I was inspired to start a certain knitting project a few months ago; a present for a friend. I found the perfect pattern, dug the appropriate needles out of my tool drawer, and selected some really nice wool.
My enchantment lasted almost an hour.
For starters, the needles are small. Picture the clicky-top of a ballpoint pen. Yeah, smaller than that. Now picture how happy my hands are to be cramped around those for a few hours every day. I look like a fuzzy T-Rex.
And the yarn! Super skinny stuff, usually referred to as "baby" or "fingering" weight yarn. At least it's a pale color. I made socks for an uncle once. Knee-high, black dress socks. Trying to knit hundreds of tiny black stitches when you're married to a guy who thinks forty-watt bulbs are "light enough" makes for some serious eyestrain. The socks were finished and greatly appreciated, and we now have seventy-five-watt bulbs in several of the fixtures.
The pattern on which I am currently working is interesting enough to keep me going, but not so complex as to require monastic silence and pages of charts. That said, let me give you an idea of the scale. I have just finished the main part of the pattern, a large swath of lace. Each row has 285 stitches. Each pattern row repeat calls for 4 rows. All told, there are 24 pattern row repeats, making a grand total of...
Twenty-seven thousand, three hundred sixty stitches.
Excuse me. I need a drink. Jeez.
Okay, so, coffee in hand and more figuring. I still have a big chunk of knitting ahead of me, but it feels like an easy downhill slide now. The rest of the pattern calls for picking up here, decreasing there, and then some very careful sewing. By the time I'm done, there may be close to 50,000 stitches in this thing.
This is the part where Himself scratches his head and says, "Why don't you just go BUY one?" and I smack him on the arm.
For one thing, there is no store that sells this particular item. For another, it's for a very special occasion and some very special people. And mostly, I just like knitting. Ten rows of ten stitches or one row of one hundred stitches; I still get to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies.
But my next project is probably going to be a hammock.