Coping with complicated...
Some projects require that you stay close to the pattern. Detailed instructions, while they produce intricate, beautiful work, also demand attention to detail. I find charts--common to most colorwork pieces--particularly taxing on my brain cells, so I’ve come up with a few coping mechanisms to help me follow instructions well.
1) ALWAYS work from a photocopy. I generally write on complicated patterns, and the fact that they have to be out and in sight whenever I’m working exposes them to terrors like coffee, water, chocolate, dogs, leaky pens, you name it.
2) Cross off rows as you do them, but only with a single line. I know knitters who use a highlighter as well. You need to be able to see the details of the row you just completed, to know that the white stitch you just made ought to be sitting atop a black one. Magenetic row markers, while cool gadgets, never seem to work as well as the trusty pencil.
3) Divide and conquer. That yellow line you see down my pattern? It marks every 10th row. And it matches up to a stitch marker in my work. That way, I’ll see a mistake quickly and won’t have to take out an entire row of intricate colorwork.
Complicated knitting is fun and satisfying. It can also be frustrating when things go wrong, so it's best to stack the deck (or in this case, set the stitch) in your favor.