I get lots of folks asking where the buttons in some of my patterns come from (Treacherous Winds and Perfectly Finished in Every Point have been the cause of most of the recent ones). The real answer is ‘the basket in my closet,’ but I understand that this isn’t super helpful (please don’t come dig through my closet, it’s a mess). It really is true though, the secret is just keeping that basket well stocked. And the way I do that is pretty much etsy. These are my latest find.And the way you find the ones like that (tiny, lovely sturdy metal shank) is to put the phrase ‘shoe button’ or ‘boot button’ into etsy’s search box (ebay has some too). You’ll get a fair amount of other stuff, but you’ll very likely find something similar to these. Black and brown are pretty easy to find, and white and gray turn up from time to time too, and every now and then olive green or dark blue or even red. I’ll admit these are the only purple ones I’ve ever seen (and they’re mine all mine). But if I found these there are very likely more out there.
As you can see, I’m a fan of buying the big lots of buttons. Whenever you’re dealing with something old, you’ll likely have a few that are chipped or scratched, and if you’re dealing with a natural material you may need more than you think to get a set that match well enough for you to be happy with them. Plus there’s something oddly inspiring about knowing you have piles and piles and can experiment at will.
And while you’re looking, you might want to put ‘mother of pearl shank button’ in there as well. You can find a few treasures that way too. I’m absolutely convinced shank buttons make the best buttons for knitting. Knitted fabric is often rather thicker than woven fabric, and the shank gives it a bit of lift and keeps it from squashing the top layer when it’s buttoned.
Ok, so now you know my secrets. Go find buttons that make you happy. Just don’t blame me if you find you end up with more than you might have expected. As long as your button stash is smaller than your yarn stash, you’re doing fine!