage buttons come buttons recycled from old glass bottles. I love the irregularity of this button and the way that it reflects the shade of the green in the yarn but allows much more light through.


Back to vintage Bakelite again, this time combined with mother of pearl to create a really spectacular effect.

As you can see, I was really spoilt for choice and don't like to reflect on how many garments I would have to complete to use up my button collection but I look on it as an heirloom. I had hours of fun and entertainment as a child, sorting through this collection which originally belonged to my grandmother and has been enhanced by my mum and now by me. The children in my family find it equally irresistible.

Can you guess which buttons I finally chose? I'll show you the finished article very soon.

15 comments:

Lin said...

You have some great buttons. i love buttons. I have a really interesting book about buttons, my son has raided mine to start his own collection now ... I have to sneak in his to pinch some back every now and then!
I have a felt square sub-stash too.

K. said...

Oh, those stashes! My fabric stash is too large to call a sub-stash. I have a few! The button one is fabulous because almost all of it came from my grandmother. And I have a small army of knitting and sewing books. I have a better library of knitting books than my local library!

Arianne said...

I LOVE your buttons!

I guess that you chose the wooden ones, it's what I would've chosen. :)

(And given our similar taste in spinning wheels I'm hoping we'll have similar taste in buttons as well. You're right! Now that I've got my Ashford Trad I'm itching for a more portable wheel and I'm most strongly considering the Little Gem! How do you like yours?)

Rosie said...

I really can't guess...all of them? I adore the recycled glass: where did that one come from?

murdo said...

ok Jane, you are nominated for blog award. :)

daisie said...

I think the pink vintage plastic, but I have a bias towards the recycled glass.
I used to sit and play with my grandmother's button box for hours as a child. Also spent more time than you would think rolling up her tape measure and unrolling it again.

natalie said...

The wooden one, or the mother of pearl, because they don't have holes... on balance (because I know what The Grand Plan was), I think the square one.

Or maybe not...

n

Terri said...

So many lovely buttons!!!!! Lots of mine are just standard, non exciting buttons:-( I should add to the box really!!!!!
Can't wait to see which ones you chose.

LittleBerry said...

buttons are nice because they reflect history... you certainly have some nice choices to go at.... I like the paua shell one and the 1st bakelite... we (mum & I) also have a large button collection both sets of grandparents collected buttons :o)

Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

what a fantastic mix of buttons! I think I would choose the square paua shell button but then they all look fabulous.

Hat said...

I don't know what the finished article is but my favourites are the wooden one and the recycled glass. I'd love to know where you got the glass ones.

janey said...

Why not use one of each type of button? I often revert to this as although I have several tins of buttons collected from various people over the years, I never seem to have enough for the garment I'm making!!

Squiblet said...

I don't know but I can't wait to find out what it is!!

kaet said...

I really like how they all bring out different aspects of the yarn and the stitches. I especially like how the swirls of colour in the wooden one reflects the stitches.

Button collections always make me think of Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, where Laura and Mary string and restring all of their mother's large button collection into a necklace for their baby sister.

Gwenynen said...

Goodness! I just bought some yarn to go with a small stash of buttons exactly like the multicoloured wooden one you posted there :-)
I'm only just starting out on my button stash, and hoping I don't get *too* carried away...