Nellie"s Needles

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time For Buttons

Over the holidays I was given a collection of old buttons by a cousin of a friend.  It was a big grundgy box holding some treasures.  Among them were about 100 silk and wool fabric covered ones.  I pinned 91 of them in the open spaces between the labels.
 
To keep track of this button arrangement, I used Press'n Seal to store them by rows.  I tore off a long sheet, positioned the buttons by rows, then folded the Press'n Seal over and pressed it together between the buttons.  A Sharpie pen was used to write the row numbers on the top sheet.
Today was beautiful and I didn't want to spend it in the studio sewing those buttons on.  I set up to work out on the deck.  
A working surface was created with a piece of fabric affixed to a PVC pipe quilting frame.  I just needed something to support the quilt while sewing the buttons on.

These wonderful old cloth covered button don't have shanks.  I cut a length of polyester buttonhole twist thread,  The thread was brought up from behind the quilt, threaded through the padding on the button back, then the thread needled to the back side.
All the buttons in a row were positioned in this way.  Then I folded over the quilt to tie the thread lengths together with an overhand knot.  I prefer this particular knot because it can be tightened close to the surface by sliding the needle down the loop of the knot.
All was going well ... until I dropped a button.  Of course, it would slip between the cracks.  I spent half an hour fishing it out.  Luckily the needle was stuck through the back.  I don't think I would've been able to see it eight inches down in the dark without the glint of it.  Taping a magnet to a length of thread finally fished it out.  Whew!  There were no more buttons of this size.

So I did what should have been thought of when I was setting up ... put a sheet over all those cracks waiting to swallow precious buttons.
I hope tomorrow is as nice so I can finish sewing outside.

 

11 comments:

Debra Spincic said...

Wonderful surface textures!!

Sue Spurlock said...

I really like where this is heading--didn't exoect this--cool!

The Happy Apple said...

Everything looks so neat...if that was me, there'd be piles of stuff everywhere and bits of thread sticking to everything! Looking good!

Heather said...

I love poking about in old button boxes - what treasures might be found. Glad your near disaster was averted! The quilt is so innovative and looks wonderful.

paula said...

that is starting to look (to me) like an african warrior piece) its fascinating to see it change each time you post...hope you get great weather!

Patty Ashworth said...

Ok! Is there an Elvis hiding in there somewhere? The piece is bigger than I thought. You can tell the size when it's on the frame.

Karen said...

I love watching this evolve! And how organized you are. seeing how you work - combining your artists ituitive process with careful planning to achieve the beautiful end results. Wonderful lessons!!

Beverly said...

I can't believe the oomph (for lack of a better word!) those buttons add to the piece. I love watching this develop!

KathyE said...

Everytime I come to your blog I learn something new. The use of Press N Wrap is wonderful. Why didn't I think of that? Your art quilt is fantastic, too.

June Calender said...

Your press and seal is super -- so is the project as a whole. As I think of you sitting in the sun on your patio sewing on buttons I realize once again how labor intensive fiber art is -- and how wonderful it is to do an exciting project on a warm day after a chilly winter. Actually, I'm jealous.

Joyce said...

Love the piece and what a great idea to use press and seal to keep organized. Hope you had nice enough weather to finish it outside.