Mystery House

Designing Backwards

It’s not unusual for me to get dressed in a manner that many people would consider backwards.  Instead of planning an outfit based on a jacket or pair of pants and then adding accessories, I turn the process on its head.  I start with my desire to wear a particular bracelet or boots or scarf, and choose clothing based on what works well with that piece.  My approach to design often begins the same way.  Some small object inspires me, and I build from that point.

A knitterly lunch yesterday with Amy (who’s working on a beautiful pair of Opal socks and the famous Fetching fingerless gloves) took place dangerously close to several yarn shops.  What could I do?  After lunch, I stopped into Creative Fibers to pick up some needles.  I found my needles and felt quite virtuous for not buying any yarn…but look at this:

That surprisingly difficult to photograph (yes, this is the least blurry photo–I gave up) object is a wooden button, about two inches across, handmade by a talented artisan named Uncle Leonard.

It reminded me of patterns in rocks.  I’m a big fan of rocks, and the button must have sensed that.  It called to me in its little wooden button voice, “Take me home!  I’ll be perfect for a shawl!”  What choice did I have?  I know better than to disobey a handmade button.

The button is sitting in a vintage pottery dish on my desk now, providing me with ideas.  A shawl is brewing, one that conjures up the colors of the Southwest and the patterning in rocks, and I have Uncle Leonard and his stunning buttons to thank.  Don’t you just love the way creativity strikes without warning?


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