Dorset Buttons – a very portable craft

A selection of Dorset buttons

At the moment I am staying with my mother, in Kent. The visit was made for two particular reasons: (1) to go to the Royal Albert Hall to watch Carlos Acosta dancing in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and (2) to help my mother move home. I haven’t looked in the mirror lately but I’m guessing I have metamorphosed (hmm, or should that be “metamorphosised”?). You know what they say about ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’? Well, I know I’m not a “men” so it stands to reason that I must be a “mice” because my ‘best laid plans’ have been well and truly scuppered!

Anyway, ignoring that – if only I could! – when deciding what craft activity to bring with me on this trip I needed to choose something small so that it wouldn’t be in the way nor need lots of space during the move. Aha! Dorset buttons fitted the bill perfectly!

A Yarrell design Dorset button

The first button I made was a Yarrell. I hadn’t attempted one before (neither had I made the following two designs previously). I was interested in creating the variation in stitch/texture on the button. This button is slightly lopsided because when I laid the spokes they were exactly centred. That meant there was insufficient room to complete the fourth round of double stitches. Apart from that, I am pleased with the resulting button.

Dorset button – Petal design

My next experiment was making a Petal design button. For this design, ten spokes are laid and stitches are each worked across two spokes, making a total of five ‘petals’. I am not satisfied with this button as the petals look uneven and untidy. However, it’s not too bad for a first attempt.

A Basket Weave Dorset button

The third button I have made during this trip is a Basket Weave. This one was worked using a knitting yarn which has led to the stitch definition being less than satisfactory. I enjoyed making this design and shall definitely be trying it again, but I think I shall use thread rather than yarn for the next attempt.

Three designs of Dorset Button

When I put together the materials to bring away with me, my intention was to make at least one set of buttons. To date, I have always made just one button in any design/colourway. However, once I started working, I decided I wanted to try designs that I hadn’t attempted before.

Dorset Button Accessories by
Jen Best

If you are interested in making Dorset buttons, the instructions I used were in the book Dorset Button Accessories written by Jen Best of Beaker Button. It is available in .pdf or hard copy.

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6 thoughts on “Dorset Buttons – a very portable craft

  1. This is real evidence of the value of lifelong learning. If I hadn't read your blog I would never have learned about this craft. I am a bit of a button collector, so I must look into these more.

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  2. I have learnt something new today! Thank you, Dina! I have never heard of this type of craft before. The Yarrell design Dorset button is my favourite – such an intricate pattern. I wonder how the Basket Weave would look like if you use crochet cotton instead of knitting yarn? Really lovely buttons, Dina, and seems like a perfect type of craft on the go.

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