Saturday, 7 February 2015

Knit Texture Buttons

I don't know if you can tell from the background but I really love buttons, it's borderline obsessive. I love sorting them, sewing them on things and making them, as this previous post will attest to.

So when I completed another knitted project, a stripey knitted cowl, I searched my extensive collection and decided it was time to make a couple of buttons I had been thinking about for some time- with the help of a teacup and saucer!
To knit the cowl, I used a Paton's 4ply Regal Cotton in pale blue for the main sections and a denim blue, 100% wool from Guernsey for the thinner stripes. As I wanted it to be quite chunky I used three strands of each to knit with and 7mm needles.
I started with a 5 rows of rib stitch before switching to stockinette stitch. I knit 15 rows in the pale blue and 6 rows in the denim five times before 15 further rows in pale blue. In the last set of 15 pale blue rows I included 2 large buttonholes, created over 2 rows, and finished off with another 5 rows of rib.
The yarns I used led to very defined stitches and this is what told me it was time to make knitted textured buttons! 
A few months ago I stumbled across what I thought was a real bargain in a shop I love, Paperchase- a teacup and saucer with a knitted texture for £4. As if I could leave it behind!? Not only does it look fantastic but I thought I could get crafty with it at some point. Now was that time.
To make the buttons I used Milliput, a 2 part epoxy putty that is just perfect for making buttons. I know this stuff thanks to my dad and his model making days, it also came in very handy for jobs around the house so he would often use it to fix things.
It comes in a few different colours, all of which consist of two rolls of putty which you mix together in a ratio of 1:1. Once thoroughly mixed you have a couple of hours before it sets and after 24 hours it can be sanded and drilled. It really is tough stuff once fully cured- I dropped the buttons a couple of times on tiled floor (unintentionally of course, I was having a clumsy moment) with no damage!
For these buttons I used the silver grey, I had originally intended to use Milliput Standard but accidentally gave that to my dad when he needed some, thinking it was the older of the two packs I had. I was most definitely incorrect about the age, so the rolls in the pack I was using had gone hard on the outside, this just meant I had to cut away the outer layer on both and discard them.
 The colour didn't matter as I planned to paint the finished results anyway.
 Once it was the right consistency I made two balls the same size.
Ooh by the way, it's recommended to wear gloves when you mix Milliput however I don't, I use bare hands, but I make sure I apply barrier cream beforehand and have never had a problem.

The next stage is where my wonderful Paperchase find came into its own. Although Milliput is very adhesive, water can be used to prevent it sticking and this means you can impress a texture into it if the surface is wet.
I coated the surface of the saucer in water before pushing the balls of Milliput, one at a time, into it creating a rough circle shape, the right size for my buttonholes. I decided I liked the irregular shape but if wanted a cutter could be used to neaten the edges, just remember to wet the surface of the cutter.

Once I had two similar sized discs with a scrummy knitted texture on each, I put them aside on foil for 24 hours to set. The next step was to drill two holes in each using a 3mm drill bit and my electric multi-tool. Be prepared, this can be messy, especially if the door opens just as you finish and the wind blows the bits EVERYWHERE! I could have pushed holes into them before they cured, for example using cocktail sticks, but I like the sharpness you get from drilling.
Once the holes were drilled it was time to paint them. I used nail varnish, in a colour also called denim, which was very similar to the thin stripes knitted in denim wool. I only gave them one coat because I liked the way the pattern was highlighted by the lighter colour of the putty underneath so it worked out well using the silver-grey
All that was left was to attach the buttons, for this I used the pale blue yarn, and bingo- one happy Craftin' Ernest!
Until next time, keep cosy and craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest xx

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