Expecto Patronum

I've been knitting away (and coding away, more on that in a moment!), but hardly ever getting around to posting the projects here or on Ravelry.  Does anyone else have that problem?  Honestly, to look at my project page on Ravelry, you'd think I hardly ever knit!  I'm looking to change that this year.

Photo Feb 26, 12 00 45 PM.jpg

This is the front chest portion of a vest I'm making for my son.  I haven't knit him a sweater in two years and I've been wanting to make him something to reflect his (and my, let's be real) love of everything Harry Potter.  I'd pretty much settled on a patronus theme, but was having a lot of trouble envisioning how it would look magical instead of just, you know, like a ski sweater with a deer on it.  But then, somehow, I started prowling the Internet for information on illusion (also sometimes called "shadow") knitting.

See the stag?

See the stag?

At first glance and directly from the front, the work looks like garter stitch stripes.  (Or, maybe more technically, purl ridges in one color on a stockinette ground in another color.)  But at just the right angle... magic!

It's all a matter of purl stitches bumping up above the surface of your knitting while knit stitches lie flat.  So the colors are knit in two-row stripes and the second (wrong side) row of each stripe determines the pattern.  Any stitches knit in that row will be purl on the right side and therefore stick up, which makes them visible as long as you remember to keep those same stitches in stockinette in the next row (other color), which lays them down to get out of your way so you can see the bumped up stitches behind.  It was a little mind-bending at first, but is actually quite simple once you understand what's going on.  And fun.

I didn't see any garments in my internet surfing, probably because it's hard to see the intended image if the fabric is rumpled or curved, as it would be when being worn.  But I'm hoping this will actually add to the effect in this particular case, giving a sort of shimmery, eye-tricking impression just like you'd expect from a patronus.

I'm planning to pick up stitches at top and bottom to finish the vest front in the dark charcoal and then I just have to decide if I'm going to knit the back in one piece or continue the illusion knitting band, maybe working the words Expecto Patronum into it?  I'll probably do that since I have plenty of the light grey yarn left.  And I'm hoping to add a hood, which is where I was originally planning to put the incantation, in a turned-in hem edge around the face.  Which I may still do.  No harm in extra protective spells, eh?

I love making things up as I go along!

And as for that mention of a lot of coding... I'm getting close to launching a real beta version of the next Knitphisticate app (that means a testing version for a small group of people, maybe you?).  This app is designed to make knitters happy, especially knitters who use Ravelry (but maybe have trouble keeping their project pages up to date, ahem!), or like to keep their patterns electronic, or like to knit with charts, or like to make things up or modify patterns on the fly and find it difficult to keep their notes organized (and not lost).  Sound good?  You might like to sign up for the Knitphisticate mailing list to get the full scoop.  :)  You can sign up on the home page.