Have Ewe Any Wool?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dorset Buttons

On Ravelry, in the Monthly Adventures group, we learned how to make Dorset Buttons through a tutorial provided by one of our members. It was a great learning experience and we all had loads of fun. These buttons were fascinating to make. The variety of buttons and styles is just phenomenal! In fact, it was so much fun that I'm sharing this with the members of my knitting guild - it's a great companion project for both knitters and crocheters!

I'm quite thrilled with the idea of creating custom buttons. Buttons can be made as the "perfect match" for a knitted sweater or bag. No worries about finding the right shade of red or purple to match my yarn - instead, I can just create my own buttons using the same yarn as I did for the project itself! The possibilities are endless - especially when you embellish with findings, beads, or embroidery floss. Check out the history of the Dorset Button here: Dorset Button History

I did buy a book as well, "50 Heirloom Buttons to Make" - I had to pay a pretty penny for a used copy that was originally from a library as it's an out of print book. I even wrote to the publisher, Taunton Press, to see if they'd consider reprinting it. They told me they had no plans to reprint the book and suggested I try Amazon. I paid nearly 2 1/2 times the cover price to get this book, but it's well worth it. What a fabulous resource!

On to the details of the buttons. The "base" of these buttons are the plastic "bone" rings for curtains which come in a variety of sizes. I've started with the 1 1/8 inch size for my initial attempts. If you're interested in trying your hand at these, there are some great on-line tutorials available, like the ones from Dorset Buttons and CraftyStylish.

I'm just getting started with these, so all of my attempts are rather basic - nothing very fancy. There are others that have crafted some fabulous buttons and decorations, like KnitYoga's Halloween button and Old Time Bicycle decoration - her creations are absolutely awesome!

I made 9 buttons total. My absolute favorite is the sunflower - I really like how that button came out. Three of them are shown here without the added embellisments - the turquoise and black button, the white button, and the pink button - the remaining buttons I've considered finished as is.

Each button was unique. I tried different methods and different colors to try to perfect my technique. Caution - these are definitely addictive!

Multi-colored button created from turquoise, pink, and purple using embroidery floss.

Sunflower crafted out of yellow, green, and brown embroidery floss.

Ribbon yarn button designed with a ribbon yarn embellished with little splotches of metallic gold. I think this button would be perfect for a purse or bag.

Turquoise and black button - before and after embellishment. I made this from left-over sock yarn that had a silver thread running through it. I then embellished it with a long bead between each "spoke".

Pink unembellished dorset button. I used pink Cascade 220 for this one. It makes a much thicker button that works up very fast.

White button - before and after embellishment. This was done with baby weight yarn and shows much more definition. I embellished it with beads between each "spoke" and decorated the center with a dragonfly finding.

The two purple dorsets were made with some left over sock yarn as well. The darker one was done solely with the sock yarn. I used the darker part of the sock yarn for the outer rim, and then the lighter shades of the same yarn for the center. In the second button, I used a lavender embroidery floss for the center to "brighten it up a bit" so it wasn't so dark.

My final button was my attempt at making a watermelon Dorset button. It came out OK, but not quite as I'd envisioned. First off, the white was initially too thin....but when I added another row, it seemed too thick. Also, I had hoped to add beads for the watermelon seeds, but they seemed to be too big and make the button look unbalanced. Therefore, I decided to embellish it with embroidery floss to make the buttons.

I selected my best efforts as the ones for my swap partner. This should provide a nice variety of buttons. I hope she enjoys them!

These buttons are definitely something I will do again - once you start, it's hard to put them down! Perhaps I'll make some matching sets next time?


  • At 6:46 AM, Blogger LenaL said…

    Oh, they are absolutely fabolous!

    Take good care of yourself!

  • At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it's amazing!

  • At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be not working? Does anybody here at vikingmama.blogspot.com have a mirror or another source?


  • At 4:58 PM, Blogger Jinann said…


    I've updated the links. Unfortunately, over time, some of the links I provide get outdated. Thanks for letting me know.

    I was able to find another history page to link to...as well as some additional samples to replace the ones that are no longer working.

    Thanks again!



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