Friday, October 16, 2009

Overly ambitious?

I've cast on for a new project and I'm already worried that I've taken on something that's just too hard.

Henry 2

For some time I've been periodically glancing at Marieke Sattler's 'Henry' scarf in Knitty and admiring its simple, unfussy elegance. I've always loved tweeds and twills and self-patterning weaves, and this scarf fits within this tradition - conservative and a bit daggy in the best of all possible ways. I decided that it would be perfect in the rich Botticelli Red colour of Malabrigo sock yarn. So far, so good.

But...

1 The scarf is knitted lengthwise, which means I have 452 stitches on the needles. It takes me an eternity to knit a single row.

2 I already made an error on the setting up rows for which I've cobbled together a clumsy 'correction'. I know it's there and I'm hoping it won't come to haunt me. Normally I would simply unpull the whole thing and start again, but with 452 stitches I can't bear the thought.

3 The pattern involves much yarn forwarding and backwarding and slipping of stitches - the kind of pattern where one miscounted stitch can put the whole 452 out of alignment. I can't afford to even think of this as I'm knitting as I just get more and more unconfident. It's like driving a car - you're fine as long as you can avoid thinking about all the things that could go wrong.

4 All the yarn forwarding and backwarding and slipping means that the tension and direction of the stitches into which you're knitting are very variable. I need a sharp needle and even sharper eyesight, but...

5 While I love the deep brick red yarn, at night-time under artificial light it's just so hard to see clearly, and I have very limited day-time knitting time.

I'll persist for a while longer, and I'll try to resist pulling it all out to remedy the mistake in the set-up rows. It's the week-end, so maybe some daytime knitting on Henry will restore my confidence. I'll update you next week.

7 comments:

Bells said...

i've been seriously put off this scarf in the past, despite it looking so very appealing, for all the reasons you list. I'll watch with interest!

Rose Red said...

Ditto with Bells. I wonder if you can knit it in the usual way (ie not lengthwise?).

But I do think you can do it!!

missfee said...

love the colours - and make it the thinking project when you feel like a challenge

Lynne said...

It all seems so complicated with that many stitches! Do you have stitch markers between the pattern repeats so that you only have to check a limited number of stitches?

Sel and Poivre said...

I attempted Henry - also in brick red - the sad story is in my blog but it reads pretty much like the things you have already encountered. I will try again but with a lighter coloured yarn with great stitch definition because the herringbone stitch is easy to see once its established. I took many runs at the cast on - if I do make it again I will forgo the fancy edge in favour of an easier time with the set up row.

knitabulous said...

I love this scarf also. I don't know if the 452 stitches puts me off or not, it's only a few rows that way, and often my lace ends up double that number.

But I have a similar tale to tell of the 'herringbone' stitch in the Stormsvale coat - I keep getting the row number wrong and biasing the whole thing. Painful and ploddy - and who likes that kind of knitting?

I know you've since 'rested' it. No matter, it's time will come again.

Maria said...

Love the colour of the yarn, but wow that is a huge knit.