This past Sunday during the clear-weather hours between our recent snow storms, I decided to peruse one of my favorite local shops: The Rockland Antiques Marketplace. When I visit thrift shops or antique shops, I’m not hunting for fine collectors’ items. No, I look for craft supplies.
I like to think about repurposing things. I’ve been known to buy a dresser and repaint it. I’ve been known to make a side table out of a tall, heavy candlestick with a fancy plate glued to the top. Once I even bought a chair and reupholstered it because I wanted to figure out how. Sometimes I buy sweaters and unravel them for yarn or felt them and cut them up for scraps. Sometimes I buy sweaters just to cut the buttons off.
This time, it was buttons that caught my eye. I got lost in a little cabinet full of buttons that I actually overlooked on my first swoop though the shop. Intricate, delicate buttons, some of which I was told dated back to the Victorian era. Many knitters realize that buttons can make or break a knitting project, and take great care in selecting the perfect buttons to complement their loving handiwork. We sell buttons at Over the Rainbow Yarn and I’ve seen and often helped people pore over their options, laying out a slew of buttons one after another atop their knitted sweater, hat, or cowl, and standing back to contemplate each one.
Something I haven’t often seen people do is begin with the buttons and build the knitting project around them. But since I walked out with a handful of uncommonly inspiring buttons, I decided to do just that as soon as I got home. I was lucky enough to be able to knit straight through the evening and the following day thanks to Winter Storm Orson.
Along with the buttons, I picked up this little rosette pendant. To me, it called out for a knitted i-cord to hang on. I find knitted i-cord makes lovely jewelry with a look both elegant and casual. Using lace or fingering-weight yarn and US 1 needles, you can make a fine enough cord to easily string through a pendant. I picked a merino wool/silk blend with a subtle shimmer and a muted colorway that reminded me of the antique shop, and I finished it with a simple knot that’s easily adjustable for different lengths. I even think the knot looks quite nice with the ends of the i-cord hanging down the back. Knitted i-cord jewelry is a fine way to use up little bits and pieces of leftover yarn too. You can do it a bit absent-mindedly while watching TV or contemplating your next project, like I did. It works up quickly. I recommend it highly!
I thought two coordinating i-cord necklaces would be a nice look, and these genuine crystal buttons with this rusty orange lace-weight yarn just felt right. Since they’re made of crystal, they’re fairly heavy. They make the extremely lightweight cord hang nicely without flying away. I knit a rope with buttons on the end of it, secured with knots. I came up with several ways to wear it as a necklace. I think I might wear it as a headband or a belt some time. I like to get creative with clothing.
All the while, I’d been designing these fingerless mitts in my head. I used Berroco Ginkgo for the body of the mitts and Boboli Lace for the accents. I consulted my stash and picked these colors specifically to coordinate with these dainty gold-toned buttons. It’s a basic design, all about the accents. The mitts are knitted and the edgings are crocheted, because the more crafts involved, the more fun, of course. I couldn’t be more pleased with how they came out. What do you guys think?
P.S. Don’t tell Stacy at Rockland Antiques Marketplace, but I think I’m going to gift these mitts to her for giving me such a generous deal on the buttons, and for the pleasant chat about buttons and crafts.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I used to think that I hated this holiday, but I’ve come to terms with my gooey, squishy marshmallow interior. For example, I’m wearing a pink/red shirt today! I ordered adorable heart-shaped stitch markers for the shop! And look at these lovely little knit hearts by Susan B. Anderson that I found on Ravelry!
But seriously, I do like Valentine’s Day — I just like to celebrate it my way. No heart-shaped boxes of candy for me, no diamond-studded jewelry, and definitely no trip to the movie theater to watch the latest installment of pre-packaged “romance”. Instead, I’m going to spend quality time with the people I love the most. My mom and sister were my valentines every year when I was growing up, and we always gave each other silly cards and high-end chocolate. (I’m a firm believer in Galentine’s Day, too. True friends are always there for you, and deserve to be celebrated.) Tonight, myself, my family unit, and my most excellent, breakfast-in-bed-making partner are going out for cocktails and tasty appetizers.
This holiday places so much emphasis on a narrow Hallmark definition of love. But I want to encourage all of us to embrace a broader idea of Valentine’s Day. We can celebrate it any way we want — by showing love for ourselves, the planet, our friends, our pets, or humanity in general. With that in mind, I’d like to invite you all to join me in a bit of charitable giving. I’m going to donate the cost of a movie ticket to New Hope for Women, an organization that works against domestic violence in our area. The inspiration for this donation is my frustration with the romanticization of abuse in popular culture. I could talk your ear off about it (and if you want to discuss it with me, let’s grab a drink and talk!) but suffice it to say that I have $10 in my pocket, and would rather give it to New Hope for Women than go watch the glorification of stalking, possessiveness and controlling behavior for 1 hour and 58 minutes.
Let’s share the love, y’all. <3