Wednesday, April 01, 2020

How to Make a Bottle Top Button

This tutorial shows how to make the Bottle Top Button from my "20 to Stitch: Fabric Buttons" book, published last year by Search Press.

In a nutshell, the button uses a plastic bottle top - so you can use top from milk bottle, tonic or plain water bottles and even little cosmetic bottles (the tiny little bottles of conditioner in a box hair dye make cure buttons!).

You can also make a pincushion using the same method - just make a bigger circle in the second part and fill more firmly to make a nice big ball. 

The point of the button was that I was once told that most recycling places don't actually recycle the plastic tops. So, they should always be taken off of the bottle as they are a different plastic, otherwise the whole recycling batch can be rejected.

I know at the moment many, many people are self isolating, and in many areas of the UK recycling services have been stopped as it isn't really safe for the staff to be so close to each other. 

I hope to work on quite a few more tutorials and projects while we are working from home (once the book keeping has been sorted!), so watch this space.

Take care everyone, stay home if you are able, and heed advice. And if you are a key worked, thank you.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The week ahead - our Hochanda shows

Little Loom Kit from Gina-B Silkworks
Our new Little Loom Kit - launching next week. That's a normal sized cup of tea!

I hope that you are all keeping well and following whatever the current advice is in your relevant countries. I know that some of you are in a virtual lock-down, and others are self-isolating. And for the rest of us, a lot of hand washing is happening.

We will be at the Hochanda studios on Wednesday for two shows. Rest assured that we and Hochanda will be taking all measures necessary during the shows. Being live TV, there is of course, the very real possibility that they will be cancelled, should anyone contract the virus. Hopefully that won't happen and we will be able to continue with our work.

At 8am the subject will be weaving, and we are launching our Little Loom Kit - a smaller, MDF version of our Build Your Own Tape Loom Kit. We are really excited about this, it is smaller, and being cut from MDF, allows us to provide a much less expensive option for those of you who have always wanted to try narrow weaving but don't want the expense. You'll need to add your own glue, and thread, and of course being MDF won't have all of the finishing options the larger, beech option has, but it does have full instructions so that you can get started. And if you are stuck - this video on YouTube is relevant to both looms.

The second show is at noon and the subject is buttons. And three new kits - Our Big Button Brooch Kits. For the launch we will have a Star, Zwirnknopfe and Trapunto. Each kit has button moulds, threads, backing felt, needles and instructions. The Trapunto kit makes two (and has some extra fabrics), while the other two each makes 3.

Star Big Button Brooch Kit from Gina-B Silkworks
Star Big Button Brooch Kit
The Star kit is a nice wrapping technique, and probably the best if you are starting your journey in button making

Zwirnknopfe Big Button Brooch Kit from Gina-B SIlkworks
Zwirnknopfe Big Button Brooch Kit

The Zwirnknopfe has a ring - this larger size is, I think, a bit easier than working with the little rings. I'd probably place this second.

Trapunto Big Button Brooch Kit from Gina-B SIlkworks
Trapunto Big Button Brooch Kit

The Trapunto brooch uses a variation on the shadow trapunto technique - so simple embroidery. I really wanted this to resemble lovely paper parchment work, such as those pieces created by the Clarity Groovi team. I adore what they create.

These will all be on our website too on Wednesday. I hope you'll be able to tune in.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

The travelling buttons

A selection of silk thread passementerie buttons by Gina Barrett

Last weekend saw me rushing to get the above buttons sent over to Paris for the Au Ver a Soie exhibition by courier in the week. In the end, it was too painful for me to actually make any new buttons. It was not worth risking longer term damage. I had some in my samples made with their silk, and decided after much deliberation, to send others that made up part of my One Button a Day challenge in 2016

This was a big thing for me. I've cut them from their tags to mount them here, and there is always the very real possibility that they will go missing - either on the way out, or the way back to me. 

They've arrived safely in Paris, so stage one complete. 

Except the exhibition has now been cancelled until June, as the French government has banned gathering of over 200 people until then. 

So, I will get to stress for half the year. And, I could possibly have made new, different ones in a month or so, and would not have needed to take from the set. 

If anyone is interested, the mount for these was printed from our Button Backing Cards & Mounts CD - I printed it onto printable fabric, left the backing paper in place to stitch through. I think that by printing on the fabric the background better suits the fine silk of the buttons.

And so on to other news....

I have managed to complete the first slideshow of this year's buttons and have popped it over onto YouTube. I hope to have the second one completed this weekend. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Two birds with one button

Lots of pretty silks from Au Ver a Soie

On Friday I was been asked to contribute some buttons to an exhibition in Paris which I am totally thrilled about.
Au Ver a Soi silks is celebrating their 200th anniversary and will be exhibiting items from around the world that use their silks. I'm really honoured that I have been asked - but the deadline is really short.

And of course I can't use my thumb for long.

I know this is going to prolong the injury, as I'll be working more than One Button a Day - but I am determined to get a nice selection over to France.

Working with silk is different from working with cotton. It is slippery, and some modern designs don't work so well. Of course, the original passementerie buttons were usually made of silk, but I'd rather not simply go with the traditional for this exhibition, that would be too easy really. I'd like to add a few that are unique.

I've pretty much planned what I will do, and how they will be presented, and as I am currently also working on two books, have set everything up to take step by step pictures of the ones that are relevant. In theory, that will save some time in a few months. The set up is also all ready for videos, so I spent a long time playing with different settings and not actually buttoning... 

Wish me luck!

My set up - lights, overhead holder for camera, more lights...