Button Octopus

As with many crafting/sewing projects, it all started with buttons in a small crowded yarn store in the middle of suburbia. While my mother was shopping for lovely lovely yarn and my sister was sitting on the “husband chair” being bored, I found a small basket near the cash filled with fabulous purple buttons. I knew, there and then, that something needed to happen with them and soon.

A bit of digging found me two sizes and three different colours of buttons. I knew I wanted to do an octopus the moment I saw them together, shiny and straight little lines. I thought of octopus patterns I had seen over the last year of stitching, and although there are some beauties (such as Cephalopedia on Corvus Tristis , most of which are on my stitch this someday list) none of them fit my purposes.

I ran over to my sister and woke her from her yarny slumber. “I need you to draw me an octopus. Or maybe just a tentacle. For these.” I brandished the buttons victoriously, and after a second of thinking, I saw her eyes light up with comprehension. We started discussing shape and orientation, since I really wanted to feature as many buttons as possible and cutting one in half to make up for a twisting tentacle was not an option. After a few days, she handed me a sketch and I may have squealed.

I took the sketch to my husband who cleaned it up in Inkspace and, after measuring the buttons, added the suckers in as dots. Although I ended up placing the buttons by eye after the embroidery was finished, it was nice to have a guide to go by. His pattern and the sketch are available below if you click through the image. This is free to use for personal use, please do not sell anything you make from it.

Since I really wanted the buttons to be the focus, I did all the stitching in split stitch and used it to make a texture for the buttons to pop from. I only used three colours, and followed the pattern pretty simply. A few unexpected things happened while I was stitching; luckily it all turned out for the best. First, despite my best efforts, my pale stitches on the inside of the tentacle ended up being super tight together at the top of the shape but spaced out at the bottom.

While I was a bit bummed out at first, the spacing really gives it an interesting perspective, as if the bottom of the tentacle is much closer than the top. It also means that the more spaced out buttons at the bottom do not look completely silly, as if that whole bottom half of the tentacle was supposed to have more breathing room. I also realised that the point of my tentacle wasn’t going to be quite as sharp as as I wanted it to be. In the end, it almost looks like the tentacle is curving in behind itself in an even tighter twist, and I love it.

Last week I mused on the button showcase project being done with more of a plan, button-wise. This one could be fun without a plan too. You could use pretty pale buttons or pick buttons randomly after you’ve done your stitching. If you stitch this up, I would love to see the results! Please let me know!

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7 thoughts on “Button Octopus

  1. You never mentioned that this was an original design! Personally I think it’s one of your best work (along with the blinded red fox). I prefer the look of the matching pale buttons, I think a mixture of buttons would look better on a more steampunky design (if that makes any sense to you). But I suppose I only think that because everytime I see that crossstich I’m reminded of Sense and Sensilbility and Seamonsters (I don’t know why).

    Fantastic work and site!

    Like

  2. I love it! What a gift to envision something from a handful of buttons.

    Yay for sisters too. You are so lucky yours is close. I don’t get to collaborate very often with mine 😦

    Like

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