Craft · Dorset Buttons

First attempt at Dorset Buttons

When I started knitting and crocheting I was fascinated by the link to history the craft provided. So many women and men through the centuries sat down and enjoyed (or tolerated!) the same craft that I had discovered. Some of their work is even around today.

If you’re careful, you can even follow the patterns from decades ago, or even more in the case of my talented friend Lisa.

The more I look, the more there is to see. A while ago I heard about Dorset buttons and was instantly intrigued. Though I live in Ontario now, I was born in Dorset and spent a large chunk of my life gazing at those rolling hills. I visited my hometown for a week this month (pictures coming later) and until then I had forgotten how it felt to be surrounded by and steeped in history, so it was appropriate that my friend Maureen gave me the instructions on how to make my own Dorset buttons.

Want to learn how to make Dorset buttons? Here’s the tutorial I used.

Dorset buttons were a huge part of the Dorset cottage industry during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Imagine all those men, women, and even children hunched around making intricate and beautiful buttons. One quarter of my ancestors were very old Dorset folk; my legal name is even tied to the general area. I can easily imagine my own distant relatives making these.

Of course I had to try it.

It’s easy, though not as quick as it looks. You need plastic bone rings, a yarn needle, and some yarn or tapestry thread. I used some fingering weight yarn when I sat down to try it out when recovering from a migraine (possibly not the best idea I’ve ever had). It took me about forty minutes total, and I was going slowly. My hand cramped afterward so I wouldn’t be able to do a lot in a row, but there’s no way I’m not making more.

Knitter Nerd: Dorset Button


Though it’s wonky and one of the spokes is doing its own thing, I’ll be making a lot more of these.


6 thoughts on “First attempt at Dorset Buttons

  1. *blushes* thanks for the shout out! Great read, and I hope to see one of the completed Dorset buttons in person! They look lovely!


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