Simpler stitches

The unlucky nature of the number ‘four’ in several Asian cultures has nothing to do with my particular brand of aversion. I think it’s more about vision and perception, as many of you remarked.

To my eye, the perceived middle of an object should be something rather than the absence of something… in other words, a hill instead of a valley. With larger even numbers – 6, 8, 10, and so on – it’s easier to overlook the emptiness of the center. But with 4, it’s impossible to miss. There it is! The center! And it’s a big fat zero, the empty space between two fir cone repeats.

Five it is.

One end of the scarf is complete, and it will be a long while before the second round of acrobatics. That’s because the two intricate borders are connected by a virtual no man’s land – mindless garter stitch lace.

I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t been looking forward to this part. With many good reasons!

  • Mindless knitting immediately propels this project to ‘commuter-friendly’ status, greatly increasing the rate of production.

  • A simpler pattern will better show off the subtle variegations of the Clara Barton colorway.
  • I can fully enjoy the yarn’s texture as it glides through my fingers – it’s not like I’m preoccupied by an intense pattern!
  • Varying complicated bits of a pattern with easy ones is good break for the body: the googly mooglies will be back soon enough… for now I’ll enjoy simpler stitches.


35 thoughts on “Simpler stitches

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  1. Stephanie

    That looks so much better. The googly mooglies look great! I hear ya on the mindless knitting. I think I need some right about now as well. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when you do finish it!

  2. Stella

    Until very recently I’ve avoided fives, myself, much preferring 2, 3, 6, and 7, but the last few weeks have me thinking that 5 is very pleasing after all. And I most certainly am with you about 4. Blech. :)

    I can’t get over the intensity of that red — it’s so vibrant and yet not grating, which is a rare combination.

  3. BzzLaraBzz

    The four didn’t bother me much. It was nice and symmetrical. But the five just feels so much better! My husband would think I was really odd just fro saying that. I guess I may be weird, but I’m in good company!

  4. K. Fajardo

    Just about every interior decorator/design expert says odd numbers look better visually and that theory definitely applies here. It wasn’t that four looked bad, five is just more pleasing to the eye.

  5. Octopus Knits

    I’m enjoying your fir cone lace updates — it’s one of the (many) patterns that caught my eye in “Victorian Lace Today.” I actually don’t have a strong feeling about 4 vs. 5 repeats (though I understand your point and am aware of the concept that odd numbers are supposed to be more visually pleasing), but I think you’re doing a lovely job.

  6. Wannietta

    I’ll have to pay attention the next time I get an unexplainable dislike for something – maybe it’s the even-ness of it!!

    The 5 looks great and I’m glad that you’re looking forward to the middle – kinda like a yarn Oreo.

  7. Kelley

    You didn’t have me convinced that 5 was necessary until I read your post and then saw the new photo today. Now I agree with you completely!

  8. becky

    Even in photography or paintings, five provides a more pleasing balance than four. I love it. It looks great!

  9. Judy

    It seems to be the same with flower arranging. I remember being taught by my mother always to use an uneven number of flowers (three peonies, five iris…) for eye pleasure. I’ve always remembered that.

    Can you tell that the garden is thriving and all of a sudden everything is popping into bloom?

  10. JJ

    You have to be one of the fastest knitters in the world! Anyway, beautiful knitting. The four didn’t bother me when I first saw it, but five just means there will be more scarf to love:-) I’m not sure what I love more: the pattern or that sumptuous red. Can’t wait to see it completed (which will probably be in the next few minutes).

  11. Susan P

    Add me to the list – five is much better than four. I think you’re right about the variation between comlex pattern and mindless stitches. Both have their place, as they do in life. I wouldn’t want to sleep through life, but if I don’t take an occasional nap, I have no energy to tackle the inevitable challenges and exciting opportunities which abound!

  12. rachel

    Hello! I just used your cabling without a cable needle tutorial!! Thanks for helping me get rid of that pesky cable needle. Your instructions were really easy to follow and to understand!!

    Thanks and you do some amazing stuff!

    R

  13. whitney

    I, too, like non-empty centers. I like patterns that are symmetrical around a center element. Everyone else I know seems to prefer even numbers…but odd is definitely better!

  14. Nicole

    Looks gorgeous! Do you always get a seat on your commute? I can’t imagine trying to knit standing up, especially on something this delicate.

  15. Judy

    I am with you on this number thing. The smaller the even number the more noticeable the absence. I am all about prime numbers..they seem to work better visually.

  16. Gena

    You know, I had been disagreeing about the 4 vs 5 debate. But now that I see it with 5, it does look so much better! Having a center really evens out the border.

  17. Trilby

    I think the five looks a little busy. Just my opinion. Four looks peaceful to me. I happen to like the four.

  18. Kristy

    I like the 5 repeats much more. Like you, I tend to think things look better in odd numbers. Floral arrangements use this rule, as do most art projects which deal with odd numbers and triangles.

    I am no artist, however, I just go by my eye and what feels right. Odd feels right.

    On a different note, I always feels better about my age when I am an odd number of years old. I do not like being an even number of years. Hmmmmmmmm.

  19. Marcy

    You knit a lot of scarves. I was wondering if you had any advice (or resources to point me towards) for wearing them. I only wear scarves in the winter, and I wrap it around my neck so that both ends are dangling in front.

    I’m wondering how many ways their are to wear a neck scarf, especially if I were to make some lace ones.

  20. Amy

    *sighs happily* There are many great things about your blog, but I think my favorite is that whenever I come here, all of my knitting doldrums are banished and I leave inspired and refreshed.

    5 repeats is way better than 4!

  21. Kimber

    I like 5 so much better – I think you are right about the ‘emptiness of the middle’ with 4 repeats. I love the intricate border, but the garter stitch lace would drive me batty. I think I am going to try to put the border on a lace pattern that is more similar to it…something with nups and geometric. I can’t wait to see how the scarf turns out!

  22. Ryn

    I wholeheartedly agree. Five looks much more balanced! I’m glad you went with your instincts. I’m with you on the “center point” thing, as well. It bugs me when there’s not a center point.

    Yay for mindless lace knitting! It certainly does give your hands a much-deserved break before you jump into the googly-mooglies and all of that craziness.

    Speaking of googlie-mooglies, I was looking at your pictures of Mountainash again, and it reminded me of that study where they gave spiders various mind-altering drugs, then took pictures of their webs. The comparison made me laugh. :)

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