Pillars of Creation (Swatch) Swatch

I’ve been knitting like my life depended on it this week, working on two separate designs. One I’ve just started an alternate size of (above and to the left), and the other I’ve started swatching and am pretty pleased with where it’s going.

A third has popped into my head recently after discovering a yarn that really inspired me, so I sketched a few ideas down so I can tackle it in the future. I have to bang out at least one of these patterns first before I can start in on a third, otherwise nothing will get done.

I’ve been drawing on a lot of inspiration pretty specifically from astronomical images. I’m not an astronomer nor engineer nor astrobiologist nor physicist nor anything even nearing any of those things, but I would describe myself as having a healthy interest in all of the above (non-knitting side note: I’m currently in the planning process of building a full-scale arduino controlled model of Sojourner).

I spend not a small amount of time looking at images taken from various telescopes and cameras that are currently out roving and viewing the galaxy in our stead, since for the most part, we’re all stuck here on Earth.

Not only do I find all the things out there inspirational and awesome. I’m also heavily inspired by the fact that we (as a species) are working our way towards getting out there, clawing our way through the science, trying to figure out for ourselves what is going on.

Imagine what we could accomplish if each national space agency received even half the money put into so-called national defense by their governments?

But I’m getting off on a bit of a tangent. What exactly has been inspiring me these past few weeks, you say?

Pillars of Creation

The Pillars of Creation has been the inspiration behind a pair of socks I’m currently making (the left hand image at the top of this post).

This image is probably one of the best known from the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s a star forming region in the Eagle Nebula, about 6500 light years away. It was first photographed in 1995, then again in 2014 (which is the image above). This region itself is huge – the longest pillar spans approximately 4 light years and, what appear to be, the small protrusions at the top of the pillars, are all larger than our solar system themselves. All that hot gas and dust is in the process of forming stars, which is where the pillars derived their name. Since the location of the nebula is 6500 light years away, the image above actually shows what was happening 6500 years ago.

Curiosity - Sol 1174

This is an image of Mars, taken on Sol 1174 (on Earth that’s November 25, 2015) by the Curiosity rover. To say I’ve spent hours looking at images sent back by Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity is a bit of an understatement. I love these black and white images – so much so that I tweet regularly from @marsinbandw. The shapes and forms on Mars – the juxtaposition of hard and soft, and its dry, cracked features, I find extremely beautiful, and very inspirational. I found a yarn (the one mentioned at the top of this post) that will fit perfectly as a basis for a Red Planet-inspired piece, and with hundreds (seriously) of images saved to my computer of the varying forms and textures of Mars, I’m at no loss for ideas to draw from.

I feel like I have a whole series of astronomical-themed pieces bubbling around in my brain – nebulae and planets, galaxies and moons (Io is particularly amazing) – there’s quite literally, a whole universe out there to draw from. How can one see all these things and not feel wonder and beauty at the sight of them?


Note: the images from this post are courtesy of NASA/JPL. You can see more Hubble photos here and more Curiosity images here. I highly recommend taking an hour to look at the beauty of what’s out there beyond our planet.

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