Let's start with the Saturn Cardigan, shall we?
Photo © Knitscene/Harper Point
In 2004, NASA launched the Cassini mission to study Saturn. Now, I've always thought Saturn was one of the coolest looking planets, what with the rings and all, but when I saw the following ultraviolet image on Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was blown away.
One of the things this image shows us is the breakdown of what Saturn's rings are composed of. The bluer areas contain more water ice and the redder areas contain more dust. Very interesting scientifically, but it also makes for a really beautiful image. Even though this isn't actually what the rings look like in the visible light spectrum, I no longer saw Saturn as just a bright white object in the sky, but as something with much more life and color.
Originally I wanted to translate the Cassini image more literally, with bright green or turquoise rings against a very dark background (though in the end, the grey just worked better).
To form the raised rings, I found a cool technique in one of my Barbara Walker treasuries in which a few rows are knit, then folded up and joined together on the next row to form a raised welt. And, to showcase the rings, I thought it best to show them against a canvas of a very simple and wearable cardigan. Here's the original sketch -- you can see that I deviated very little from the original concept.
The sweater is simply constructed as well, knit from the top-down with a circular yoke.
Ok, this post is now going to go all over the place, but talking about the Saturn Cardi like this immediately takes me back to when I knit it. Back in September, Neill and I took a trip to South Africa with his sister, and this cardigan just happened to be my travel knitting. I managed to do the entire yoke on the way there, then the body and sleeves followed me around Cape Town, safari, and wine tasting.
One of my favorite memories from the trip actually involved this sweater. When a member of our party lost her passport (not me), we had to take a little detour and spend half of our second day at the US Embassy. I elected to stay outside on a bench and knit. Well, the outside of the embassy was heavily guarded by fit young men and women carrying around huge guns and speaking in a language I did not understand. One of the young guys kept looking at me, then frowning, speaking to his colleagues, frowning again, and looking back at me. I'm not gonna lie, the presence of the large firearms combined with the frowning made me a bit uneasy. Suddenly, the guard was approaching me. Ugh. I just knew he was going to tell me that the embassy was one of those places where knitting needles were considered a weapon and I was going to have to put them away. But when he was just a few feet away and we made eye contact, his face completely softened. He smiled, started making knitting motions with his hands and pointed to mine. "What you're doing...this reminds me of my mother! All day, every day, she was knitting, knitting, knitting!" He went on to tell me about all of the amazing things she had made for him, hats and sweaters and the like, and how proud he was to wear them. I told him that he was an amazing son, and that if my own son ever expressed half as much enthusiasm for my knitting, I would just about explode with happiness. He then said that sometimes he would take over household chores when he was growing up so his mother could take a break and knit. (Right?!) He said, "We all have things we do to get through the day...for my mother, it was knitting." And in that moment, that statement just seemed so wise, and I was so jet lagged, that I almost started crying. Here were were, this young guy and I, from two places as far away as is earthly possible, brought together by knitting.
Anyway, for more information about the Saturn Cardigan, you can see its listing on Ravelry here and on the Knitscene website here.