If you look at the date on my ravelry project page, I started this in February 2013. That's a long time. I've taken lots of breaks in the knitting, of course, but I pulled it back out a few days ago, and decided I really, really want to finish it this time. I'm going to try try to not work on anything else until it's done, but I'm not very good with knitting resolutions, so please don't hold me to that one. But, despite the fact that this pattern is intarsia, and what's more, intarsia that involves painstakingly staring at the chart, stitch by stitch, the yarn is close to worsted weight and progress is not actually terribly slow. The real issue is that I can't really multi task while knitting this, unlike other knitting designs. At best, I can carry on a casual conversation when there are multiple other people in the room, or keep an eye on the kids while they play outside, or watch a movie I've seen many times before.
Now, are you ready for me to give you a heart attack? Of course, yes? Then take a look at the following picture:
Yes. This is a fourth of the way up the back. All those ends. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Front, back, and both sleeves are the same crazy design. Brocade, like the pattern is called. If you wish to be cured of OCD, I have the solution for you. Try intarsia knitting. If regular knitting is like playing Mozart on the piano, even, predictable, everything where it should be, then intarsia is like suddenly switching over to Bartok, where notes and rhythm sound where they really shouldn't sound at all, and the piano no longer sounds like a piano, but somehow the manic energy comes together and creates a of bizarre, yet somehow pleasing, piece of music (certain people, namely my older sister, would disagree with me here). Normal musical rules no longer apply.
The thing is, there is an odd freedom in knitting intarsia. You have to completely give up all control of keeping it nice and neat and being certain everything is in its proper place. Do not use yarn bobbins in an effort to keep it neat and organized. Goodness, no. I tried that years and years (and years!) ago, back when I first started knitting a and read a brief tutorial in a book about how to knit intarsia. Read it in a knitting book. How quaint. This was back before anything one could ever hope to learn was on the internet. After attempting it, I swore I would never, ever ever knit intarsia again, after about ten rows into it. And I kept my promise until February of 2013. I had read somewhere (this time on the internet) that one could just use strands of yarn, 18-24 inches in length in place of the yarn bobbins, and the yarn wouldn't tangle, you just pull each strand through as needed, knit with it, drop it, and go on to the next color or section. I saw a couple of youtube videos, and it didn't look bad.
Well, if ever there was an intarsia pattern that tempted me, it was Brocade. Nothing less would get me to give intarsia one more try. The design had grabbed my attention when the magazine had first come out, way back in 2005. Wow, that's actually quite a long time. The yarn called for, long discontinued, I somehow managed to track down on ravelry destash. The colors, mossy green and turquoise, were just so lovely together. Yarn, pattern, and colors were just stunning together. And, sure enough, the technique I had read about worked great, and in fact was quite fun. Even though the back was just a crazy mess, like a plateful of spaghetti. All those ends. I've never been one to complain about finishing, or weaving in ends, in fact, it's actually one of my favorite things to do in a knitting project, but I admit those ends are pretty daunting, even for me. When I glance down at them, adding more to weave in just about every single row, I shrug my shoulders, remember Bartok, and move on. Sometimes you need to just embrace the chaos.