Let’s Talk about Buttons

By Ann Shayne
January 22, 2019
Buttons are small expressions of individuality. And also a decent way to close up a cardigan.

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  • Those toggle buttons are a beautiful choice! Well done!

  • Sometimes, I find the buttons first and then look for project to knit worthy of them.

    • Same here!

  • I love choosing buttons! I recently knit Norah Gaughan’s amazing Geiger cardi, and because it is reminiscent of an Austrian boiled wool jacket, I chose bronze metal buttons with an edelweiss flower on them. I tend to gravitate towards metal buttons — pewter mostly, with Celtic designs for cabled cardis. I also love leather buttons, shell buttons, wooden buttons . . . you name it. The most insane button choice I ever made was to commission hand made buttons for a Jade Starmore design (Elizabethan Jacket) — the buttons matched the colors of the fairisle pattern. You can see it here! http://wendyjohnson.net/knit/jade.htm

    • What a gorgeous jacket and great buttons!!

    • Wow!

    • WOW!!!!!

    • Wendy, your skills never cease to amaze me. Really beautiful.

    • Speechless!

    • Very nice! Love that you wear it with jeans.

  • It’s SO lovely! ❤️

  • This sounds rather simplistic, but I take my item to the store with me and buy whatever looks best with the garment. Sometimes it’s metal, sometimes shell, sometimes plastic. I am pretty fussy about what I choose.

    • That’s what I do. Buy the buttons after you h.ave knit the button holes and that way you know they’ll fit.

    • Yes, there’s something great about have a big bunch of buttons to consider at the store.

  • Perfect buttons. My favourite sweater buttons were made from slices of antler on lopi wool – a long oatmeal coloured cardigan with cables. I get buttons from a used clothing store, wooden ones from crafters, small boutique buttons…

  • The jacket is gorgeous–I can’t wait to see it on!
    My all-time favorite buttons are the horn buttons at Fringe Supply. I use them on almost everything.

    • Yes, Fringe Supply has gorgeous everything. Karen is so brilliant about finding the special things.

  • Your jacket is spectacular and the toggle buttons are a lovely choice!

    Last year, I knit sweaters for a new set of identical twin boys. The mom didn’t want “traditional” colors, didn’t want them exactly the same and both parents were into dinosaurs. I found dinosaur buttons on Etsy and the artist/craftswoman made them to order using photos of the sweaters as a guide. Perfect! Bottom line, check out Etsy!

  • My favorite buttons are antique sterling buttons I found at an estate sale…have not found the right garment to use them on yet! I buy buttons at flea markets and antique shows, I buy old garments at thrift stores just to cut the buttons off. I have a collection of vintage glass buttons…guess I like buttons as much as I like yarn…

    • It really is an endless world of buttons. And sterling buttons! Wow.

  • I’m a bit of a button collector. I have a jar of odds and ends I bought at an antique store. A tiny bag of buttons purchased at Tiny Buttons in New York (swoon!). Another bunch — cards of vintage buttons — purchased at a vintage shop in Denver.

    A sweater deserves the best buttons and I’m not afraid to spend a bit on them. Or to take my time finding unique ones. I once replaced buttons on a sweater coat immediately after sewing them on because they were not worthy of the knitting!

    I also sew, and good buttons are just as important there.

    • Tiny Buttons? Must investigate, clearly!

      • A visit to Tiny Buttons is like the the icing on the finished object cake.

  • Someone once made me a set of buttons out of a sliced and polished avocado pit, they were lovely. I tend to like buttons that are not all identical, either different colors or one color but different shapes. I love rooting through button bowls at antique/junk shops!

    • I love this! I have a set from my grandmother that are sliced and polished pecan shells. She said they were from a particularly difficult Christmas when the gifts were all made from found objects. I haven’t found the right sweater for them yet.

      • What a tender story–I hope you find the right sweater soon. Those are special buttons.

  • We are in a literal ice box right now up here in New York … be sure to bring your new coat this weekend! You’ll need it!
    Those horn buttons are PERFECT.

    • I just finished it last night! I’ll bring it–happy to be heading into actual winter weather!

  • We have a wonderful button (and ribbon) store in Chicago–Soutache http://www.soutacheribbons.com/index.html . I love browsing there. It’s enough to tempt a non-cardigan-maker like myself into making a cardigan.

    • Love that place they were also at Stitches Midwest last year. Beautiful buttons!

    • Thanks for this–I live in the Chicago area and didn’t know of this place.

    • Another A+ for Soutache. Also conveniently located two doors up from Knit 1, my LYS. Yarn AND buttons! It’s a good day when I have time to browse both.

    • I have known of this place for several years and have still not been there. (It’s probably a good thing…)

  • I am a slut for buttons. Two gallon sized containers of them, plus various other little stashes, in its way, its worse than the yarn situation and thats pretty overwhelming. Midway through any project, I start thinking about buttons. I carry the swatch around in my purse so I can match them, and its not unusual for me to purchase more than one choice. I usually plan the type and size of the button hole around my button choice, and not vice versa. Choosing the button is like choosing dessert.

    As to what I choose: I love shell buttons, but they have a tendancy to break sometimes, so never for kids clothing, for which i choose plastic. Otherwise, sometimes wood, sometimes glass, often handcrafted, and sometimes vintage. The vintage buttons are sold by a good fabric store; they keep them behind the counter, and if I dare to ask them to bring them out, I know I am a goner. I look for them in markets when I travel to other countries. Following the instructions of my mother, if the buttons on old clothes are nice, I remove and save them before discarding the clothes. And yes, some of those buttons in the hoard belonged to my mom, and quite possibly my grandmother.

    • “I am a slut for buttons.” My favorite “comment of the day!”

      • Agree! Too funny! Two gallons of buttons is what I call a good start. ; )

    • I like the idea of souvenir buttons. They take up much less room than souvenir yar.

      • yarn. I think you all know what I mean.

  • What a great write, I must say that buttons are very lovely on a hand knitter sweater. My husband tinkers with wood, he makes most of my buttons from antelope horns…I just love them

    • That is an excellent husband to have around the house . . .

  • Vintage buttons whenever I can. I bought some random jars full (long ago, on eBay) and stashed them. They are the ‘jewelry’ on a handmade garment or accessory. Sometimes the buttons inspire the whole project.

  • I have so many buttons, including vintage button sets, but it seems like never the right button in the stash. Love these toggles. I do love wooden buttons, too.

  • Believe it or not, I like to make my own buttons using Premo clay. That way, I can try to match all of the colors in the sweater on each button. I used rubber stamps to make pretty indentations (i.e. filigree or flowers), add holes for thread, bake it in my oven, and then start mixing paints. I add water to the paint, so that it runs down into the indentations. When I’m satisfied, then I use a glossy gloss that really deepens the colors. Someday, I’d like to make real porcelain ones in a tiny kiln…

    • A word of warning, Maureen. The fumes from baking polymer clay can be highly toxic! Maybe bake in a toaster oven outdoors, or wear a filtering mask (not just a dust mask). See https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/hidden-hazards for some info.

      • OMG! Thank you!!! I have an oven in the basement that I use for dying yarn. I think i’ll use that from now on. And get the mask.

    • Porcelain buttons! Lovely!

    • I make my own polymer clay buttons too and love being able to make just what I want. Polymer clays are no longer made with phthalates so are perfectly safe as long as your don’t burn them.

  • Those toggles are perfect, Ann. Great heft. I stumbled across some antique antler buttons a couple years ago for a sweater https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MinnesotaE/crete. That’s really changed my outlook. Buttons and ribbons are hardest to find the perfect choice.

  • I’ve always enjoyed pairing buttons to a hand knit project. Buttons can add the final statement that this garment was lovingly created and completed by my hand. I have a very large stash of collected buttons. Some are antique, others are newly purchased. After I’ve completed a sweater, I play with different button combinations to see what I like best. Often, I’ll use different buttons (all in the same color or style perhaps), on my sweaters.

  • Some of the most beautiful and interesting buttons I’ve seen are made from sliced of goat horn.

  • Reading others’ comments is leading me to believe it might not be the craziest (ok, yes it is) idea to go back to the dead antelope I found on the side of the road, try to get its horns, and ask my husband to cut them into buttons. Saying it out loud makes it seem horribly strange, but also like I could have some great buttons…..

    • Do you want a free moose antler? We are trying to find a good home for it. In SF Bay area.

      • Elizabeth- that’s very kind of you to offer and sounds very cool. That’s a little bit bigger than I’m prepared to work with though. Thanks for offering!

  • Usually I don’t have a preconceived idea of what type or color of buttons I want to use. I just keep trying different options until the magical “ah ha” moment happens. If I’ve exhausted all local store options, I’ll settle on a set that is “fine for now” and then take the swatch with me when we travel, especially on a trip to San Francisco when I fit in an opportunity to visit Britex’s spectacular button wall.

  • I LOVE those toggle buttons so much! I have quite a fondness for buttons. My mom seemed to collect them, and I have very wonderful memories as a child, looking at her buttons in a large beautiful round tin box. I loved to just let them pour through my fingers. Since she died 2 years ago, I inherited that box of buttons. I really cherish them. I don’t really use them for anything, I just like having them!!!

    • I have my mother-in-law’s sewing basket, which I think of as a small shrine to her. And a funny one too–she was the least crafty person you could imagine. She’d laugh to know I’ve preserved her lone moment of makerness.

      • “Makerness” what a perfect word.

  • I prefer wooden buttons, or antique buttons. There is a wood carver at the local farmer’s market for the wooden ones, and thrift shops or antique swaps for the antique buttons.

  • Ann, where do you get your shell buttons? I love them, but don’t have any in my vintage button stash.

    • Hi Ellen–I’ve been getting mine at our local fabric store, Textile Fabrics, in Nashville. I would think they’d be available online, though I haven’t checked recently. (Too many pullovers; not enough cardigans!) And they come in colors as well, dyed in a way that can be very beautiful.

  • What a beautiful project. A treasure, for sure.

  • I look forward to these stories and suggestions. They make me look forward to knitting

  • Those buttons are perfect! I am enjoying the conversations about buttons – I sew and knit so choosing them is always my favorite part!

  • I like to make my own, Dorset buttons, all sizes.

    • Dorset buttons are so amazing!

  • Seldom do I have to button shop. Instead I go “dumpster” diving into my considerable button stash thanks to both my mother and mother in law. Many of mother’s buttons are still on their cards. Mother of pearl and metal and shank, oh my!

  • Seldom do I need to shop for buttons. Instead I go “dumpster” diving into my considerable button stash thanks to both my mother and mother in law. Wood shank buttons, mother of pearl buttons, metal buttons, all sizes, all colors…sometimes I just take them out to admire.

  • I love the toggle buttons. They are perfect!

  • I, like you adore shell buttons. But at times the sweater knitted needs something different.
    I have found a beautiful compromise. When I am at the beach shell hunting I keep Buttons in mind. You will find many less than perfect shells and thick heavy pieces of shells that once cleaned, polished a bit and holes drilled into them make wonderful and memorable closures.

    • What a beautiful souvenir that makes.

  • I love the toggle buttons. I love unusual buttons. I’ve used vintage buttons, polished handmade wooden buttons, horn buttons, whatever is unique and goes well with my handknits. After spending hours knitting a garment I want a button that adds character and beauty to my work. I recently found a source that has nice buttons called Makers’ Mercantile and ordered some unique horn buttons for a cabled sweater I’m working on.

  • Your coat is as beautiful as a fairy tale. I vote for the toggle closures. I have memories of my sewist aunts and grandmother having deep discussions about buttons, usually beginning with the words, “Those buttons though…” I have inherited a bunch of them.

    • Wonderful! The stories that come from something as simple as a button.

  • What a wonderful conversation, after an especially terrific post by Ann! Your sweater/coat is delightful. I live just north of Atlanta, so I doubt that I would get my time and money’s worth out of knitting it, but I’ve enjoyed virtually watching you do so! And yes, the buttons are a terrific partner.
    I’ve been very fortunate to receive several ‘shipments’ of MOP buttons from my cyber friend Jeannie, who must have a collection that is overflowing! I use them most often on my hand-knitted sweaters. If the sweater goes to a grandchild, I instruct the mother (my daughter) to return the buttons before passing the sweater down to a non family child! I also have several button jars, with many collected from garments of my mother and grandmother. Then there are Karen Templer’s fabulous buttons the beautiful handcrafted wooden ones found on Etsy that others have mentioned. I wouldn’t call myself a button slut, but I do enjoy them more than the average person.

  • After reading all these comments, I realize I need to up my button game. Usually, I just take the FO to Joann’s and see what I can find. Both of my LYSes just carry a few buttons. But I hadn’t thought about vintage shops for buttons!

    And I love the toggle buttons! I love shell buttons, but I think this project needs more substantial ones, like the toggles.

    • Agree! I just finished this jacket last night, am happy about having such big ol’ toggles down the front. I think Emily Foden is a brilliant designer–she has such unexpected ideas.

  • I love those toggle buttons for this jacket! My button choice varies by the sweater, though I find myself shifting toward plainer buttons as time goes on — Ann, your shell buttons have often been part of what has convinced me to shift a little farther toward “less is more”. I have quite a lot of buttons I’ve bought for sweaters during construction that weren’t the right thing when the sweater was finished. I’ve learned to wait to choose. I also lament the closing of so many fabric stores (especially the non-chain ones). I like to choose buttons with sweater in hand, not online, but pretty soon I fear I won’t have a choice.

    • That trip to the button store with the newly finished sweater is one of the superfun parts of knitting. I hope it never ends!

  • YES! The toggle horn buttons are the perfect choice for this sweater. Enjoy wearing it, often:)

  • My love for buttons began as a child, playing with the buttons in my mother’s button box. She was a seamstress, who had made a lot of her own clothes and all of mine so many of the buttons came with stories and memories. I kept a button box at school for my K,1, or 2 students to play with. I have a small box of my own buttons for knitting, but will buy others if none of mine fits the project. (I don’t use my mother’s buttons – I go there as to a photo album, for the memories.) I just finished an Unwind cardigan in City Tweed, extremely cosy and finally found a use for some antique buttons my ex-husband gave me probably 30 years ago. They are from a Royal Marines (British) uniform. Next I’m going to try making some Dorset buttons. I try to pick one that easy to close, especially on children’s clothing.

  • Thank you for this article. Reminded me of the Ceremony of the Buttons that my Grandmother taught me. When she knit a garment, she said, it required buttons that would do it justice. When I was a young married woman, she’d made us both sweaters. Once completed, a trip to the chi-chi-Chic area of downtown Toronto, to a specialty shop was planned. Naturally, there was a fancy “Ladies Lunch” afterwards. Hadn’t thought of that in years! Perhaps that’s why past generations kept any/all buttons, more out of sentimentality than economy of their days. <3 Sending you love & blessings.

  • I like the buttons that you chose for your sweater, Ann. Those toggle buttons really are perfect for it!

    For my part, I rarely make sweaters, but lately have had the happy occasion to be working on two Baby Sweaters (pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman), one in lilac and one in pink. For the Lilac sweater I found a very pretty button at my LYS, Flying Fingers Yarn Shop. For the pink sweater I found a button that match that particular color pink at a yarn shop in Connecticut called Westport Yarns.

    I would like to know if people sew the buttons on their sweaters with regular thread or do they use the yarn from the sweater.

    • That should have been the February Baby Sweater.

    • I use the yarn from my sweaters.

    • I use the yarn from the sweater. I can imagine a bulky sweater requiring a thinner yarn for the buttons, though.

  • OK….so your telling me I am not totally insane….there are others out there with stashes of buttons ??
    I figured have buttons, will match current or future knitted vest….so I have buttons of all shapes and sizes, colors and textures….plus..zippers….the grandsons all turned in their vests one year…due buttons open up when your hanging upside down on the monkey bars…..

  • Oh man, that is gorgeous!! I love toggle buttons and use them frequently, though not exclusively. One thing I like about them is that they’re easy to use. Another, arguably more importantly, is that the garment generally stays buttoned! Very secure. I like that in a button. 🙂

    • I have to say, it took like ten minutes to sew these buttons on. BOOM! DONE!

  • Used to spend hours in Tender Buttons on the east side of manhattan . Loved that store and spent lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$ there. Still have a stash of buttons.
    Took all the buttons off the clothes as they – the clothes- wore out or were given away.
    Think the toggle buttons are just right for your sweater, Ann.

    • I rescued a dozen shell buttons off a nightgown that was falling apart. I felt so clever!

  • I am always drawn to wooden buttons, but I haven’t actually used them on my knitting because I don’t know if they would have to be removed every time the garment needs washing to avoid eventual checking/cracking. So far, no one who sells wooden buttons has answered my question except to say, “Hmmm…uh…I don’t really know…” so I’m hoping other commenters will weigh in with experiences.

    • In a word, yes: they should be removed because washing will dry out the wood, and ultimatey they will crack. When i remove them, I put a safety pin style stitch marker to mark eacch spot; it makes the sewing on a little easier.

      Also: shell buttons can be washed by hand, as can ceramic ones, but they should not go in the washer ( I am one of those who washes almost all of my woolens on the wool cycle of my machine) because they can crack. I remove the vitage ones too,l because i really don;’t know what they are made of. On the other hand, I don’t wash my sweaters very often, so I don’t see this as a big deal. For kids sweaters, made oif superwash fibers, I use plasctic buttons.

      And just to throw this in: many metal buttons may have lead in them, so they shouldn’t be used on baby/toddler wear. Presumably the grownups don’t suck on their buttons and swallow them.

      • Thanks very much, Ellen!

  • Any advice on where, in general, to shop for buttons? Thanks!

    • Fabric stores almost always have a rack of buttons. Sometimes local yarn shops carry buttons, but not always. Flea markets are another source if you have an eagle eye. And of course, there’s the internet.

  • I like to collect buttons on my travels, especially in Europe. Easy to pack, and they are like little gems. One trip I went absolutely nuts at Tender Buttons in NYC. I’m certain I’ll never have to buy buttons again. I don’t buy toggles, though. I have a store-bought jacket with toggles, and I don’t like how they look. It could be the loop isn’t right.

    • The day I went nuts at Tender Buttons I left with about 15 of them and an empty bank account – amazing inventory but until then I had no idea buttons could cost more than qivuit! I dare not go back …

  • I inherited my mother’s button box. which she inherited from hers. I believe there are 5+ generations worth of buttons in this unassuming box. I adore sifting thru it’s contents and wonder what this or that meant and how it ended up in the collection. And yes, I’ve continued adding.
    PS I also knit/crochet. Sadly when I pass there’s no-one to inherit my very special button box…

    • This is so fantastic, Deborah. Imagine all the tales tied up in those buttons. I bet there are a ton of folks who would treasure your button box!

  • I’ve been working my way through my husband’s grandmother’s button box. She died in 2008 at the age of 101, and kept her buttons in a metal candy box. There are leather buttons, shell, bakelite, and a ton of plain white shirt buttons – I’ve only bought my own buttons once or twice in the decade I’ve had that box! The kids always love sorting and playing with them too – a win-win, IMO.

    • So fun! You know she would love to know that her great-grandchildren are playing with those buttons.

  • The pocket liners peeking through, like little up-lights of warmth. Sigh…

    No wrong choices here. A shell button is never wrong. That is a fundamental tenet of my life. But maybe they are a bit dainty for this big jacket?

    • Definitely too small–I would have had to go forage for bigger ones if I’d decided to go with shell buttons. But the toggles have worked out well, I think.

  • I love buttons, asked for my grandma s button tin, and always watching for old or unusual buttons. My granddaughter brought her jar a buttons to show me a few months ago, so it continues…

  • I bought those buttons just before Christmas for a tweed sweater I was knitting for my son. They are gorgeous on it!

  • how about lessons on making your own buttons?

    • Interesting idea!

  • I have always suspected that many yarn hoarders also hoard buttons. Do any of you have good online sources? A good one from across the pond is textilegarden.com

  • Perfect choice of the horn toggles. Ann, I may have missed the details, but where did you get them? I’m sure they’re not easily available anymore. Made me think of the fabulous store in New York, Tender Buttons (http://tenderbuttons-nyc.com/)

    • I ordered them from JoyceTrimming on Etsy.

  • I’ve never thought of using these either but I can see I’ve been short sighted. Q from a Northerner who really hates the cold, do you actually crave winter, Ann? Or are you secretly thrilled that you can look at that dark snowy book, have the moment, and then go outside without long underwear? My parents live in NC and I can’t visit them in the winter because it makes me so sad that I would then have to return to months of abject weather misery! Yes, they too think it’s insane that I visit them when it’s 40C in Charlotte.

    • I am completely miserable at all times when the temperature drops below freezing. I am the biggest wimp ever. I think I romanticize winter because it’s rare that Nashville ever feels like a wintry place. It is such a transformation to see the world covered in a white blanket. Such a hard stop to ordinary life. It is amazing to see.

      • OK – secretly this makes me feel better because I am SO wussy in the face of bad weather. The only diff between us is that you are not stupid enough to live in Canada in January! 🙂

  • Years ago I made a heavy, rustic shawl-necked sweater/jacket for my husband and found toggles that were sections of twigs, about 1/2″ diameter and a bit over an inch long, sealed with matte polyurethane (?), with two holes drilled through the middle section so they could be sewn on: maybe the vegan version of horn toggles. I’m not vegan, but really like the look of those twig toggles, even better than horn. They have survived several handwashings (without ever sitting long in water) & so far don’t look any the worse for it.

  • A friend of mine in Nashville makes beautiful custom ceramic buttons which are a lovely alternative commercially available choices. Here’s a link to her Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/NikonaCeramics

  • I pick up interesting buttons whenever I see them, especially vintage ones. When I’m really lucky, I get to go to Tender Buttons in New York.

    I love that book and that sweater. I bought the book and saw the sweater at Rhinebeck.

  • I am actually going to try using some small, hand made ceramic buttons with a pale blue glaze, which I found on Etsy. The item I’m making is my first ever cardi so I’ve never had to consider buttons before! Just saying, I love Knits About Winter – all that lovely snow! With all the hot weather we’re having here in Australia, it’s lovely to indulge in looking at these pages 🙂

    • Are you still able to knit with all that heat? Some of it has made its way across the Tasman to us here in NZ – cheers

  • I bought Emily’s book during my Xmas break, loving knitting vicariously through you with your jacket! I own one cardigan with buttons made from polished slices of deer antler. It’s a rustic woollen tweedy number so the buttons are a perfect fit. Best buttons I have bought were a set of wooden ones made from polished slices of a rimu branch (it’s a tree native here in New Zealand).

  • It’s beautiful! Open the icebox, turn up the air conditioning and wear it in good health! And about buttons: I love them, but unlike yarn, usually buy them with a project in mind. (And would you judge me If I told you that a large part of my button purchases are for animal eyes rather than for clothing? Just recently I bought some great old jet beads to serve as eyes for a knitted and stuffed goose.) The last button I bought to go with yarn was a beautiful bright green handmade one at Oregon Flock and Fiber. I got it to go with roving that I’d just purchased a couple of booths prior. Now the roving has become yarn, and I’ve decided what the yarn and button are going to be…but I’ve misplaced the button!

  • How about this cardigan pattern which calls for a multitude of different buttons! http://ravel.me/dutchess/ssc

  • Love your button choice. Especially how they are different but go together. i love all kinds but do tend to go with sturdier types – metal, leather, artsy ceramic statement ones, for some reason. Chloe

  • I like the toggle buttons but I LOVE the color peeking out of the pocket!

  • When I worked in a shop, people wanted to buy buttons when they purchased their yarn…..I always encouraged them to wait until the garment was completed.

  • Gorgeous!

  • I live in a button desert! Walmart and JoAnn’s -oh and Hobby Lobby. It is difficult to find those unique buttons that set your piece off from the daily hum drum so I check yard and estate sales, antique stores and the thrift shops –
    I am a westerner – all mountains, a few plains so I lean toward the natural products, bone, wood, rocks, and silver.

  • I used toggle buttons from Wooly Moss Roots Etsy shop on a big, chunky hooded cardigan for my son— they were perfect. :). These look gorgeous on your sweater!

  • I mostly use buttons from my husband’s grandmother’s collection and my mother’s. I am attracted to towels though as they start small and don’t come undone.

  • I like to collect buttons along the way and then mix and match them on a single project, doesn’t work for everything but perfect for the occasional baby sweater and definitely for the cup cozies!

  • I can’t believe the timing of this post and all these comments about buttons. I finished my Winter Whispers cardigan but could not find buttons appropriate to the fabric and color. The headquarters for JoAnn Fabrics is in my town, but their button inventory is surprisingly small. My LYS doesn’t even stock buttons. I had looked online for 1/2″ shell buttons and came up with nothing. So, I caved and ordered two styles of buttons from Loop London, from whom I had bought the yarn and the pattern and paid to ship them here. Another regret is that when I bought the yarn, a year ago, while in London, I dithered about buying the buttons right then and there. For some reason, I thought I should finish the garment first. Bad idea. It would have been so simple and cheaper to buy the buttons from the shop.

    Buttons have a heritage in my family. My great-aunt Belle worked as a secretary for The Universal Button Company in Detroit for all her adult life, beginning in the 1910-1920 timeframe. I’d love more information on this company.

  • Button choices depend on the yarn and style of the garment, for me. On Winter knits, such as classic Aran vests or cardigans, I prefer the round wooden buttons that are sometimes carved in some design like a Celtic motif, and the leather or braided covered buttons.

  • I love buttons. I bought pounds of ‘40s era plastic buttons on eBay years ago and try to use them as much as I can for all kinds of things. I buy buttons in thrift shops and fancy places like M&J and try to make sweaters that suit them…

  • I live in a small town with Joann’s, Hobby Lobby and only one yarn shop that carries buttons, but she’s closing shop. Sometimes I take my sweater into the shops and can find something at Joann’s or Hobby Lobby but I just discovered Jones & Vandermeer with reasonably priced buttons and unique buttons and online ordering. I ordered 3 potential sets for the Calligraphy sweater (Bang out a Revolution): Cameilias, Liberty Wiltshire JV and White butterflies. Will probably go with the Liberty which is covered in Liberty fabric with yellow in them (my sweater is yellow) or the camellias which are lovely white with a yellow center. I know that the other selections will get used at some point. It was hard not to buy ALL the buttons in the shop! http://www.jonesandvandermeer.com/categories/Button-Bead-Shop/

  • Living in a rather remote area (it takes an hour’s ferry ride and an hour’s drive to even look for buttons), Etsy is my friend. I’ve found some really wonderful unusual closures that are the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. Sometimes I’ll even make my own Dorset buttons. They’re easy, meditative, and always match – it I want them to. Buttons and other finishing really evolve homemade into handmade, at least to me.

  • where did you find these toggles?