I don’t have a science background, so when I first saw Interweave Knits editor Meghan Babin’s call for design submissions for a science-themed issue, I thought I might have to skip it. But for days the quote she shared from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos—“We are made of star-stuff”—kept knocking around in my head. It made me think of the final illustration in Saint-Exupery’s classic book The Little Prince—a desert landscape with a star in the sky, drawn with just a few simple lines.
I pulled the small, tattered paperback down from my bookshelf and opened it. There were all the watercolors I’ve loved for so many years: the boa constructor digesting an elephant, the box containing a sheep, the impressive baobabs, the Little Prince’s rose. There was the fox’s beautiful secret: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” I re-read the part where, before taking leave of Earth, the Little Prince gives the gift of his laughter to the narrator—a pilot stranded in the desert, trying desperately to fix his plane:
“All men have the stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You—you alone—will have the stars as no one else has them . . . In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as though all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . you—only you—will have stars that can laugh!”
Suddenly I realized that I did have something to contribute to a science-themed knitting magazine. I would create a golden muffler, like the one the Little Prince wears in so many of the book’s illustrations. And in honor of this wise book, which has meant so much to me since I first read it at age 12, I would call the scarf Asteroid B 612—the name of the Little Prince’s tiny planet.
Off I went to the nearest yarn store to look at yarns in appropriate colors. I chose a new-to-me yarn, Brown Sheep’s Prairie Spun DK, in the Swallowtail Butterfly colorway. I started swatching a stitch pattern that had a kind of “outer space” look—it reminded me of flying saucers. The design came together pretty quickly, and then I moved on to making a sketch to show Meghan what the finished scarf would be like.
For design submissions, I usually do a quick sketch, first lightly with pencil, then with ink—nothing too fancy or time consuming (because I’m always working in a hurry to meet the deadline!). But for this submission, I decided on watercolors. I don’t use watercolors very often, but I tried to put all my love for the book and its illustrations into my little painting and make it as close in style to Saint-Exupery’s pictures as I could.
A year ago, Megan’s acceptance of the Asteroid B 612 scarf landed in my email inbox. I was so pleased that she chose the very same yarn that I’d swatched with, because I felt the Prairie Spun DK was perfect for this design. And I was moved when she thanked me for bringing “tears of joy” to her eyes and confessed that she, too, had read The Little Prince “innumerable times over.”
Asteroid B 612 may mean more to me than anything else I’ve designed. It came from the heart, and knitting the sample was a joy (even on days last winter when I worried whether I would manage to finish by the magazine’s due date!). I loved creating this golden scarf, and I hope knitters who have a special place in their hearts for Saint-Exupery’s beloved book will enjoy making it.
As I said, I don’t have a science background, but even so I am drawn to many of the designs in this issue, especially the Saturn’s Rings pullover by Adrienne Larsen (on the cover), the Solidago Hat and Cowl by illitilli (inspired by goldenrod stem galls), the Periodic Pullover by Annie Lupton (a chic interpretation of the periodic table of elements), and a classic cabled sweater for men, the DNA Pullover by Andrea Cull. It’s a stunning issue that I feel honored to be part of.
The print and digital editions of Interweave Knits Winter 2019 are available now at Interweave. Watch for the print edition in bookstores or your LYS soon! You can also browse all 19 “classic and quarky” patterns on Ravelry.