My mum returned from a holiday in the UK with presents for me: a skein of the very delicious Fyberspates Gleem Lace and a book of Fair Isle-inspired patterns.
“Well,” she said, “I know you like to challenge yourself with your knitting.”
At first I was a bit perplexed and wondered if she was being euphemistic somehow. Then I realised she was being complimentary and she was also pretty much right. I love a garter stitch shawl as much as the next person, but then there’s the projects that present a proper challenge. Projects like Ursula, the tank slippers, and the gigantic crochet installation.
My current project – a Nut Hap – is in a similar vein. This is no beginners knit. I don’t want to give away to much of the construction details – because copyright – but it is a long scarf knit width ways. There are a lot of stitches on the needles; more so for me because I decided to size mine up to give it the appearance of the one modeled by Kate Davies (she’s about 5 foot 2. I’m five six).
So the challenges included:
- tubular cast on for 748 stitches. I was ‘lucky’ in that I was sick, so I could do this all in one go over the course of several episodes of Orange is the New Black. And it was totally worth it, because it looks freakin’ awesome.
- Knitting rib with 748 stitches spread over two 80cm circulars. Which resulted in…
- …dropping more stitches than I’ve dropped in my entire life. Thus the rubber bands in the photos. They’re for keeping stitches on.
- Having 374 front stitches on a 100cm circ and the other 374 stitches on two 80 cm circulars. More rubber bands.
- Setting up the situation in the previous previous bullet point. Four times.
- Unsetting up the previous bullet point. Three times.
- Ripping back five rows because I choose the wrong brown for last tuck.
Now this sounds like a list of complaints. And whilst I was dealing with them, I may have declared my hatred for this hap (there may have been a lot of swearing involved). But I love meeting these challenges, really I do. Learning new skills, the exhilaration when they work and the elation when they look amazing. Positive reinforcement from others helps – having the lady at the yarn shop declare your tubular cast-on is the best cast on she’s seen in her entire life is a nice buzz.
So, yes, I do like to challenge myself – but perhaps the next project may be a wee bit simpler. Just smidge.