women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Northern Lights

In the light of the golden moon
In the light of the silvery eyes of the night
I wandered through fire through ice...
To the valley of the shadow of death
...Northern lights...
...Northern lights...
While you were asleep I was awake to be part of the dark
While you were asleep I was awake to find the truth I had sought for
...through all my life...
Aurora Borealis -
A part of me still in the sky

-Songwriter unknown

The Aurora Borealis has intrigued people from ancient times, and still does today. The Eskimos and Indians of North America have many stories to explain these northern lights.

One story is reported by the explorer Ernest W. Hawkes in his book, The Labrador Eskimo:
The ends of the land and sea are bounded by an immense abyss, over which a narrow and dangerous pathway leads to the heavenly regions. The sky is a great dome of hard material arched over the Earth.

There is a hole in it through which the spirits pass to the true heavens. Only the spirits of those who have died a voluntary or violent death, and the Raven, have been over this pathway.

The spirits who live there light torches to guide the feet of new arrivals. This is the light of the aurora. They can be seen there feasting and playing football with a walrus skull.

The whistling crackling noise which sometimes accompanies the aurora is the voices of these spirits trying to communicate with the people of the Earth. They should always be answered in a whispering voice. Youths dance to the aurora. The heavenly spirits are called selamiut, "sky-dwellers," those who live in the sky.

When we were in Alaska some years ago, we were not lucky enough to see the northern lights. It was summertime, and the price we paid for the long days of sunshine and temperate weather was the relative brevity of the nighttime and lack of true darkness. All we got was dim twilight from about 1:00 - 4:00 a.m.

Needless to say, this was NOT optimum viewing conditions.

We have, however, seen the northern lights on several occasions, up at the lake: along with the Milky Way and Perseid meteor showers. The lack of big city lights on the peninsula makes for prime viewing of all things celestial.

All we must do to be reminded of "how great Thou art" and how small we art...

Is look up.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19


It is with these memories in mind, that I have designed Northern Lights, the next full size stole pattern coming down the pipeline after Drizzle, direct from the sunflower farm to you.

The stole begins with the pine forests so common to the northern reaches of our world and segues into a strong diagonal zig zag pattern.

This section will feature bright turquoise beading to highlight the stitch pattern, which is remarkably evocative of the swirling patterns of the Aurora Borealis.

After a number of repeats, (to be determined as I go along) the lights give way to a clear starry sky - the firmament of heaven.

The yarn is Fleece Artist Suri Blue in Aurora, a lighter weight than the sea silk, and thus easier to bead (yay!) The yarn more closely approximates Woolen Rabbit's laceweight, which I used for MD/AN and Magic Carpet Ride.

I wanted something a little more wintry for this one, and the depth of color in the yarn is amazing. So vibrant it leaps out at you. The pictures don't do it justice.

Ah, but I saved the best for last (don't I always?)

The ends of the stole (up front, where they will set off your front view, as opposed to over your rear view, which, if you're built anything like me, is definitely NOT the body part you want to highlight) will have these lovely little stars and moons dangling from the points of its scalloped border.


Now I would be remiss to tease you with something that is many months away without giving you a little immediate gratification.

Zinnia is halfway bound off and bound for the blocking boards later today. Just in time for me to wear her to Stitches Midweston Friday. Nothing like a little wearable advertising, eh mates?

Release date: August 30th.

And the Hydrangea stole (otherwise known as the wedding veil) comes out tomorrow.

I was hoping to have a picture of the bride to share, but I understand from speaking with Michael that electronic rights to the pictures are prohibitively expensive, so we shall see...

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to quick-knit Zinnia. It is wonderful to have so many friendly (to say nothing of helpful) knitters out there!


Ronni said...

Oooh! Northern Lights looks lovely! I am really looking forward to that one. It's just exactly the sort of thing I wish I owned.

ikkinlala said...

Northern Lights looks great, and those are the perfect beads for it!

dmw said...

northern lights looks lovely - but... (insert teary face here) no sherwood?