Tag Archives: buttons

So Sew Buttons

I love buttons.  I always have.  When I was little, my mom had this big tin filled with all the buttons she had collected over the years.  One of my favorite things to do was to take the Button Box from the drawer of her sewing desk and spill them out on the kitchen table.  I’d sort them by color, or texture, or size.  I’d make pictures with them, and arrange them in patterns.  I liked everything about them, even the feeling of the little buttons running through my fingers and the sound of them plinging back into their tin.

Not much has changed, to be honest.  I have my own button collection now, but it’s in a little zippered felt bag, not a tin.  And I don’t have nearly as many buttons as my mom did.

But over Christmas, I added a few more to my collection.  They are really special buttons that I’m super excited about.  My family took a little expedition to North Chicago to visit a button shop that we had heard about over a year ago.  And, I have to say, it was totally worth the wait.

The shop is called Soutache, and it sells thousands (and thousands) of buttons, miles of ribbons, and piles of rhinestones and feather trim.  I could spend an entire paycheck there if I wasn’t careful.

soutache-headerThey had buttons made from bone, from stone, from wood, from brass.  They had bright pink buttons, and inky black buttons.  Square buttons, spheres, and buttons shaped like shoes.  They had new buttons and vintage ones.  And they were all gorgeous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI came home with these little guys.  They’re vintage half-inch brass buttons.  They almost glow in the light, and have a surprising amount of heft.  I can’t wait to put them on the slightly cropped cardigan that has been bouncing around in my brain for a while (of course, I’ll have to knit it first).   They’re pretty much perfect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd these buttons are so cool!  They look like hand-formed aluminum, or maybe tarnished silver.  But, they’re actually made of plastic, which sounds lame, but is actually kind of perfect for a sweater.  These buttons are so light, they won’t make the front of a cardigan droop from their weight, even though they are large and impressive.  Cool, right?

In conclusion, if you’re ever in Chicago, make a point of going to Soutache.  And bring your check book.

Do you have any special buttons in your collection?


Woo Hoo!  It’s time to do the happy dance and pose awkwardly in the back yard!  (Because (for some reason) holding a rake made me feel less weird than just standing and smiling at the camera.   I never said I was a good model.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the sweater looks great!  It fits really well, and it is nice and cozy!  The sleeves turned out a little long (which happens to me all the time when I knit.  I have trouble getting store-bought clothes with long enough sleeves, so I tend to overcompensate when I knit, and I end up with sleeves that would work on a giraffe), but they’re perfect for turned-up cuffs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, though I agree with you guys that silver buttons would have been better, I ended up going with some nice faux-horn ones.  The sweater has 13 buttons, and, well, they are expensive!  I didn’t want to spend more on buttons than on the yarn itself.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t plan on taking off this sweater for the next month, or until I spill coffee on it, whichever comes first.   (Probably the coffee.)

Inspiration: Cables

Oh, KnitPicks sales…. You cause me so many problems.   There I was, reading my email, minding my own business, when that dang KnitPicks Ad showed up.  One thing led to another, and the next thing I know, I have a dozen skeins of heathered camel-colored wool.


So, now I guess I have to figure out a pattern worthy of my lovely new yarn.  I’m thinking something with cables.

Flat/Shawl Collar Cardigan 7065 by Hayfield:  I like this sweater, but it seems a little too old-fashioned.

hayfield7065main_medium2[1]Antler Cardigan by tincanknits:  This sweater is super pretty, too.  But I was hoping for a more all-over cable pattern.

PK-antler-10_medium2[1]Persistence is Key by Amanda Woeger:  This might be the perfect sweater!  It’s got enough cables to keep me interested, but it’s modern enough to satisfy my current sweater whims.  I think I have a winner!


What to Buy the Knitter Who Has Everything…

I get this question all the time:  “I don’t knit, but my buddy does.  What does he want for Christmas?”

My usual response is: “Well, what does he like to make?”

And their answer is usually: “I donno.”

Super.  Really helpful.

Obviously, if you know the kind of project that your knitting friend likes to make, get them a gift that speaks to that interest (sock yarn for a sock knitter, lace weight yarn for a lace knitter… this isn’t rocket science).

But, if you really don’t know, here’s my standard answer, because every knitter can find a use for it:


-2 or 3 skeins of NICE medium weight yarn in the recipient’s favorite color, or a color that they wear a lot.  (Go to a fancy, independent yarn store, if there’s one in your area.  Spend 10 or more dollars per skein.  Pick out something pretty and soft. Bonus points if the label says “mohair,” “cashmere,” or “merino”)

And then, if you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket, pick one or more of the following:

-Fancy knitting needles (get the size that is recommended on the yarn’s label)

-Buttons (6 or more in a coordinating color to go with the yarn, no smaller than a half inch, no bigger than an inch and a half.  Tiny and gigantic buttons are harder to find a use for.)

-A project bag (These are usually draw-string or zippered fabric bags about the size of a piece of printer paper, and they’re used to carry around half-finished projects.  I’ve yet to meet a knitter who has enough project bags, me included) If you sew, might I recommend the Fat Quarter Project Bag?

-A pattern printout or flier that uses the yarn you picked out (but make sure you buy enough yarn to complete the project, if you do this.)  Or, a knitting book.  Take a few minutes to look through the knitting section at the book store, and pick out one that has patterns that your knitter friend might wear.

-Other fancy notions (decorative stitch markers, fancy scissors, a cute measuring tape, etc.  Knitters love pretty things.  We’re like magpies.)

Wrap up everything you bought, and be the king (or queen) of Christmas!

What’s On Your Needles?

So, whatcha working on?  I’m curious.

I’m making a Peggy Sue cardigan.  It’s (hopefully) going to be pretty cute.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a trip to visit my brother in San Francisco, I came across the coolest fabric store I’ve ever seen.  I’ve now forgotten its name and its location, which is super helpful for all of you (and me, if I ever go back).  But, it had a gigantic wall of approximately 1 billion beautiful buttons.  I didn’t have a project going at the time, but I still bought some buttons to use for a future sweater.   Aren’t they the best?


Ooh!  Aah!

Anyhoo, that’s what’s on my needles.  Let me know what’s on your needles (or hook).  If you send me a picture, I’ll even put it up on the blog.

Inspiration: Princess Bubblegum

Have you ever seen the cartoon “Adventure Time?”  No?  Well, if you’re not a 12 year old, that kind of doesn’t surprise me.

Adventure-time-logoIt’s a sometimes funny, sometimes touching, always surreal show about a boy (Finn the Human) and his magical, shape-shifting, talking dog/brother (Jake the Dog).  They go adventuring around the post-apocalyptic “World of Ooo” righting wrongs and getting into trouble.

One of my favorite characters on the show is Princess Bubblegum.  She’s the monarch of the Candy Kingdom (and literally made of bubblegum).  She’s sometimes a benevolent overlord to her subjects, and sometimes a semi-terrifying mad scientist.  But, she’s always an independent lady and quite a bit of a badass.

4820133598_c7f1752059_zLast week’s episode had PB going on a quest through a darkly mysterious wood, into a magic pond, and into a dark witch’s house.  And, being the practical gal she is, Ms. Bubblegum dressed appropriately:




The next time I go on an adventure, I know what I want to wear!  A sassy, long cozy pullover, comfy pink tights, and practical purple combat boots.  And, of course, my tiara.

Cozee, by Voolenvine


Berwick, by Kristen Rengren