Switching to the abbreviated cowls/collars I found I needed lighter weight large “buttons”. These are hard to find or often expensive enough that in production the added cost would affect pricing significantly. As an avid collector of craft and multi-media supplies, I have a significant stash of polymer clay dating back from months to decades. In an ah ah! the moment I made prototypes for what I thought might solve the button weight and supply problem. After the fact, I began to do searches on the care of polymer clay buttons and methods used in making them, which in turn led to a big oops! moment.
I recommend dry cleaning for most of my items unless they are felted ones, in which case hand washing or even a gentle washing machine cycle in cold water works just fine. Polymer clay it turns out does not like dry cleaning chemicals. If used on items cleaned that way it is recommended that the button be covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil prior to exposure to cleaning agents. Hot water washes and driers also damage the clay, cool water hand /machine gentle washing appears to not be a problem.
Here are some online sources on these related topics: for a wealth of information on polymer buttons. Ready-made molds and ideas may be found here. Button shanks are available if that method of securing the buttons is desired.
The option I am choosing to pursue is making the button removable when the item is cleaned, which led to a search for button covers. Local chains that carry sewing notions had not even heard of them. A local mom-and-pop craft store, however, had an endless supply in their “backroom” dating back to when they were “in vogue”. Have to love elderly owners that are the shop version of inventory software and can just “go to” things that have not been out on the selling floor in years.
For anyone not familiar with them, here is an image of the item, available in a few sizes depending on the source.
The plan of the moment is to affix the baked clay to the flat metal surface with glue such as E6000 and further test the idea. Having the removable cover also means clay could be painted and finishes could be varied in ways that would not be possible if the item was to undergo dry cleaning. My sample first efforts which I will torture/test are below. If not buttons perhaps all that clay may mutate to use in shawl pins.
My first “fiesta” ornament with some mood lighting (frame is actually bright embossed aluminum), 4.25-inch square
In between trying to come up with new knit production items barbed needles can be a form of both entertainment and procrastination.
Layers of knit copper and brass wire petals, assorted beads, leaves, form another no wilt corsage suspended on a 20 inch knit copper tube “chain”. The closure is magnetic. The flower and leaves measure 5.5 inches at their widest axis.
I recall as a textile student doing research cross-cultural references in fibers, the image of a horse blanket literally covered with gris-gris obtained by its owner from the local shamans in the course of his travels to insure protection on his life journeys. Over time gris-gris have been dolls or images of the gods, small cloth bags containing herbs, oils, stones, small bones, hair and nails, bits of written spells, pieces of cloth soaked with perspiration, and/or other personal items gathered under the directions of a god for the protection of the owner. In Voodoo, gris-gris are charms or talismans which are kept for good luck or to ward off evil. Here is my personal interpretation. This amulet bag measures 10 inches long, approximately 5 inches wide, the cord 28 inches long.
A new/different direction from other neckpieces, my first with a “story” open to interpretation; it is composed of coiled, knit, crocheted, and stitched telephone and magnet copper wire, assorted beads, a couple of acupuncture needle covers, the cut/ partially frayed “heart” of an unfinished spirit doll, and a screw closure. It is also considerably more of a “burden” than the featherweight magnet wire cousins, weighs in at 3.5 oz./88 gms.
In anticipation of the fiber invitational in Lowell and the annual Art to Wear show at Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative, the copper wire is resurfacing in new neck pieces. Some of the presently completed work may be seen below. Materials often come with their own stories. I purchased my nearly invisible wires from an elderly gentleman at a RI yard sale years ago for only a few dollars. He in turn had worked using them on TV and radio tubes in the “old days”. The 32 gauge version was obtained with the assistance of a brother-in-law-electrician. A beaded piece is “in the works”, and then there is all that colored telephone wire and a shoebox full of acupuncture needle cases periodically calling out to me… I tend to work freeform, without sketching, piecing elements and working out designs and problems as I go. There are elements of surprise for me as well in each piece I create.
The beginning of a new/different direction
ladder lace and short rowed ruffles, modified commercial toggle closure
The finished collar tuck lace and ruffle collar; 4 strands of nearly invisible wire used throughout
It’s amazing how far tiny bits of fiber go, image is nearly 3 inches at the widest point
Completed in stages, this no wilt corsage is composed of layers of knit magnet wire; garnets adorn its center, and it measures 4 inches at its widest point
While procrastinating returning to production knitting for the spring season I found myself inspired by Judy Perez’s Fiesta ornaments and have made my first attempts at metal embossing, adding them as elements in my postcard sized fabric collages, which in turn combine knits, needle felting, needlework techniques, and objects from a stash of accumulated “stuff’. Here are 2 of the results: