When you can’t find the right button…

Washer and yarn buttonMy first proper self-designed knitted garment is finished.  A chunky, raglan cardigan with lots of cables, it’s turned out well.  I’m still keeping it under wraps for now, until I’ve decided what to do with the pattern.  But here’s a peek at the type of button I’ve made for it.

I couldn’t buy a button locally that I liked.  The cardi only has one, to fasten it at the neck, and I felt it deserved something other than plain vanilla.  But I was unable to find even a plain button of the right size and colour, and I didn’t have time to go to Bonds (my favourite source of buttons – much cheaper than anywhere else and a huge stock).  So I dug out the stainless steel washers I’d bought for a DIY project earlier in the year and used to make some keyrings:

Washers keyringand then I fiddled about with scrap yarn until I ended up with something I was happy with.  I’m going to write up a tutorial in case anyone else wants to make wool-and-washer buttons.  Watch this space!

I said that this was my first proper design.  I knitted a red jumper with a white lightning flash diagonally across it for my dear husband years ago.  I have no idea why he wanted such a thing, but he did.  However, I don’t count that as a “proper” design because it had drop shoulders, and frankly, any idiot capable of measuring a tension swatch can cobble together  a drop-shouldered sweater with a simple intarsia motif.

Gansey diagram

Gansey diagram

And then there’s the gansey I knitted in 2014.  It required a little more design effort to make all the motifs fit together and work with the dimensions of the garment, but essentially a gansey is a drop-shouldered sweater too and designing one isn’t rocket science.  I posted on how to design and knit a gansey when I’d finished, and it gets more hits than anything else, which must mean there are a lot of people wanting to give it a go.  Try, it’s fun!

I also designed a hat a couple of months ago, called Blue Selbu.  But it’s quite a simple shape and didn’t require much thought.

Blue Selbu knitted hatTo my mind, the new cardi counts as a “proper” design because the raglan shape meant I actually had to plan all the pieces – I knitted it conventionally, ie flat and bottom up – in detail to ensure they were the right shape both to fit my body and to fit each other.  And the cable panels had to fit within those pieces and produce a harmonious overall effect.  As you can imagine, there was quite a lot of pattern tweaking and reworking involved because, thanks to my inexperience as a designer, some shortcomings in the design only became apparent once I started knitting.  I have learnt a huge amount from this, and my next effort at pattern-writing should be a lot quicker to get into final form.

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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1 Response to When you can’t find the right button…

  1. Pingback: Falling off the yarn wagon | YorkshireCrafter

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