The pattern for the Nerodia Cardigan (baby/child version) is now available! I created this design in honor of the Chinese Year of the Snake (although it would also be appropriate for a member of Slytherin House!).
The Chinese zodiac is a 12 year cycle, with a different animal for each year; in addition, each year is also associated with one of five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal or water). 2013 is the year of the Water Snake, and since water snakes belong to the genus Nerodia, I thought this would be a good name for this design.
I also have a good friend who had a baby boy this spring, so I designed the cardi with him in mind (it is meant to be suitable for boys OR girls). After using stranded colorwork for my Year of the Rabbit design (the Bunny Yoke pullover), and lace for my Year of the Dragon design (the imaginatively named Dragon Lace Pullover), I decided that the Year of the Snake would be a great opportunity to get creative with cables.
The basic idea of the snake cable is that the cable crosses alternate in direction, so that one cable is always on top, and appears to be undulating. But there are many variations, including how many stitches to cross, how often to cross them, and background (whether the cable crosses over another cable, or simply over a reverse stockinette stitch or other background). I sketched vertical snakes, horizontal snakes, and coiled snakes, and then I started swatching. After multiple swatches, I decided the most snake-like version was a 3-stitch single cable, crossed over reverse stockinette. Then I experimented with the snake head and tail, and finally with how many snakes, and how to arrrange them; eventually I hit upon a staggered repeat that seemed more...slithery...than a bunch of perfectly synchronized snakes!
To keep the focus on the snakes, I kept the rest of the pullover fairly simple, with stockinette body and sleeves and no waist shaping. The only refinement I added during knitting was the beaded eyes and embroidered tongues. I just decided that the little reptiles needed a bit more realism (but those embellishments could certainly be omitted).
And it's only partway through the Year of the Snake, which means I still have time to finish the Nerodia Cardigan for women (working on it right now), and maybe even start planning my Year of the Horse design for 2014.