Friday, December 19, 2008

Buttons : Button Strings

(from The House In The Woods Inc., Eagle, Wisconsin)

This week's button story is about a very special and lovely American traditional women's folklore; the button string !

(from Off The Wall, Austin, Texas)

In Victorian times, young women in the USA collected buttons and arranged them in lengths known as "button strings", "charm strings", "friendship strings" or "memory strings". The string begins with a large button, called a "touch button", and grew as friends and relatives donated buttons. Being given a button was considered good luck, as was stringing it.
Often button strings helped memorialize important life events, such as weddings, births, holidays, and awards. Glass buttons were the most popular. The strings were often stored carefully wrapped in tissue paper in a beautiful box. For many, the goal was to string 999 buttons because the 1000th button would be brought to her by her true love. Most button strings that survived, however, do not contain 1000 buttons ........
The stringing tradition went out of fashion around 1900.

(from deep fried kudzu, seen in State Archives in Montgomery)

I also found a very beautiful modern version of a button string in the blog of madelinetosh:

Based on:
Keep Homestead Museum; Button Archive
Victorian Charm Strings by Diana Epstein and Millicent Safro
Charming Charm Strings by Scribbit
The Button Lover's Book (Creative Machine Arts Series) by Marilyn V. Green


l'actrice said...

Great story about the button strings. Was actually new to me! But seems to be such a cool idea! I collect buttons and many of them are actually stringed together, in short strings only! I love buttons! Sometimes I just take my boxes full of vintage buttons and lay them in front of me!


Sigmosaics said...

I had never heard of this either. I think it's a wonderful tradition and thanks so much for sharing this :))

Happy holidays to you!

dindi said...

Such a great story...never heard of this wonderful tradition. Thanks for sharing!

Star of the East said...

Great story, I had no idea!

ingermaaike said...

Ohhh makes me want to make a button string!

andee said...

What a beautiful tradition - I've never heard about it before.

dulceamapola said...

Grat story,beautiful and romantic tradition.

Veri said...

a very interesting story and it looks so nice. Perhaps I will try it - but not with 999 buttons :-)
A happy new year

muffincake said...

I bought a necklace just like this from etsy, check it out:

Its so adorable, going to steal a button from my boyfriend tonight and sew it on to finish the set ;)

Channelle said...

What a great story, i am running a competition on my group on ravelry to win 1,000 buttons.. One of my group members found this story and shared it with me.. I hope its okay that i have shared it with my group and also linked to your blog?
Channelle xx