Dear Kay, and all knitting fiends,
I’ve just been thinking about difficulty, and what makes a knitting pattern hard. What is the hardest knitting pattern you’ve ever seen? Not that you’ve necessarily tried to knit yourself–just that you’ve seen.
What’s hard about it? What makes hard hard to you?
Up top there is Kaffe Fassett’s Pebbles pattern from Rowan 24. Thirteen shades of very skinny Donegal Tweed yarn, and a 164-row Fair Isle chart with exactly zero repeating patterns. Zero point zero.
But the headbanger that most comes to my mind is that Jade Starmore pattern called Katherine Howard, from the Starmores’ Tudor Roses. It’s a book of knitting patterns based on the sometimes-very-unlucky wives of Henry VIII.
Here’s a photo (scroll down). I wish I could show you the close ups, but a quick Google reveals that nobody in the universe has ever actually finished this thing. I don’t even think Wendy has made one, and she’s a real sucker for punishment.
I first got wind of this pattern from our Danish pal Thomas, who threatened to try it. I think he came to his senses.
Never mind the ketchup and mustard colorway, which I find deeply challenging. This pattern involves:
Four and a half pages of close-set text instructions
Six stitch charts
Intarsia vertical two-color cables
Short-rowed intarsia cables
Stranded knitting worked flat
An edging joined with a three-needle bindoff
Intarsia diagonal cables using three shades of yarn and 32 bobbins
Adding horizontal knitting to a diagonal piece of knitting
A stand-up Henry the Eighthish short-row collar
What more could a person need? Craziest thing I ever saw.