I’ve finished the requisite four repeats of the Fir Cone border:

Four repeats.

Four repeats.



Why do I have such a mental block when it comes to that number? I truly, honestly, viscerally do not like four. It should be three, or five, or seven… even six isn’t as bad as four. It sounds like phlegm, or maybe one of Dante’s Circles of Hell. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit :).

I certainly have enough yarn to knit another repeat: Schaefer Yarn’s Andrea is not HandMaiden’s Sea Silk. I’ve used approximately 90 yards so far, and have another 1000 to go!

Plus, I don’t think knitting five border repeats would greatly affect my scarf down the road. Between having more yarn than suggested and not needing an 80″ long scarf, I’m having a hard time coming up with a single reason against five…

Five repeats.



Sounds so much better than four.


50 thoughts on “Numbers

  1. Ada

    Perhaps you’re in touch with your inner-Chinese self, Grumperina. “4” is a very bad/unlucky/superstitious number, much like the Western “13”, as it sounds the same as “die/death”. Many apartment buildings won’t have a 4th floor… there you have it, a little numbers lesson on a Thursday. Go for the 5. BTW – red is lucky in Chinese tradition too… but I’ll save that for another day!

  2. Merry Gentlemen

    Is it the number four itself that is bothering you, or is it something about the way the word sounds? Do you find four more palitable in other languages?

  3. Marlena

    I generally prefer odd numbers, too. Though I hadn’t really considered it until I read this entry. I think I just like the idea of something having a clear center, if that makes sense.

  4. Peggy

    C’mon! Where you are? Ya gotta love the charming 2-syllable “foe-ah”. Think of it as a word and not a number (but not in the Chinese sense).

  5. Liz

    Am I the only one who had a mental image of the Count while reading this post? “Four, four repeats, AH AH AH! Five, five repeats, AH AH AH!” πŸ™‚

  6. Jen

    Odd numbers seem to look better in most designs. Even numbers are too…balanced. You go girl. You can always rip.

  7. Laurel

    Gotta agree with Jen. Odd numbers are the way to go in design. However, other than design, I’m a big even number fan.

  8. Kathy

    Wow, other Discordian readers. Anyway, yes, I can vouch for the fact that Chinese buildings lack a fourth floor. My office is located in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and it took me FAR too long to figure out why the elevator numbered 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7.

  9. Brenda

    Go with the five! On HGTV the designers are always harping on the fact that the eye finds odd numbers of “objects” in a grouping more pleasing than an even number.

    I liked learning what Ada wrote. I’ve never been fond of four myself (although I do like 13 having aced a grad school qualifier on a Friday the 13th).

    You’ve got the yarn, do 5! I think in many of these VLT scarves, they chose a number of repeats to get a 10-12 inch wide scarf without much consideration for aesthetics (and the photo scarves, as you have pointed out, are often different than the directions).

  10. connie

    As Ada pointed out, 4 is a bad bad number among the Chinese, but 8 is really lucky. Do you have a problem with 8? πŸ˜‰ Beautiful beginning to your scarf! I’m only tempted by one project in Victorian Lace – the drop stitch scarf in Kidsilk Haze. One of these days, I’ll get around to making one with my stash of ksh.

  11. Jomy

    Ugh! Big woop! I’m sure that even YOU could get over it! I mean, who’s gonna regret not having done another repeat when the scarf is all blocked and being worn?

    Plus, all that needle aerobics you’ve done already!

  12. Shamiran

    I like even numbers myself. For something like this, it is symetric where you wouldn’t need to worry about it… If the pattern looked goofy with 4 only then would I change it.

    For example… when I do K’x’P’x’ combos, I end on a knit just like I started. Odd in that case just looks so much better… it would just look weird with a purl on one end… When I am making panels that are joined, I use even numbers.

    I am a weirdo, I know! My favorite number is 8, so I use it alot in my designs… (8 repeats, multiples of 8s… etc, etc, etc,) The madness never ends. πŸ™‚ It looks great though, you ROCK! πŸ™‚

  13. Stephanie

    Odd numbers are so much better than evens. I totally understand your lack of liking 4. Go for 5. You’ll feel so much better ;o)

  14. Adam

    You know, I totally agree with your assessment, I don’t really like 4 either. 5 is a much better number in my opinion. I actually have a weird thing in my mind where each number from 0-10 has a personality and gender, and I like certain ones better than others. 2 and I? Best friends. 9 on the other hand? I can’t stand that number!

    Ok, enough airing my weird issues in public places…I just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain and i think the scarf would look lovely with 5 border repeats πŸ™‚

  15. Teresa

    Honestly, my mother used to paint and when she would put 3,5 or 7 objects in a cluster it sold faster than those with 2,4 or 6. It was the “visual” appeal. It’s beautiful either way. I envy your mathematical ability.

    Also, 13 became a bad number due to the arrest of the Knights Templars on Friday the 13th, October 1307, which lead to their executions. (LOL..sorry, I’m kind of a history buff.)

  16. Ashley

    I can honestly say I’ve never spent so much time as I just have contemplating my feelings for the number four. I am now able to report that I am completely neutral on the subject.

  17. Laura

    5 is also part of the Fibonacci series, where 4 is not. So in theory, 5 is more natural in nature, or something like that…

  18. racherin

    Although it is very, very, pretty as it is(I love red), Ihave to agree on the five. there is something about odd numbers, especially prime numbers, that often seems so right.

  19. jess

    odd is always better. and six is okay because it’s two sets of an odd number. four is always even. πŸ™‚

  20. joy

    ok, i’m in the minority, apparently, but i love the number 4. even numbers = symmetry along the center. but! the scarf will be absolutely gorgeous either way!

  21. Elisabeth

    I completely agree that odd numbers tend to make things look nice. I am sure that your scarf would look good with five repeats, but it may also look good with the four repeats. The reason I say that is that there are five sections of that little yarn-over kind of thing happening on the ends and between each fir cone point area. If you added a fifth repeat that would make six of those and that could look great, too, but just make sure that they would look good with the rest of the scarf.

  22. cc

    Hate the number 4. You crack me up.

    This is georgeous.

    What are you blocking it on? I have my first finished garmet to block and I don’t have a blocking board and abhor doing it on the carpet. Animals you know – walking all over wet yarn. Leaving more hair than before washing. I guess I could shut the door but they would never stand for that. Where was I? Oh yeah, what did you block this lovely piece on?

  23. Carrie

    I personally am prejudiced against 10, but only with regard to clothing sizes. I would infinitely rather wear a 12 than a 10. (I think it’s because of the trauma of that size being the first double-digit size I hit, that I am unable to get over it.) It will be a while before I get near either of those sizes again in my weight loss, but I will stop at 12 and not ever wear a 10.

  24. Kimber

    That border is beautiful! I love that pattern – I agree, however, that 5 repeats seems more balanced visually. Either way, the border is drop-dead gorgeous!!!

  25. lynda

    I just bought this book, because I recently bought enough laceweight on vacation for four new projects (never mind the laceweight I already own) – and everytime I think I’ve decided which pattern I want to do first, I see something someone else is working on and change my mind…. of course, now I’m thinking I’ve decided on this fir cone scarf after seeing yours! It’s hard enough to pick ONE pattern from the book, much less decided on 4 or 5 pattern repeats.

    Maybe I’m thinking too hard. Maybe I’m just to wishy-washy! Oy.

  26. Cynthia

    I love the number four and all even numbers- they are neat and there’s no left overs : ) Your work is always beautiful!

  27. A

    I love the number four, actually. My ATM pin code used to be 4444 a long time ago. (Sheer stupidity, I know, but there you have it.)

    The repeats look beautiful.

  28. Mel

    Four is my number. To me it means completion. I don’t ascribe to numerology, but with that whole thing where you assign number values to the letters in your name and work down to a single digit, mine comes to 4 whether I use my full given name or the name I go by.

    That said, when I count things, I find it easier to count in threes.

  29. Michelle

    You’ve been tagged! If you’d like to play the rule & regulations are on my blog…. if not… disregard…

    you’re it!

  30. Stephanie

    Just going to add my vote. I say five as well, because I’ve been told that odd numbers are more visually appealing, and your four looks like it needs a bit more.

  31. Kaia

    In Native American spirituality four is a sacred numbers. Therefore my ex-husband did EVERYTHING in fours. Four repeats. Always four repeats. It drove me crazy as I too prefer odd numbers, because the obsessive part of me needs a center. That makes it more “even” to me. How an odd number can FEEL more even than a, well, even number, that I don’t know, but I would definately go with five.

  32. Ryn

    Wow, that’s looking really great! I love the bobbly thingies on the bottom; really looks like a pine cone!

    On the “number five” thing, it is also a powerful number in both the Pagan and Feri (faery) traditions. It typically symbolizes five elements (earth, fire, wind, water, spirit/light) or five stages of life (birth, childhood, adolesence, old age, death). Go with what feels right to you.

    It’s still a beautiful scarf, no matter what number of repeats you do. πŸ˜€

  33. Sue

    hahaha. in korea, 4 is a “bad” number, similar to the way we view 13 here. i think it’s because the chinese character for “4” sounds like the word “death.” so on elevators, when it gets to the fourth story, it says F instead of 4, haha.

  34. Mel

    I love that the number four can be such a vital topic of conversation. I agree with the odd-for-designs camp. And I found great amusement in the all the variants of the language camp. Foe-ah, it is.

  35. Paisley

    I’d do the extra repeat and go with 5. I seem to remember reading a Japanese garden design book which mentions something about choosing an odd number when grouping items together. It seems to balance better. One of the other commenters referenced the Fibonacci sequence and its appearances in nature. I think this ties into it as well. The universe, as well as your gut, is saying – Go with the 5.

  36. Typesetter

    Four are the seasons and four are the stages of life (childhood, young age, maturity and agedness). Cardinal points are four. In the western tradition the elements are four (air, water, fire and earth). Four is considered to be a number of great stability and represents a good place to start a project from. overall, I’d stick with four.

  37. Gloria

    I was always taught in studio art classes that odd numbers of things drew the eye more. Though the four repeats looks quite nice!

  38. Kirsty

    As in the rest of Asia, apparently, 4 is considered unlucky in Japan–it is related to the similarity of either the sound of the word or the kanji character to the sound/character for death.

    What you have blocked out looks gorgeous though!

  39. Liza

    I love 4! I am the oldest of four children and all my passwords include the number 4! Yay 4!

  40. Kim

    If you don’t like the number 4, you must be Chinese at heart! When I lived in Asia for 7 years, I learned that the 4 in Chinese sounds very near the word ‘death.’ So, 4 is major bad luck; there are no 4th floors in the hospitals. Now, maybe things have changed since I lived there a decade or so ago, but that’s how it was back in the day…..

  41. Shannon

    I’m an odd number sort of person I don’t like the symmetry of even numbers! I say go with five. Obviously you may have only done this, but I’m only catching up on my blog reading now!

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