Who's got the button?


Vivian is VERY nearly done, and I'll be emailing the Ethel test knitters later today. I feel quite happily surprised by how well my sweater-and-sizing plan has worked, actually, and I can't wait to share the results. But I just realized that, in all the commotion, I forgot to share the most thrillingly fiber-y part of my trip to Australia. Namely: buttons.


There's a fantastic button shop in the touristy Rocks neighborhood of Sydney, and David and I spent a blissful hour or so there after breakfast one morning, winnowing down their impressive selection into just the buttons I knew I had to have. The little beauties above were the second ones I settled on; I think they would be lovely as accent details on an Art Deco-influenced garment. I only got four of them, because as much as I love them I think a full sweater's quantity would be overkill. A few rhinestones can be perfect, but too many are bad news.

These little beauties are the first ones I knew I MUST get, and in a quantity sufficient to go all the way up the front of a cardigan:


Aren't they beautiful? They're Czech glass, and came wrapped individually in little paper wrappers, like tiny lozenges from an old-fashioned sweetshop. I think they're so romantic. I have some grey cashmere yarn coming in March that may be the perfect match for them, but I'll wait and see. I definitely want to find the right home for such treasures.

I got the little dudes below because I thought they were cute, but also because they're slightly outside my normal range of styles, and I thought it would be good to push myself into a less serious, more modern vibe for a garment or two.


There are enough of these for a sweater front as well, although I don't have a specific idea what that might look like yet.

And then there were these:


These are very special buttons indeed. Made in Austria circa 1910, they are tiny - around the size of my pinky nail when I've just clipped it. They're color-stained metal, and I think they're some of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen. Unfortunately, they were also expensive enough that I originally bought just three, thinking I could use them as an accent detail on a very special garment. When we got back to our hotel room, it occurred to me that they would look beautiful on an angled neckline along the lines of this:


(What is this type of neckline called? I couldn't find any images of it online, but I adore it.) Obviously, though, I would need a minimum of four buttons to pull this off. So, back we went to the button store a few days later, but we couldn't find the matching ones anywhere. Tremulously, I approached the shopkeep, and she looked everywhere for my quarry. Finally, as a last-ditch attempt, she peeked into a catch-all box of odds and ends...and there was the button tube. There were only three buttons left in it, and David was so impressed with having located them at last, that he bought me the last two in addition to the one I had wanted. How sweet is he?

So now I have six of these beauties. I'm not sure exactly how I'll use them, but they scream for a place of honor, near my face or some other attention-grabbing locale.

I realized throughout our Australian button adventures how suggestive tiny details can be, how a single button can spur my imagination and cause me to imagine an entire garment around it - in a similar way, I suppose, that a garment can inspire me to imagine an entire character or personality. Evocative details: a motivational phrase for 2009, perhaps?


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