Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Home-made Buttons

Oh yeah!!, my lap is empty. Well, most of the time. Our youngest is feeling better and I can maybe get a little done and I emphasize a little bit done. Ut oh. spoken too soon, howls are coming from the living room. Let's say this morning for a couple hours I was able to get a few things done, like clear part of my kitchen counters off.

Then I picked up the more contentious child of the three from school. Life just became more complicated. There's hope though that a nap might be in her future. Oh, how I love naps. I could really use one but this house needs a little attention before things grind to a complete stop for lack of food, dishes, clothes etc.

Sometimes, I miss those days where I got up, did livestock chores, and a few house chores, then started a project. Okay, lots of times I miss those days when I was all by myself. I'm an introvert, big time and love being by myself. Then I hear the kids giggling or they say something funny, or they just snuggle in my lap, and for a while I don't miss my old life at all.

But because I'm Grandma turned 3/4's of the time Mom, things can be a bit silent on the blog front, like last week. Not because I'm not doing anything but because I've not time to write about it or I'm not finished with the project I want to tell you about. Like those double thick mittens I'm STILL knitting. I finished a thumb yesterday while holding our youngest grand daughter who kept running high fevers day and night, but I didn't think you wanted to see the thumb I knitted.
And I thought I'd really have something to show you. A completed UFO project - my husbands sweater that has been in the making for years. It was from some Coopworth wool I'd spun more years ago than I can accurately remember. Let's just say back when I was first learning to spin, so it is rather thick. I finally knitted it up a few years ago and then it sat for lack of buttons.
Last weekend though the project moved a step closer to completion. Now I'm stuck because I can't find a drill bit little enough amongst the five containers of bits I looked into. I'll have to wait to ask hubby if he has one small enough and if not go and buy one. One must have holes for the yarn to go through and attach the buttons to the sweater. So today I'll be showing you what I want to do. Not so much what I have done. It's something I've wanted to do for some time and it's on my goals for 2011 list --Making some of my own buttons. That's not really something entirely new since these deer horn buttons I made a few years back but, I'm expanding. I've a small bin that my hubby has been tossing scraps of mammoth ivory, and horn into. He hasn't done much with wood lately but I'm hoping for some scraps of exhibition level woods also. The kind with really tight patterning that would show up on a button. That eliminates a lot of pieces of wood. Then again some black wood though it would be just really dark would be pretty too.
There goes my mind a dreaming away again. Focus, Holly focus. Though the buttons above are cool, I thought what would be even cooler would be cutting the button from the horn in the other direction. The above buttons were cut crosswise on a band saw from the tines of a deer horn but as Kirk is working on some elk horn scales for knives for Al Mar Knife company, I realized I like the horn slabbed better. It makes for a much more interesting button. These are the buttons he made with the belt grinder for his sweater as we were talking about what I had in mind. He's so much handier with the equipment than I am but I must learn to do it myself as he simply won't have the time.
This elk horn had sat on the plains for some time bleaching the side facing the sun white and leaving the other gray so my husband died the horn scales. To add interest, he buffed some of the die off giving the scales added dimension. I said that and then I didn't show you a picture, oh notty me. These are from the side of the horn facing the ground. That idea to dye horn though is an idea that could be incorporated with buttons too and a little polyurethane would help them hold color through washings. Not only black but a blue or green dye might be really attractive.
The colors of the horn facing the ground suite the sweater perfectly as they weren't washed out and matched perfectly the Coopworth wool. Besides a natural, earthy colored sweater like this deserved natural buttons. The Coopworth wool has a sheen to it, a long staple length, is considered a coarser wool though t it seems more like hair than wool, and hence doesn't feel so coarse to the touch. But, the yarn was thick, having been spun when I was just learning so the sweater is heavy. Being in a hurry to complete it, I just made a simple knit pattern on my bulky knitting machine. So much for getting it done in a hurry. Uh, let's see maybe twenty years in the making. How old are some of you UFO's -unfinished objects? As I turned the soon to be buttons over in my hand, I thought they would be attractive using them turned on the marrow side of the horn or maybe I should just try making up some with the bleached horn that is nearly white. Wonder what that would look like? These buttons are round but buttons don't have to be. I want to try some that are square and who knows where that will lead? Oh, how the brain is a whirling. Wonder how hard it would be to make shapes? As I looked through the little bin I'd set out for my husband to throw scraps into I can't help but wonder what knitted creations they will eventually adorn. Now isn't this a pretty piece of mammoth horn I've in my bin?And this tiny piece of mammoth horn may only make one button but there has to be something special to use it on that only needs one. Though this is a bit dull since it isn't polished, can't you see the blue in the this piece of mammoth? It makes me want to dig into Kirk's knife scale bins for larger pieces to make more buttons than just one to four. I just have to remind myself, "Married first, buttons second". Oh but the temptation is great. Yet if I trespass, I might just loose my privileges. Restraint can be so hard sometimes.
I'll just have to learn to combine different colored buttons into one project sometimes. There has to be a sweater out there with the right combinatin of colors that needs buttons of differing shades. Then after I was talking with Kirk about needing buttons for his sweater I wanted to FINALLY finish, I later discovered these elk crowns he'd slabbed off for me since he thought they would make great looking buttons. At first I wasn't sure what to do with them, but as I pondered, I imagined a sweater with a drape to one side needing just such a fastener. They are a bit big though so I think deer horn ones would work better.
If I hollowed them out a bit to lighten them, they just might be very attractive on a western type sweater.
Oh how I'm beginning to covet my husbands knife handle stash. I see some India stage horn in there and it has a really gnarly deep brown coloring. Think he'll give me some scraps? And I almost forgot about that little piece of red deer horn he had, maybe I'll get a few scraps from it one of these days.
When ever my husband sees wood or horn he thinks knife handles but I'm going to see buttons.
Yes, these are does in our backyard and they don't have horns. Drats!!! Maybe a buck will wonder in someday and leave me some horn sheds. Yup, they can shed their horns any ole day in my back yard because I've got plans for them.

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