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Button, Button

Dear Ann,
What fun to see how other mad knitters are interpreting the humble Buttonhole Bag. Lookie here:
These two are by Leslie in Kansas, a self-described “felting nut”. (Glad to know ya, sister!) Leslie’s bags are in double-stranded Lamb’s Pride Worsted, and it looks like they came out just as nicely as with the Lamb’s Pride Bulky. Love Leslie’s color choices. Turquoise and brown: Kate Spade, eat your heart out! Check out Leslie’s before and after pix.
I would like to ask my fellow buttonholers one question: when the felting ecstasy is over, what are you using the bags for? So far, I’ve just admired mine. I want to put them to work, but they are not handy for shlepping on the subway due to the lack of shoulder straps. I’m guessing they’ll live in the house, holding small knitting projects (felting projects, but of course) or my circular needle collection, or perhaps in the KayMobile, holding tissues, wipes, and quarters for parking meters. Car decor–whatta concept.
I’m also dying to know if Robin’s bevy of bags did well at the charity sales. Surely to God they were snapped up immediately–I mean, could there have been anything CUTER to buy at those sales? But I’d like to know the details, such as were there any fights or other unladylike behavior?
My So-Called Red Scarf
Believe me, it was hard to resist the urge to turn 3 skeins of red Manos del Uruguay into a Buttonhole Bag experiment. But I listened to my better angels, and I’m turning two of them into my contribution to the Red Scarf Project. This project gave me the chance to try Stacey’s pattern for My So-Called Scarf, which uses a funny 2-row slip-stitch pattern that gives the illusion of a woven fabric. Here’s the progress so far (a scan because Guess What The KayCam Just Died, Right on Schedule):
I’m using one skein in a solid (although Manos, bless its heart, is never totally solid) tomato red and one in a deep colorway of variegated red and aubergine with the occasional flash of deep pink. So far I love it. Mindless knitting at its best, and it’s creating a beautiful fabric. The goal of the Red Scarf Project simply is to send one person to volunteer in a Chinese orphanage. Chinese orphans have been very, very good to me. Which brings us to today’s Knitting Bar Exam Hypothetical Essay Question: would it be wrong to buy back my own scarf? (Open your blue books, and begin….Now.)
I’m loving this stitch pattern. The perfect fabric for my longed-for Fake Chanel Jacket. Now I just need to find the perfect non-wool yarn. The search continues.
Love, Kay




  1. I finished a felted bag with lining, lucite handles and a crochet flower this weekend for a Mardi Gras auction next week ~ where I will surely bid on it!

  2. Oh, Kaaaaay, yoo hoo, it’s me.
    What if you felted up a big ol’ chunky I-cord and rigged up a shoulder strap through those cute little buttonholes?
    Or not so chunky. Rig it up is what I’m saying. It would lose its sleek Tribblelike cuteness, but it might work.
    Hop to! I want to see what it would look like.

  3. I’m doing my Buttonhole in 3 reds, with a knitted rose right under each handle. Sorry no pic, but the susancam got lost when I moved 2 years ago, and I haven’t got a new one because I still believe it might surface πŸ™‚
    Red Scarf Project! I’m there, what a great thing. Back to the stash to look for red stuff…
    But first, back to work. sigh.

  4. Wow – easiest bar essay ever (and I should know – with all this moving I’ve written 18 bar essays).
    Is it wrong to buy your own scarf:
    (Just be sure you pay every bit of what you know its worth!)

  5. Ann, I love ya honey, but that is not a good idea.
    We’re talking the Integrity of the Buttonhole Bag here. No rigging-up. (Knitted flowers are fine, though, Susan.) oxox Kay

  6. Not to show up Ann, but why not instead pick up a few sts on the inside of the bag on either side and make little tabs for a removable knitted shoulder strap – there when you want it. Not when you don’t.

  7. Hey, hey, I’ve got it: Sew buttons to the inside of the sides of the bag, then make straps WITH BUTTONHOLES to slip over the buttons when you need to!!
    Not only does that maintain the integrity of the design, it even maintains the integrity of the NAME!!!!
    Buttonhole STRAPS for your buttonhole BAG!

  8. That’s a very good idea!

  9. Hey girls, I’m all about process. It’s a freakin’ Buttonhole Bag Shoulder Strap Solutions seminar around here. Fire up the PowerPoint, get out the flip chart, we’re WORKING here.
    Buttonhole straps–NOW you’re talking.
    Must have some kind of strap for the on-the-go gal.

  10. Kay and Ann — wow, are you too ever popular. I fired up my log files today and found all kinds of people coming to the site from your new post. Thanks again for the help and for getting the word out — Lisa is still just blown away by the support. And the buyers are starting to show up too — I just took a single donation for 5 scarves. Thanks again!
    Jacob (husband of Lisa)

  11. Hi Kay! Remember me? I just wanted to share my exciting news for the day: my Lamb’s Pride arrived (at last) in the mail today and I can’t wait to get home and try my very first felting project/very first buttonhole bag. I’ve been practicing the buttonholes and I can’t wait to try the bag.
    Do you think it would be too obvious if I told my boss I have a sudden fever and need to go home sick?
    Thanks again for all your guidance.
    πŸ™‚ Kristy

  12. I do think removable straps would be lovely for the buttonhole bag. I think I just got a new WIP….
    So this might be the thing that pushes you over the edge and forces you to buy back your own scarf — and therefore its an indiscreet comment at best on my part — but did you know there’s a matching in-the-round hat pattern for your cross-hatch scarf at http://creazativity.typepad.com/?

  13. The scarf is gorgeous and the scan makes it look like it came down from heaven.
    How do you do that stitch?

  14. RE fake Chanel jacket- have you seen the pattern Paton’s put out for their “Pebbles” yarn? Its a cute fake Chanel in acrylic…just a thought!

  15. I was going to do a buttonhole bag, but then I had an attack of inspiration, and, well, the bag turned out somewhat different. Quite nice, but different. πŸ™‚ Here’s the before-shot: http://www.iki.fi/kristel/neuleet/neulekuvat/laukku-ennen-mid.jpg … And here’s the after: http://www.iki.fi/kristel/neuleet/neulekuvat/laukku-mid.jpg
    I’ll probably be using mine as a knitting bag. What would be a better use for a knit and felted bag?

  16. Kristel, you didn’t accidentally leave the baby in the bag when you felted it, did you? I have this mental image of a much smaller baby nestled down in the bottom of the felted version….

  17. Kristel, the baby’s gorgeous! And so happy in a wool cocoon! (The bag’s beautiful too, but looks a bit sad without a buttonhole……lol). xoxo Kay

  18. Kay, I sewed (backstitched) a zipper into the top of mine, just below the buttonholes and I’m carrying it for a small clutch purse. The reason for the zipper is that I don’t want my wallet falling out (it’s barely taller than the wallet) and I also don’t want to make it easy for the neighborhood pickpocket to grab my wallet … not for the money but for my credit cards and driver’s license. It was a big hit at the knit-in yesterday. I don’t have a digital camera but when I get film developed, I’ll have a picture I can send you since I have the pictures put on a computer disk.

  19. It certainly wouldn’t be *wrong*, it would just be a monetary donation (you’d save on the shipping!)

  20. Dear Ann and Kay,
    I love, love, LOVE your felted bags! I’d like to make one (or more) for myself, but as a newish knitter, I’m having trouble reading the unpattern.
    Any suggestions/tips for knitting up one of those beyoootiful things without shooting myself?
    P.S. it’s totally legit to buy something you made for charity. I say go for it.

  21. Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe my bags got the spotlight on your blog. What fun! Thanks again for such a great little pattern. I’ve been carrying the green bag and getting lots of envious looks. Adding a few rows to the height made it just right for all my stuff. The turquoise bag goes to my DD, but she might let me borrow it sometime πŸ™‚

  22. um, not to distract from the buttonhole mania, but on to other pressing topics: you ARE going to email me when the scarf goes off to auction, right? because that thing is lurvly. and it makes my heart go pitter pat. certainly enough to arm wrestle another suitor for the chance to buy it from the red scarf project.

  23. I am almost done with bag #2! These bags are addictive. I was so excited to see my Rowan in found objects–that’s kind funny since he was abandoned and then found in a park in Brooklyn several years ago and has been spoiled with love and cheese ever since. He loves the buttonhole bag I made for a friend and I may have to knit him a mini one next for hiding treats in. He has a thing for wool just like me.

  24. KNITTING S.O.S. Please help. I absolutely love Kay’s red scarf for the red scarf project (and what a wonderful project, too!) and I want to make one of my own. But I can’t for the life of me find any Manos del Uruguay to buy. I started looking after I first saw Stacey’s scarf on her blog and still no luck.
    Any guidance, either to someplace in N. California or a reliable online yarn store?

  25. isn’t the key to a charity auction to raise money? therefore if you buy it back…it’s money raised…and i believe in making things for charity knits that i would like to have as my own..rather than something i wouldn’t…

  26. Dear Kay and Ann: Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration and beautiful bag creations. I’ve been bitten by the felting bug and in honor of you, I’ve made buttonhold bag 3/16. It’s a mini version of the fullsize and now I’m going to do a little icord and attach it to my big one for a cellphone/makeup/keys holder. Thanks for the fun! you can see it here: http://kmckiernansknittygritty.blogspot.com

  27. Ok, is it just me or does anyone else keep reading “Butthole Bag” every time I see “Buttonhole Bag”? ROFL I am so dying to make one! They are too cute!

  28. Oh how delicious… I’m so obsessed with Manos at the moment that it’s scary. you couldn’t have picked a more perfect yarn for your scarf. It looks absolutely fabulous…

  29. Love the Buttonhole bags! I just completed my first using Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Fuschia (bag bottom half) and amethyst (starting whith decreases through the handles). Sooooooo wish I had a picture to send. The colors just ‘pop’.
    Thanks go everyone who has submitted their suggestions/pictures for different yarns, style variations etc..

  30. Just because I wanted you to know that buttonhole fever has spread far and wide here is a picture of a buttonhole bag in the wild(!)


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