Saturday, 7 April 2018

Beautiful Buttons, and Brilliant Beads

On Tuesday afternoon, before the car débacle, we'd popped into Dereham for a few bits and pieces. So we called in at the Library - and I found an armful of craft books to look through. I was in a rush, so just went by the titles and didn't really flick through to see what was inside. 
The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" was quite justified - I certainly didn't really find what I had expected. 
How to make Beautiful Buttons -  this one has had some good reviews. It does indeed give 25 different techniques for button making, involving beading, knitting, crochet and embroidery [hand and machine] as well as clay work, macrame, and wood.The instructions are meticulous, and well set out. 

BUT some of those lovely buttons shown on the bottom left of the cover take around 250 seed beads, which must be pre-threaded onto a string before they are stitched onto a covered button blank. The cover picture alone represents hours of work. You would have to have a very special reason for making buttons like these. However it was an enjoyable read.
Best tips I picked up - 
  1. if you are creating a home-made button, then sew on the 'eye' from a standard haberdashery hook&eye, to create a shank
  2. If you have any brass book screws, they can be repurposed to make cylindrical buttons [eg for a bag closure]
It just so happens that I have a whole bag of these which someone gave me, and I had been wondering how to use them. They are used by book binders and leather workers, and are sometimes called Chicago Screws, or Sex Bolts. [in case you are wondering, it is because they have two components, male and female]
I'd come across knitwear designer Erika Knight before. Beads and Buttons also contains 25 projects - necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Again, the instructions are very well laid out and easy to follow. There are three sections, natural, playful and vintage. Techniques again include pre-threading beads, this time in order to knit or crochet with wire or string into the finished piece. Unfortunately the photos all show the finished items artistically draped over balls of string/pebbles/chairs it is hard to visualise them being worn - will this dangle into my cleavage? Do these buttons lay flat, or look chunky on my wrist?
Best things in this book - 
  1. clear diagrams of 'finishing' knots and slip knots, plus diagrams for threading up buttons
  2. a useful glossary of 11 basic bead and button shapes.
Beads - pony, ball, drop, seed, bugle, crystal, lampwork
Buttons- 2 hole, 4 hole, shank, fish-eye
Who knew?


  1. I could never have imagined that making buttons could be so labour intensive! You would have to have such a lot of patience. But - I can now understand why some sets of buttons that I've seen have been so expensive!
    Are you going to try any of them?


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