Tag Archives | Buttons

Sign Up Soon for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable.

See the blue and orange buttons in the lower right corner of the photo above? We’ll make those as a group project. So fun!

Mosaic knit saguaro cactus

How to Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This mosaic cactus motif is one of my earliest original mosaic designs. I still like it a lot!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at www.taoswoolfestival.org/workshops.

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

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Sonja Knows What to Do With Buttons!

Felt penny wreath wall hanging

What in the world can a person do with bunches of buttons?

My friend Sonja, who owns the “Two Olde Yoyos” shop on Etsy, knows! She made this wreath wall hanging in the penny-rug style, then added hand-made polymer clay buttons (by me!).

It is so pretty, I bought one for myself. At the moment I write this, there’s one more penny wreath wall hanging at Sonia’s Etsy shop. She also has lots of mini-quilts and more, at very reasonable prices.

The Knit & Crochet Show

“But wait,” you may be saying, “How can I get hold of some hand-made polymer clay buttons?”

You can make some! In fact, there’ still time to sign up for my polymer clay button workshops at The Knit & Crochet Show next month in Reno, Nevada. For more information, please visit this site: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/

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Valentine’s Day Quilt Finished!

Valentine’s Day Quilt finished!

On Tuesday evening, at the girls’ piano lesson, I sewed the last button onto my Quilting Ladies’ Group Valentine’s Day Quilt. I tried to sew more buttons on, but when I put them tentatively on the quilt, the quilt said, “Enough already!” Usually, I can find a place to tuck in one more, but all my attempts were rejected.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

So it was finished! Yay!

This quilt combines old and new and bits and pieces that will remind me of friends and fun times. Like this pretty quilted heart will always make me think of Peggy.

The yellowy flower is a Twirl Center Rose from Crochet Garden.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

These yellow and white applique daisies are from my mother-in-law’s sewing collection. She was a lovely lady named Mary Eugenia Frederick. She went by ‘Gene,” but we thought Eugenia was a beautiful middle name for our younger daughter.

Rachel made the fabric flower with the red center. Our older daughters like to go adventuring together and talk about music. Gail Hughes made the green buttons that serve as leaves for Rachel’s flower.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

Three pink heart buttons from Hazel are surrounded by flowers from Crochet Garden: Begonia (lower left), Turkestani Star with a button from Gail Hughes, and Any Color Pinks at the upper right.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

For Donna’s quilt, she asked us each to sign a piece of fabric, which she incorporated in to her quilt. The spool charm is from Donna.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

This heart, cut out of an antique quilt, is from Mindy. Both green buttons and the crystal topped button on the heart are by Gail Hughes. Hazel’s buttons are the red heart-shaped ones hidden next to the big heart.

This quilt is full of love!

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To Button or Not To Button?

I had to smile when I read this comment from an Amazon.com reviewer, about Crochet Bouquet.

And why are so many decorated with buttons? No, no, no, no, no.

Truth be told, we are fortunate that there were so relatively few buttons in Crochet Bouquet. I held back on the buttons. I restrained myself. It wasn’t easy. Like I said, we’re lucky there weren’t more.


Because I love, love, love, love, LOVE buttons! They make me feel rich! They add interest and weight to my designs! They are cool to the touch when you run your fingers through them, and they make a nice, soft, clicking-clattering noise when you pour them out of the button jar. They come in so many varieties, it seems one will never run out of buttony options.

Newspaper Valentine by Suzann Thompson

You can see for yourself the buttons that embellish some of the flowers in Crochet Bouquet. (There will be a few button embellishments in my new book, Crochet Garden, too.) Let me show you some of my other buttony creations.

The heart wall hanging above is my “Newspaper Valentine.” (Three guesses as to why it’s called that!—think back to your childhood.) In addition to the many buttons used as trim and hidden in the background, I created stylized flowers on the heart using black and white buttons. (Thank you Sharon, for the buttons!) Bandanna designs inspired these button flowers. If I remember correctly, “Newspaper Valentine” has over 200 buttons on it.

Money Tree, by Suzann Thompson

My friend Kipling McFarland and I are working on a project together, and this is one of the designs I made for it. It’s called “Money Tree.” Remember how I said that buttons make me feel rich?

The black buttons on the ladybug wall hanging were meant to echo the spots on a ladybug’s carapace. I think there are nearly 90 buttons on this wall hanging, and I was very disappointed at the time that the level of buttons in our button jar didn’t seem to be affected by the loss.

Polymer clay buttoncloth, by Suzann

I make buttons, too. This is the button cloth I created to take to my button workshops. It is knitted on my trusty Ultimate Sweater Machine, added to batting and a fabric backing, and machine-quilted. I sewed a sample of each different kind of polymer clay button I have made onto the button cloth.

There’s oh, so much more. If you are interested, you can find more buttony projects on my blogs and website.

I’ll close with this happy thought: I can love buttons and use them on everything, and you can choose

  1. to cover everything with buttons, like me (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes),
  2. to use a moderate number of buttons (yes, yes, maybe, no, no),
  3. to use buttons sparingly (yes, maybe, no, no, no),
  4. or never to use buttons at all (no, no, no, no, no).

It’s a win-win situation!

Crazy Polymer Clay Patchwork Buttons, by Suzann

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Corner Buttoned and Bound

My first ever continuous binding!

What do you think of this neat, mitered corner?

My quilting friend Peggy showed me how to sew a continuous binding on a quilt, which miters on the topside and underside of each corner. Thanks, Peggy!

This is my first try, and it’s much quicker than my old binding method. It went pretty well, though I may not show you every single corner up close and personal. Peggy prefers a narrow binding, but I like mine to be wide enough to frame the wall hanging.

After sewing on, taking off, rearranging, and resewing several motifs, the lower right corner of my Valentine quilt may be finished.

Valentine quilt with buttons and crocheted flowers

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A Quilting Ladies’ Valentine Project

This year, Valentine’s Day fell on Tuesday, which is the day our weekly quilting/crafting group meets. To celebrate, we were all to make a small quilt, using embellishments or other supplies from every one in the group.

knitting for my Valentine’s Day quilt

One member made fabric flowers for everyone. Others shared crafty charms and Valentine buttons. Two ladies gave us all little quilted hearts. My contribution was a collection of beads, buttons, and a bit of ribbon for each person.

I decided to make my usual TextileFusion-style quilt, so the first step was to knit some fabric for the quilt top. A few hours at my trusty Ultimate Sweater Machine resulted in this length of knitted fabric in pinks, creams, and reds. All the yarn is from stash—gotta love that!!

The first photo shows the fabric already stabilized with fusible interfacing. Then I cut it up and pinned the pieces on to a fabric foundation. Since the foundation fabric doesn’t show in the finished piece, I used some leftover fabric that has been lying around for years.

cut pieces pinned to fabric foundation

Here it is, all pinned and ready to sew.

I zig-zagged between each and every cut edge, sometimes twice. The zig catches the edge of one cut piece, and the zag catches the edge of the piece next to the first cut piece. At the same time, they are both attached to the foundation fabric.

It takes a while, and it’s kind of messy because the cut knitting sheds little bits of yarn. Finally, all the pieces were attached to each other and the foundation. I added rickrack to the quilt top.

Valentine’s Day quilt top almost ready for quilting

Next time, my favorite part of the process: choosing embellishments!

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Quilt Fest Fun

When was the last time I was able to sit at my desk long enough to write a blog post? Hmmm, looks like it was late November.

We’ve done a lot since then! We did our usual December things, like school parties, a quilting ladies’ party, a band concert, and preparing for Christmas. And we also caulked and painted the inside of an entire house, organized lots of repairs and improvements on it, and filled it with furniture and other things one needs to live there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our new earthen house, but it looks great anyway and it deserves its very own blog post.

Rag Sky Art Studio fabric millefiori earrings

So here I sit at my desk, finally, and what do I see, but a pair of lovely earrings I bought at the Quilt Festival.

Meg Hannan of Rag Sky Art Studio in Seattle made them with fiber millefiori. It’s the same idea as glass or polymer clay millefiori. For her earrings and pendants, she makes a roll of different color fabrics, fiber, and beads, soaked with liquid glue. When glue sets, she cuts the roll in cross-section to reveal designs that look like tiny, colorful fantasy worlds.

I’m planning a pinkish and salmon-colored sweater that will look great with these earrings.

Dusty’s Antique Linens and Buttons had baskets and baskets of vintage buttons that would have taken two hours to look at properly. For some reason the orange button collection beckoned—possibly because I’m planning a sweater in orange with teal, green, and other rich colors. These swirly fabulosities were cabochons from the 1970s or so, which were converted into shank buttons.

buttons from Dusty’s booth at 2010 Knit & Crochet Show

I have a sweater of moss greens on the drawing board as well. Thank goodness I already have a great selection of green Gail Hughes buttons and buttons from a previous visit to Dusty’s to choose from.

Looks like a busy knitting year ahead!

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Gail Hughes Art Buttons at the Quilt Festival!

Gail Hughes Art Button selection

Gail Hughes will be selling her gorgeous buttons at the Quilt Festival, November 2 (preview night) through November 6, in Houston, Texas. She designs and manufactures them herself in the United States. Hurray!

In case you’ve missed my previous posts about Gail’s buttons, let me gush about them some more. They’re colorful. They’re all shapes and sizes. Whether you love texture, multi-colors, or sparkles, you’ll find something to please you in Gail’s booth. I love the shiny buttons, and the ones that glow from within a matte finish and look like delicious candy.

Gail Hughes button with copper inclusion

My pink with green polka dotted flower buttons by Gail would be right at home in a Dr. Seuss book. Her crisply sculptural buttons will send your mind back to the Art Deco era and Bakelite.

A primitive human need to own beautiful objects drives me to buy Gail’s buttons. I’ve bought for a cardigan awaiting closure. Other times I design a project around the buttons.

Experience the thrill of Gail Hughes Art Buttons at Quilt Festival next month!

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Polymer Clay Button Class in Greensboro, North Carolina

group project polymer clay buttons

It’s going to be polymer clay paradise at the Knit & Crochet Show in Greensboro, NC, in September!

crazy polymer patchwork buttons

I’m teaching two six-hour classes of polymer clay button-making techniques:

In Polymer Clay Button Boutique 1, we’ll make colorful and easy swirl buttons, lapis-lazuli-like buttons. We’ll go into groups of two or three to work on an easy millefiori technique, resulting in buttons like the ones pictured above. (You’ll have a choice of several different shapes for your buttons.)

Ella’s polymer clay guy

After lunch we will make Crazy Polymer Patchwork Buttons like the ones in the photo above-right. We will end by making flower appliqué buttons.

Ella was about five years old when I made the buttons you see here. She used up my scraps to make this Polymer Clay Guy. Kids + Polymer Play = Creativity Squared!

To find out more about the Knit & Crochet Show in Greensboro, NC, September 23-25, 2011, visit http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com, and look for details about the Fall Show You can register online.

I’ll post about Button Boutique 2 next week.

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Making Faces at the House Site

Ella’s sand faces

Our friends Gail and Beau visited in June. We talked, took care of goats and chickens for a neighbor, ate, talked a lot more, worked on the house, discussed science and social studies, and took a side trip to Austin. It was a great visit!

While we finished building the walls between the window openings, Ella played in the sand pile. We use one part sand to three parts dirt for our slurry that holds the bricks together. She found another use for it: making faces.

“Mom, I bet we could sell these!” she said. But sadly, time proved them to be too brittle.

Eva and Gail study the wall situation

Our goal was to build the walls up to the point where we could install lintels. Lintels support the wall above window and door openings. Eva and Gail worked on a corner that included the support wall for an arch on the inside. Beau worked on a wall section just beyond the last window.

Eva and Beau, at the end of the day

Gail and Beau know a lady who is building a cob house (mix mud and straw, form into walls by hand). She hosts classes, where people learn about cob and practice the technique. “You could have a hands-on workshop where people would pay to come and build your walls!” Gail suggested.

Hmmmm. That sounds pretty good. I’ll have to look into that.

almost ready to top the windows

We rewarded our own hard work with a trip to Austin for fun. We talked, we ate, we visited interesting shops on South Congress. At St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, I had to take a photo of this button-covered shoe rack, the ultimate eye-candy for two button makers and enthusiasts like me and Gail.

button covered shoe rack at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

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