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Topic: The Return of the Button Sweater! (pic heavy)  (Read 6360 times)
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« on: April 02, 2009 12:01:23 PM »

When I was in elementary school, my absolute favorite item of clothing was my Button Sweater. What the button sweater was was a white sweatshirt, onto the chest of which my mother had sewn all sorts of purple plastic novelty buttons. I loved it to death, and I remember wearing it, staring down at it, and picking which buttons were my favorite. The button that always won was a big stopwatch with a purple rim.

I don't remember when or why the button sweater went away, but I always remembered it, and I had been thinking more and more about making an updated, adult version of the button sweater. And then this challenge was posted. A message from the crafty powers that be, I felt.  Grin

And now, to stop teasing you, I present:

The Return of the Button Sweater!

(Yes, I know, it's not really technically a sweater, it's kind of a poncho/capelet thing, but the original wasn't a sweater either. I just like the way it sounds better.)

The process of creating the sweater-that's-not-a-sweater was interesting. It's led me to develop a new philosophy: There is no such thing as mistakes - only Unexpected Design Elements.
I started out by using this poncho pattern: http://www.modadea.com/patterns/LM0117.htm And changing the size. And deciding that the ribbing should be at the top and not the bottom (forgetting that stockinette likes to roll...UDE#1). And deciding that I want it to be 9 inches instead of 18. I... don't play well with patterns. Roll Eyes

I also discovered, as this was my first time knitting in the round, that if your cast-on row is twisted, when you join it, your piece will be - surprise! Twisted! UDE#2. By the time I realized it was never going to be able to untwist, I had knit 3 inches. Another thing I'm not good at? Frogging and starting over. "Fine," I thought, "I'll work with it."

And off I went to find my buttons. Another gift from the crafty powers that be there. The thrift store and the fabric store are next door to each other, so I decided, might as well stop in there first and see if they've got buttons. They never have before, but who knows? Sure enough, they had FOUR BAGS. Four sandwich bags full of buttons, $1.99 each, two of which had some nice looking purple buttons. No novelty buttons, though, so I knew I still needed to go to the fabric store. I walked in, and at the counter I noticed a little basket: clearance buttons. Never seen a basket of clearance buttons there before! Most of them were - you guessed it - novelty buttons, which had either been discontinued, or had lost one or more of their mates. Perfect! So I scooped up a bunch of those, and a handful of full-price buttons that were just too good to pass up, and paid probably about $10 for the whole lot! (SCORE!)

And then:

Knitting complete!

And before I started adding the buttons, I decided to do some cleaning in my room. Now, this is the same room I've had since age 3. And it shows - I'm a packrat. I keep a lot of stuff for no discernible reason. But I didn't remember until I found it that I had kept...

The stopwatch.
This, of course, was the final proof. The crafty powers that be wanted this sweater to happen. And the stopwatch was destined to once again have it's place of honor next to my heart.

I worked out how to deal with the UDEs. The twist was place in the center of my back, and given a few stitches to hold it there, and a button to make it fit in with the front.

I learned via YouTube how to pick up stitches, picked up all the stitches along the front at the cast-on row, and added an inch of ribbing - then added some purple blanket-stitched ribbon to keep it from looking bare. I'm really proud of how it came out - and it's comfy!

Here are some up-close button shots:

The right-most group of buttons. A star, one that's spotted with what looks a bit like silver leaf, a purple plaid lady bug (!), a crystal-like one, an oil-spill-rainbow heart, and two "plain" buttons.

The middle group. A trio of purple hippos, who would have been my favorites, had I not found the stopwatch. (I've got a thing for purple hippos.) Two purple stars covered with gold stars, two clear buttons with light purple flowers and green leaves, a pinkish-purple tiny shiny one, another purple plaid ladybug, an oil-spill-rainbow fish, a purple-and-silver sun, a big pale purple button, and other crystal-like one.

And finally, the left-hand buttons. The famed stopwatch, another spotty one, another sun, and another oil-spill heart,and three "plain" buttons. The one on the bottom is really cool up-close. It looks like purple storm clouds inside the button.

Thanks so much for looking! I'd love to hear your feedback!

(If these pictures are too big, lemme know and I'll resize 'em!)

"I do believe in the power of stuff..." - Sokka

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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009 12:17:53 PM »

Absolutely magical.
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009 12:47:55 PM »

Great story, and clearly mean to be made! Excellent remake. Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009 01:19:19 PM »

Love this! Someone was talking to you, so congrats on the make...it's awesome!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009 02:53:03 PM »

I love this project. I always had a thing for my mom's novelty buttons. In fact, we HAVE several of those purple stopwatch buttons (what are the odds?!). They were my favorite too. We've got about 3 left from lord knows when.
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2009 03:14:53 PM »

very pretty! i love the purple hippo buttons!! Shocked

« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2009 08:20:58 PM »

Completely meant to be... congrats!


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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2009 04:06:02 PM »

This is my favorite, ever! Especially since you found the Stopwatch Button. it makes it that much more perfect!
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2009 07:53:55 PM »

i love the way you worked the twist into it.  well done!

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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2009 05:14:46 PM »

Super cute! When I read the beginning I didn't think a grown-up version of a button sweater was possible, but you did it and it looks very cool and funky, yet classy.  And I love the story of the stopwatch button! Clearly this was crafting fate.  Great work! Grin
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