covered button tutorial

redrose

Here is a tutorial to make the covered buttons, used in designs such as my Richard the Roundhead Tam, and Scatness Tunic. (These instructions can also be found in my book Colours of Shetland.)
You will need: a plain button with a 1 in / 2.5cm diameter; thin cardboard (eg cereal box), sharp scissors, sharp needle, tapestry needle and a small amount of your choice of yarn.

STEP 1:

button1

Select a button with a 2.5cm/1in diameter.
On cardboard, draw a circle 5cm/2in in diameter (I drew round the lid of a spice jar).
Cut out your cardboard disc; measure and mark the centre point with a ruler, and, with a sharp needle, poke a hole through this point.
Mark numbers 1-12, around the edges of your disc, as if drawing a clock face.
With a pair of sharp scissors, cut shallow notches at each of the points 1-12 (notches should be no deeper than 5mm/0.2in)


STEP 2:

button2

Take your yarn, cut off a 3ft length, thread your needle, and draw up through the centre of the disc, leaving a short tail no longer than 1cm/0.3in

STEP 3:

button3

Draw the yarn across the front of the disc up to notch 1.

STEP 4:

button4

Draw the yarn across the back circumference of the disc to notch 12, secure it in the notch, then draw the yarn across the front diameter of the circle to notch 6.

STEP 5:

Continue securing the yarn into the notches by drawing it alternately across the back circumference, and the front diameter, in the following sequence:

6 ➝ 7
7 ➝ 1
1 ➝ 2
2 ➝ 8
8 ➝ 9
9 ➝ 3
3 ➝ 4
4 ➝ 10
10 ➝ 11
11 ➝ 5
5 ➝ 6
6 ➝ 12
12 ➝ 11
11 ➝ 5
5 ➝ 4
4 ➝ 10
10 ➝ 9
9 ➝ 3
3 ➝ 2
2 ➝ 8
8 ➝ 7

You have now created 12 front spokes, and 12 back loops.

button5

STEP 6:

button6

Draw the yarn from notch 7 to the centre, securing it around the centre of the spokes.
Bring your needle up between spokes 12 and 1 as close to the centre as possible.
Then take your needle backwards over spoke 1, turn forwards and travel under spokes 1 and 12.
Now take your needle backwards over spoke 12, turn forwards and travel under spokes 12 and 11.

STEP 7:
Continue weaving in this manner, working anti-clockwise, and drawing the yarn backward over 1 and forward under 2 spokes around the disc. This process wraps and defines the spokes, creating the ridged surface of the button covering. (If you run out of yarn, simply secure the old thread under the spokes, cut a new length, draw it up through the hole at the centre of the circle, and begin weaving where you left off)

button7

STEP 8:

When you reach the edge of the disc, turn it to the back, pass the needle under the loop between each notch, and lift it off the disc. Continue around the disc, lifting each loop off in turn, taking care not to let your yarn draw up too tightly.

button8

STEP 9:

Remove the button cover from the cardboard disc.

button9

STEP 10:

Place the button face down on the back of the button cover.

button10

STEP 11:

Carefully pull the yarn, drawing in the button-covering to conceal the back of the button. Make a few stitches across the back, securing, tightening, and neatening the button covering so that the button is completely concealed.

button11

STEP 12:
Ensure you retain a length of yarn long enough to secure your button.

button12

Buttons can be made in any size, using your choice of yarn or thread. Just make sure to cut your cardboard disc about 2.5cm/ 1in larger than your buttons. And watch out: once you start turning them out you may find yourself unable to stop . . .

buttoncollection

Have fun!

Scatness Tunic

Here is the next design from Colours of Shetland — the Scatness Tunic

This design was the last in the collection to be completed. For many reasons, it is one of my favourites in the book.

Here is some behind the scenes footage from the day that my friends at Old Scatness kindly allowed us to shoot some photographs around the site.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best that day, and the photographs we managed to take in between the squally rain showers were a little grey . . .

. . .but there was a peat fire blazing in the reconstruction Pictish wheelhouse, which meant that we had somewhere to get dry and stay warm, just like Shetland’s early inhabitants.

The following day, in typical Shetland fashion, the weather and the light were totally amazing, and we were able to get out to take these pictures.


The two Scatness designs are all about circles. In the case of the tunic, this means that you knit everything in the round, cut a steek up the middle, and complete the edges with corrugated rib, icord, and neat, lined facings.

The finishing touch to the tunic is created with a set of signature wheelhouse buttons, whose colours pick up the rich shades used in the yoke and ribbing, and whose shape echoes the concentric spoked structure of the Pictish wheelhouses at Old Scatness.

The book includes a tutorial to enable you to make your own wheelhouse buttons. When I was producing this part of the book, I might have got a little obsessed with making buttons . . . they are somewhat addictive.

I love everything about this tunic inordinately: it is a very versatile garment, equally at home as an outdoor windcheater, or taking the chill off one’s shoulders in an air conditioned office. I love the rich autumnal hues of the yoke and the shifting colours in the rib, and for me, there is always something uniquely satisfying in the construction of a yoked garment.

I’ve now added the Scatness Tunic it to the Colours of Shetland collection on Ravelry, and if I get my skates on, I might be able to share another design with you later today.

See you again shortly!

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