Oops! My email link for the Family Affair quilt post accidently may have sent you here. To read that post go to: https://www.chrisquilts.net/18144/. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you’re looking for my post about Buttons, you’re in the right place 😊.
Quite a while ago Lorraine responded to my post about my thimble collection (click here for that post) with a collection of her own and I just realized I never shared it with you. This is what she sent to me:
“Your thimbles are beautiful and I loved the historical information you included in your post. Although I do not have a thimble collection I do have another sewing related collection: BUTTONS! I have been collecting buttons for over 50 years. As you will notice in the pictures, if you have a button collection you must also begin collecting jars! These jars are scattered throughout our house, mostly in the guest room and my quilt studio. I have more jars but I thought this would give you an idea of the size of my collection.
I have over 120,000 buttons. How do I know this? I am a retired elementary teacher and in order to help my 2nd and 3rd grade students understand the concept of a BIG number I would haul several of these jars to school every year and have my math students count them. After it took 25 kids, five 45-minute periods to count about 100,000 buttons they understood that was a LOT of buttons. But imagine a million buttons! They would have to count 10 times as many jars!
My love of buttons began when I was a kid and my mom let me play with her coffee can of buttons cut off of clothes before cutting up the fabric to make rag rugs or scrap quilts. When I learned to sew in high school I would rummage through the can and select buttons to sew onto my newly made clothes. After I left home to attend college I realized I had to start my own collection. That was back when you could buy a shoebox full of buttons for $1.00. Now you are lucky to buy a small baby food jar for under $4.00. Recently I only add to my collection when someone is downsizing or emptying the home of a loved one and they bring me the buttons they find stashed away in a closet somewhere.
I enjoy going through my newly acquired buttons and have been amazed at the variety of materials used to produce them: horn, bone, walnut shells, coconut shells, rubber, fabric, seashells, glass, celluloid, cork, a variety of metals, vegetable ivory, wood, leather, china and, of course, plastic. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and some are truly tiny masterpieces.
PS. Sorry I rambled on but once I start talking about buttons (or quilting) I just can’t stop.“
I love the PS ~ and I get it! The following photo is of Lorraine’s largest and smallest buttons 😁:
What a fascinating collection and story. I’m so grateful to Lorraine for sharing it!
I too have a button collection, although I never planned on collecting them. It seems whenever a family member or friend downsizes or passes away ~ I get her buttons.
The ones from my grandmother are in the lovely antique covered dish she kept them in.
Years ago my mom and I were going through the things my dad kept after retiring from his dental practice. One of the items was a wooden case with drawers for keeping sample teeth for dentures. I could sort my buttons by color and give each group it’s own drawer. This has worked well for me for years.
I also had a bunch of buttons still on their original cards/packaging and those have found their way into a small wooden box.
and here are a few of my favorites:
As I was going through my collection I thought about a quilt I made with buttons for my second book, Snuggle and Learn Quilts for Kids. It’s called Counting on Buttons and it gave me the opportunity to sew some really cute buttons onto a quilt (they’re attached well – with strong beading thread!)
When I designed this quilt I decided that my grandkids would learn cursive 😊.
I don’t have as many buttons as Loraine, but I do love them!
Do you have a special way to store your buttons? Do you have a favorite you’d like to share?