Herschel's Ghosts

I finally finished the Equatorial Nights beaded cowl project designed by Audry Nicklin, which I named Herschel's Ghosts. I finished it in less than a month, which for me lately is a pretty big deal.  

Remember a few weeks ago when I was all pouty about having to knit on a schedule? Well it turns out that a schedule was just what I needed to get more knitting in my hectic life. I chose my pattern and decided how much I would need to knit each day to finish my project on time. A little more than two rounds a day. Two rounds felt do-able. If I couldn't commit to two rounds a day, then there was clearly something wrong with my priorities. 

That's not to say I didn't cast on other things, because I really did. When the chill of fall seeps into my bones, I am am hit with an overwhelming urge to cast on ALL the things. Suddenly all the things I had been putting off need to be knit now and I cast on as if there is no tomorrow in which new projects can be started. Despite these shiny new projects, I was able to start my knitting for the day with two rounds and then move on to other things if I felt in the mood. 

I took this to my local knit night to get some extra rows in and realized that somehow my stitch markers were switched about 10 rows down because my beads didn't line up as they showed on the chart. I painstakingly marked the beads in the section and dropped down to add or remove beads as necessary. If the star theme didn't mean so much to me I could have just left them. Most people are going to think they were randomly placed anyway, but I knew it would always bother me.  The way my luck runs, if I didn't correct them, I would someday find myself wearing my cowl and sharing an elevator with my favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I would be too embarrassed to show him my cowl because he would know it was wrong. Of course, by correcting the beads I have ruined any chance of ever running into him, but I still have an awesomely accurate constellation consolation. 

The yarn is from Fiber Story in their Fave Sock base. I actually picked this yarn up at Stitches Midwest in 2014. The yarn came as a kit with a bag from Knerd that said, "My other  yarn bag is the Tardis." As a huge Doctor Who fan, I couldn't let pass the opportunity to alert the public that I'm a Whovian and a knitter. That's two geek birds with one stone...or something like that.


I paired the yarn with glowing orange beads so they would pop out against the variegated blues, grays and blacks of the yarn. There are 334 individually placed seed beads on this cowl (that I showed you how to do in a previous blog post, Go Put Beads on Everything!) and each one plays with the light differently. Some pick up the light and glow wildly while others give a faint glow being placed on a wrong side row. As I move, they glimmer subtly and I feel very fancy. 

I named this after scientist William Herschel. My favorite episode of The Cosmos is episode 4, A Sky Full of Ghosts (on Netflix now). That episode explains it better than I can I think. “The light from the stars travels very fast, faster than anything, but not infinitely fast. It takes time for their light to reach us. For the nearest ones it takes years, for others, centuries. Some stars are so far away it takes eons for their light to get to Earth. By the time the light from some stars get here, they are already dead. For those stars we see only their ghosts. We see their light but their bodies perished long, long ago.”

I love the idea that when we look at the stars, we are looking at the past and that even though some of those stars are gone their light still shines. I think it’s so amazing.