I've had a long and successful past with the Etsy shop Wooly Moss Roots. Jeff Wilson, the button maker, and Taryn Wilson, his accomplice, make the most beautifully finished wooden buttons I have ever seen. They reside in Mapleton, Oregon, USA. I originally discovered their shop through the Soulemama blog many years ago. Since stitching the first set of Wooly Moss Roots buttons onto my own handknit sweaters I rarely use any other buttons. The quality and craftsmanship is unparalleled.
So when I started pulling the Gigi Cardigan Kit together I knew exactly where to turn for custom wooden buttons to include in the kits. I contacted Taryn and described what we were looking for to go with the Gigi Cardigan Kits. And the process was started and I am thrilled with the results. We decided on Black Walnut buttons that measure about 1 1/4-inches each and will compliment any colorway of yarn. Since these buttons are truly handmade they are not identical and this adds to their unique beauty.
The craftsmanship that goes into the making of the Wooly Moss Roots buttons is impressive, to say the least. I asked Jeff Wilson if I could share a message he wrote to me about his process and he agreed. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
"Hi Susan, this is Jeff, the Button Maker.
It's kind of a long process that I'd like to tell you about so you know exactly what you are getting.
Each of these buttons takes about a half an hour to make, and I've gotten pretty fast.
First, we find the best woods, then I slice them to a thickness on a band saw, then each one is drawn on the wood slab and the holes marked. Then they are cut out, the holes drilled and then I round them on a Circular sander.
Next, I sand them on 3 or 4 grits (depending on how new my sandpaper is. ) I generally start with 80 to shape it, then 220, (which is where most button makers quit), then I do 600, then 1200. This is super fine. It takes quite some time because of the rounded edges. With most flat buttons you just sand 2 sides, with square buttons you sand 6...but with the rounded edge buttons it's like 70 sides, it takes at least 10 times as long, (probably a lot more than that) than just a flat button. I do the sanding under water, this allows me to use the fine grits without burning the wood. People ask me how I can work under water so long, but it's actually just the wood that's under water, hehe...I have an 8-inch lapidary sander. So once I've sanded them down to the finest grit they have to dry for at least a couple of days, then I hand rub a shellac/walnut oil/carnauba wax into them, let it dry, buff it with steel wool and apply another coat. That dries a couple of days then I buff it on 2 different wheels, ending with a polishing compound made for polishing eyeglass lenses.
Then Taryn ties each one on a card (she loves doing that)....and they are on their way to their destiny in someone's creation.
These buttons are handmade start to finish, a lot of energy goes into each and I feel...... honored to have them going out to all these folks who will be putting them on beautiful creations, that they have put a lot of energy into.
China has made machines that can make 210 buttons in a minute.... and they are perfect and cheap.... and each identical. And there are a lot of flat buttons, sanded only slightly that are pretty cheap out there. Mine are not perfect, or cheap, or identical, or flat.... but they each contain the love and energy that goes into making them. And I thank you for doing business with our family.
This couple, Jeff and Taryn, are some of the sweetest people around and it is clear that they love what they are doing. They are sincere, hard working, and humble and I am proud to be working with artisans like them. Wooly Moss Roots buttons are kind of magical. There is something indescribable about these buttons and I can't wait for you to try them. You will see what I mean.
Part of Barrett Wool Co. is that I want to introduce you to makers that I love and respect, some are newer to me and some I have known for a long time. Wooly Moss Roots is a great place to start.
I am planning on many more projects with Wooly Moss Roots and I hope you will join me in celebrating these wonderful local makers.
Click here to see the Gigi Cardigan Kits and the beautiful custom Black Walnut buttons!
Thanks for reading and enjoy these fantastic artisan buttons. I'll be back soon with more.
I'll be back soon with more.