Stitches. Lots and lots of stitches.

The Mountainash shawl is now officially less than 500 sts wide. Puny, I tell you, puny! In my never-ending quest for things bigger and better, I have this to show you:

It’s been a while since I updated you on this project, so let’s recap: Silk Alpaca Ruffle Scarf by Mac & Me, using leftover silk/merino from my mom’s shawl, which was a custom order from Sundara Yarn.

Early on I decided that the main part of the scarf would be knit in the Fluted Rib pattern (BW #2, p. 5) rather than the prescribed K1P1 rib, but quickly ran into a little snafu when I messed up the pattern repeat.

Not to worry! For once (a truly rare occasion) I convinced myself that this was not a big deal, considering that the main rectangle is simply a placeholder for all the ruffles. In fact, as I continued knitting, I purposefully “messed up” the pattern three more times (you can see the “mistakes” marked with stitch markers) in order to officially call this a design element.

Whew! That was quite the recap!

Now the scarf is about 45″ long and it’s time to pick up stitches along the entire circumference of the rectangle and add ruffles!

How many stitches, you ask?


Both short edges of the rectangle already have the stitches live and ready to go (I used a provisional cast-on), and I need to pick up approximately 290 stitches along each of the long edges, for a total of… 646 stitches!

But wait – ruffles are created by making increases, and although I don’t yet know how many stitches I’ll end up with (see below), I’m guessing it will be 1000 or more after all is said and done.

Picking up hundreds of stitches doesn’t bother me. Knitting rows which take hours doesn’t bother me. Binding off a thousand stitches – dreadful.

The reason I’m not yet sure exactly how many stitches I’ll have at the end is because I need to adjust the pattern. As written, the knitter is asked to add ruffles along each of the four edges, and then seam them at the corners. I’m not going to be doing that because… there’s a better, much more straightforward way – knit the edging in the round, using mitered corners – no seaming! Yes, this will involve using each and every single one of my US 5 circulars to cover the 100″ circumference (are you imagining this? Oy!).

I need to chart out the ruffle pattern to see what’s going on, how long each repeat is, and how exactly I’m going to miter the corners. Fortunately, if the thing isn’t to my liking, I have Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge to rescue me.

The camera loves this yarn. I don’t think there’s a way anyone/anything can argue with luscious silk/merino :).

Edited to add: I just charted the ruffle pattern and did the math. I’m happy to say that no mitering will be necessary because the ruffles are quite voluminous and will fill up the corners when placed appropriately. The shocker: the Maths tells me that I will start with 648 stitches around the circumference of the scarf, and end up with 2592. Yeah, you read that correctly, 2592.


33 thoughts on “Stitches. Lots and lots of stitches.

  1. Sarah

    Have you ever tried binding off with an appropriately sized crochet hook in your right hand instead of a knitting needle? “Knit” until two stitches are on the hook, then pull the second loop through the first. I find it to be smooth and quick, and to have a much more even tension than binding off with two knitting needles.

  2. Janet

    Oh my goodness. I’m knitting one of those “curly Q” scarfs where you double your stitches every other row and then bind off. I have about 1500 to bind off. And I thought that was excruciating!

  3. AmyP

    Oh. My. Knit.

    Not wishing to question the sanity of what is, essentially, a stranger but – are you OK? Maybe I should ask that question again after you’ve bound off those 2592 stitches?

    Good luck, though!

  4. Martha

    Leaving a mistake in and THEN adding a few more??? Welcome to the dark side, my dear. From here it’s a slippery slope of “no one’s ever going to notice this but me”!

    I have to say, if I were facing 2592 stitches, I’d be looking at Nicky Epstein for a bail-out. But then again, I’m a sloppy, lazy knitter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Stephanie

    That’ll be a knockout when it’s finished. And, really, after the thousands of stitches already in the scarf, what’s another couple thousand for the ruffle? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Amanda

    You are to knitting what an Ironman is to triathlon. The more torturous it sounds, the more satisfying it will be to complete! It does make me think back to the circular shawlette you bailed on, though… so lonely and unknitted… with a tantalizingly huge number of stitches…

  7. Martha (another one)

    I suppose that you’ve considered and rejected the alternative, casting on two-thousand-whatever stitches, decreasing, and doing a three-needle bind-off or whatever that is?

    On lacey subjects, I sharpened a pair of aluminum size 1 needles with 180 grit sandpaper, and they’re working well so far…

  8. Patsy

    I am now SO glad that I didn’t order that pattern! However, the Ruffled Basbuska (or whatever it’s called) by Mac & Me is already on its way. So I probably have nth degree ruffles in my future.

  9. jacqueline

    a friend of mine recently offered to knit me a scarf (basically because i can’t face another scarf this season and i really need a pink one). i was actually considering the mac and me ruffles scarf – however after this post i have decided she would kill me if i sent her that scarf to knit!

    i can’t wait to see yours though.

  10. Susan

    Why do you do this to yourself? I think we’re kindred spirits–we both take on these huge projects, then, halfway through, look back and say “what the hell was I thinking?”

    You do beautiful work. I’m really wanting to do a Picovili, but am waiting until this summer when school is out. Can’t wait to make it happen!

  11. Norah

    And I balked at knitting 160 or so sttitches for a sweater knit in the round. 2592 stitches–the mind boggles, at least mine does. You’re amazing!!

  12. Juniper

    You are absolutely insane. Or, well, if you aren’t already, you will be after that madness. I think I’ll send happy thoughts of booze and chocolate in your direction for the next few days.

  13. miss ewe

    That’s absolutely gorgeous… just as it is.

    Are you SURE you need the ruffles??? (or maybe just ruffles on the short edges?)

    Good luck…

  14. Vicki

    Ouch! The binding off will definitely be the worst part, you think you’re done and then it takes another 4 hours to bind off, ugh. Have fun with that though ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Cheri

    Wow, I wish I were that gutsy or that crazy to do something like that.

    I made a ruffle scarf for my mom and ended up with 1600 live stitches and it took me DAYS to cast off because casting off is a bi-otch!

  16. Jennifer

    Wow. I would ask you if you’re okay, but I know the answer to that. So, in lieu of questioning your sanity I’m just going to wish you good luck and check back frequently for updates.

  17. Purly Whites

    Holy shit, that is a lot of stitches. I feel a bit lightheaded just thinking about it.

    I learned an interesting way to pick up stitches. It’s very, very neat. Neat as in nice looking, not as in cool. Anyway, let me know if you want me to explain it to you.

  18. brooke

    I love that last picture. Gorgeous yarn, stitches, colour, everything. Those numbers are crazy, but it looks like it would be so pretty when finished.

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