I designed this neckwarmer last year for my friend’s birthday. Within 48 hours, I had spun and knitted it. I could not find a decent set of buttons in my stash, so I figured out how to make a set of buttons out of Champagne cork stoppers. By the way, after a year of wear, the buttons never failed, so unless you pull on them deliberately, they’re solid and there to stay. For your pleasure, here is how to do it and how it all happened.
Big chunky snowflakes were slowly falling as I was trying my hands at a new hobby : spinning. I was turning mountains of big fluffy Corriedale top into soft, chunky yarn with the humble help of a drop spindle. I was plying it using my own two hands with the Andean ply technique. It was low-tech. It was awesome.
I soon had a big ball of bulky, bumpy, slubby, thick-and-thin yarn. The natural wool color was asking for another natural companion : wood. A couple of cork stoppers turned themselves into buttons, the yarn was tamed with a simple stockinette stitch and in an evening I had a new cozy neckwarmer for my friend’s birthday.
This is a great neophyte spinner project that showcases your very own bumpy handspun yarn. This neckwarmer keeps you warm while the upcycled cork buttons make both an environmental and a fashion statement. It also makes a quick and sophisticated gift : after all, you had to drink four bottles of Champagne to make it!
Width: approx. 7.5 inches Length: approx. 19 inches
- 1 set(s) US #11/8mm straight needles
- Fiber: Louet [100% corriedale wool; top]; color: natural white; 3.5 ounces.
Spin it using a drop spindle and the Andean ply technique.
Or use a commercial alternative yarn, like : Cascade Jewel [100% Peruvian wool; 142yd/130m per 100g skein]; color: 8010; 1 skein
The idea is to have a yarn with 7 wraps/inches that knits with a gauge of 9 sts/12 rows for a 4’’ square.
For making the buttons
- 4 champagne (or sparkling wine) cork stoppers
- 4 two-holes buttons
- 2 two inches long safety pins
- wire cutters
- a sharp knife
CO 20 stitches.
Rows 1,3,5 : *K2, p2 * to the last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 2,4 : *P2, k2* to the last 2 sts, p2.
Row 6 (WS) : K3, p14, k3
Row 7 (RS) : K all sts.
Repeat rows 6 and 7 until work measures 16.5 inches. Finish on WS.
Next row (RS) : *K2, p2 * to the last 2 sts, k2.
Next row (WS): *P2, k2* to the last 2 sts, p2.
Button holes row 1: *k2, p, bo1 * 4 time, k2
Button holes row 2 : *P2, co1, k1* 4 times, p2.
Next row : *K2, p2 * to the last 2 sts, k2.
BO all sts in pattern.
Weave in loose ends. Block to size.
To make the buttons :
Step 1 : Using a sharp knife, cut the champagne cork stoppers in order to have four 0.5 inches thick slices.
Step 2 : Cut the two safety pins with the wire cutters in order to have four straight pieces of metal.
Step 3 : Bend each piece in two.
Step 4 : Insert a bent piece of metal into a 2-holes button.
Step 5 : On the wrong side of the work, place the button. The metal should be poking out on the right side.
Step 6 : Center a cork slice on the metal pokes and press firmly. Tip : It’s better if the metal pokes are not parallel. In other words, they must flare a little. That way, once it’s inserted into the cork, it will not come out easily.
Repeat steps 4-6 to secure the remaining buttons.