Also known as Dorset buttons, these combinations of thread and rings take very little time to make, can be varied and embellished to your heart's content and will ensure that you always have the right button colour for your knitted items. The following steps will show you how to do it.
Cover the ring in a series of blanket stitches, trapping the beginning tail of your yarn in the stitches as you come around the second half of the ring. Periodically scoot the stitches close together to make sure the entire ring is covered with no gaps.
Turn all of the stitches so that the spine that was on the outside of the ring is now facing towards the centre. This gives your finished buttons a nice, smooth edge all the way around.
Wrap your yarn around the ring, creating intersecting spokes on each side of the wrapped ring. The front side of the button should all intersect in the middle, while the backside's "centre" will be off to one edge. Four wraps will make eight spokes and should be your minimum, unless you're working with small rings and fat yarn, then you can get away with only three wraps (six spokes). Depending on the size of your ring and thread, you can add as many spokes as you want; just space them evenly.
Make two stitches across the centre of the spokes, binding them together and centering the spokes on the back as best you can. It may take a couple of tries to get them centred, but it's better to get it as close as possible now, than after you've started weaving through the spokes.
Work your way around the spokes counterclockwise, by coming up on the left side of the spoke, going over and down the right side and pulling tightly. Repeat this stitch on the next spoke to the left and continue around until the centre of the button is full.
Draw the remaining thread through the back of the button to come out in the centre to secure the last stitch. Leave a tail of 7.5 cm to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) to use for attaching the button to its intended project.
Stop weaving midway between the centre and the ring for a delicate, lacey look.
Create a basket weave effect by weaving over two spokes at a time and moving two spokes to the left for each stitch. For each subsequent row you will need to move one more stitch to the left as you start another round or stitch 2 by 2 continually over an odd number of spokes. This makes an extra-thick button that will stand up to lots of tugging.
Weave over two spokes at a time, but only move one spoke to the left (overlapping the "middle" spoke) to create a spiral pattern, another sturdy button option.
Change direction after a few rows to create an alternating spine and spiral effect within the button's centre. On smaller buttons it creates a rosette effect, while on larger buttons it will add a raised stripe of texture.
Larger rings or smaller threads will take more yarn than the 3 yards called for, but you can always add more yarn (in the same or a different color) if you run out while weaving. Leave the spine of the blanket stitches on the outside if you want to use this area to stitch on beads or other embellishments for a brooch or decoration. The back of the button can be used as the front if you like that look better.