I’m not a psychic (it’s a good thing)

Happy knitaversary to me,

Happy knitaversary to me,

Happy knitaversary, dear Grumpy,

Happy knitaversary to me!

And many more!

Time sure flies! Yes, it was four years ago that I confused knitting with crochet, and accidentally learned the former while aiming for the latter.

On my first and second knitaversaries we looked back and re-visited the first swatches of a novice knitter. On my third knitaversary we looked ahead – just when you think you’ve tried it all, there’s always more to learn.

On this, my fourth, knitaversary I do not intend to give into nostalgia or wistfulness. Instead I’m feeling grateful that our craft is so freaking flexible. What is more amendable, pliable, and modifiable than knitting? Where else can you add stitches, subtract rows, swap colors, insert panels, and change drape either individually or all at once? Knit a lace shawl tonight, and a cotton bath rug tomorrow morning? Whatever your whim, there’s a pattern. And if there isn’t, you can take the next best thing and modify, or even start from scratch. We knit what we want, when we want to, and in a way that makes us happy.

On this, my fourth knitaversary, I’m delighted to have the ability to get rid of the number four in my latest project ;).

Again I succumb to stupid numbers. Just like the Fir Cone scarf pattern, the 21-25* scarf pattern starts out with four repeats of the border motif.

And I hate four!


Isn’t it immediately obvious?!? Four is a bad number! Some numbers are good, and others, like four, are bad. Duh!

I actually have an entire mental inventory of good and bad numbers, and the distinction doesn’t seem to follow any obvious pattern. Sometimes I try to come up with an explanation for the goodness or badness of a particular number, and… it’s arbitrary. I’m just arbitrary. I’m so glad I don’t make my living as a psychic!

One thing’s for sure: four is bad, whereas three and five are fine. So, the very first 21-25 scarf pattern modification was to change the number of border repeats.

When knitting the Fir Cone scarf, I went with 5 repeats instead of 4. In this case, I decided to downsize to 3. My reasons: first and foremost, I only have 500 yards of yarn. If I want this scarf to be 55-65″ long (that’s a good length for me), it will have to be quite narrow. But not too narrow! After completing 3 border repeats the scarf dry-blocked to 11″ wide. That’s exactly the width specified in the pattern, and the same width as the Fir Cone scarf.

Which brings me to the second reason: I decided to knit this gorgeous STF Atropos on US 3 circs (these ones). My yarn overs have a little more breathing room (compared to knitting with smaller needles: US 0-1.5 would be my typical choice for such fine yarn), so 3 repeats seems exactly right. Four is out of the question, and 5 would make a scarf too wide and not long enough, I think.

On this, my fourth knitaversary, three repeats it is. I love that knitting allows me to make this modification, just like that 😉 [snaps fingers].

*Small, but very important side note: what I’m affectionately calling the 21-25 scarf pattern can be found on page 100 of Victorian Lace Today (review/preview). Its official name is “Scarf with edging 21 and insertion 25 from The Knitted Lace Pattern Book, Thompson Bros., Kilmarnock, Scotland, 1850.” I think you can see why an abbreviation was in order.


62 thoughts on “I’m not a psychic (it’s a good thing)

  1. catherine

    oh wow. congrats on the knitaversary! i actually knit that edging for another scarf, and did a different center. it’s quite a fun pattern, isn’t it? of course, mine was in bulky weight wool, and yours looks a lot nicer. 🙂

  2. Deb

    Happy Knitaversary!

    I, too, have reactions to numbers. And like the Greeks, Romans and many ancient tribes, three IS a lucky and perfect number. (and prime.. I seem to much prefer prime numbers).

    The scarf’s beginning look beautimous!

  3. tantej

    Happy Knitaversary! May there be many, many more.

    21-25 was fab in 5. It will be just as great in 3. Who needs 4? On to your 5th year of knitting. Yeah!

  4. Sunnyknitter

    Happy blogiversary! And repeat what Deb said above and think of me going “Exactly!”

  5. Linda M

    Hi, I made that scarf last year in Pumpkin Seasilk and loved it and I think it will be fabulous in your special yarn. I’m wondering though, and I don’t remember for sure, but if you make the edging narrower,will you have enough stitches when you knit across the top of the edging to start the body of the scarf?

  6. Cara

    Ditto on the numbers thing. I can’t even tell you how crazy I was when they told me the date for my daughter’s birth. C-a-r-a-z-y!! Thankfully I made it all work in my head.

    I’m really glad you’re here for your 4th! Thanks for all you do!

  7. kmkat

    Of course four is bad. Three or five or even seven of anything is much more attractive, whether it is plants in the garden or repeats in a scarf. Happy knittaversary!

  8. Jena (the yarn harpy)

    Happy Knitaversary! 🙂

    I have wicked number things, too. I’ve had to explain to my husband many times that the thermostat absolutely *cannot* be set to 67F, it’s just not okay (and other numbers, too, but this one stuck out to me when he did it). He completely could not understand what he said were my insane ravings about good numbers and bad numbers and proclaimed me “incomprehensible”. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  9. Beverly

    …If I want this scarf to be 55-65″ long (that’s a good length for me)…

    I read somewhere that when making a scarf, it should be in length roughly the same as the recipient’s height. Any truth to that in your opinion?

  10. Helen

    I’m so sorry that 4 is a bad number for you; it’s my favorite. And I love that it’s a square and 16 is a big fave too.

    But then again, I was born on a Friday the 13th. :o)

  11. LadyPru

    I find that numbers are not good or bad, but they are masculine or feminine.

    1 = male, 2 = male, 3 = male, 4 = female, 5 = male, 6 = female, 7 = male, 8 = female, 9 = female, 0 = neutral

    If a number with double digits ends with 4, 6, 8 or 9, it’s female. If it begins with any of those numbers, it’s female, even if it ends with a male number, ie; 14 = female, 41 = female.

    Hoo boy, I just realized that I am very weird.

  12. Kar

    Happy Knitaversary – I can’t believe you have only been knitting for four years. It looks like you should have been doing it since you were an infant.

    Your comments about numbers got me thinking – 3 and 5 are fibonacci numbers…. so if 8 and 13 are also ok with you perhaps that might be something to look into… I used them for working out good proportions for stripes in a jumper once… these “naturally” occurring number combos are found in things like seashells etc.

  13. Grace

    Four is a very bad number in Chinese culture. It resembles the word for death.

    Most buildings in Taiwan skip the 4th floor, just as buildings in the US skip the 13h floor.

  14. Sally

    Happy knitaversary! I think ours are amazingly close. I learned to knit in June 4 years ago!

  15. Mintyfresh

    happy knitaversary! i wonder if, if i asked my mom, we could trace back to when she first taught me. it was 22 years ago, though, so it may be lost forever!

  16. Fay

    Happy knitaversary!

    I beg to differ with Deb’s comment; 3 is *not* perfect. A number is called perfect when it is the sum of its positive divisors, i.e. 6 = 1 + 2 + 3 and 1, 2, 3 are divisors of 6. (6 as a divisor into itself is excluded.)

  17. Donna B

    Happy knitaversary! Four is not bad, just retiring. Five is dashing and debonair… But three is just right for the 21-15 scarf!

  18. Jen

    De-lurking to say congrats on four years!! I’m currently living in Korea and four is a bad number here. The number four sounds like the word for death in Korean, so often times they’ll have no fourth floor in a building! I think four is also a bad number for the Chinese. Maybe you were just born on the wrong continent…. it seems that four has bad connotations in Asia!

    (Relating to numbers, if you say eighteen in Korean it sounds like a swear word, so they don’t say eighteen… not sure how they get around that!)

  19. Holli

    Happy Knitaversary. May you have many, many, more. I love your blog and your witty way of writing everything.



  20. becky c.

    Ladypru, I am just as weird as you. (Except 4 is a boy and 5 is a girl on my planet.) Letters also have genders, but I will spare the sane among you from elaborating.

  21. polinium

    I have to agree with Helen. I really love the fact that 4 is a square, it’s a happy number for me. I do think that odd numbers are better for scarf repeats though, I like having a nice central panel.

  22. Roadchick

    Odd numbers are always more aesthetically pleasing because of the sense of balance to them. There is a definite center point and a balanced number of objects to each side.

    3, 5, 7 – all good numbers.

    Evens make me uncomfortable, from a design perspective.

  23. Diana - New York City

    Happy Knitaversay, Kathy!

    Please keep up the great looking blog – it’s fun to visit here and see what you’re up to.

  24. AnaMarie

    I also LOVE Victorian Lace Today! Got it less than a month ago and have already completed two projects.

    Congrats on the Knitaversary, and as a side note, I am moving to Japan and therefore learning about their culture, and they also have a stigma about the number four.

  25. Anisa

    The Chinese have good and bad luck associated with basically all the small numbers, and I think four is pretty much the worst one. It’s all based on the pronunciation of the number and whether it sounds like another word that’s good or bad.

  26. Aunt Kathy

    Too funny about the number 4, me I don’t like the number 6. But 1, 3, 5 and 7, 21 and yes 13 are my favorites. I wonder if there is a medical term for this condition???

  27. JulieM

    Congratulations on the anniversary that shall not be numbered! I enjoy reading about your knitting and sewing adventures and seeing the modifications you make to your work. You inspire me to try things I wouldn’t otherwise do. Thank you!

  28. Janie

    Wow – I have issues with numbers too. The main one obviously being that all even numbers sound younger than odd ones. Which results in me rounding up my age on those oh so frequent odd years.

  29. Marin

    Happy Knitaversary, of course.

    And I’m so with you on four. Four is the one number I consistently can’t count to. I believe four to be possessed by evil gypsies or something.

  30. Alexandra

    4 is a bad number in China, since it sounds like the word for death (they’re both “si”, but with different tones and characters.) 8, however, is considered fortuitous. This comes out in weird ways, like phone numbers and license places with an abundance of 8s in them being more expensive, and ones with 4s being cheaper.

    I definitely also get the weird numerical associations. I’m not a fan of anything containing the number 3 that isn’t also a multiple. It’s weird, I know.

    Anyway, I’m also working on that scarf right now, and am loving it. Good luck with it!

  31. Karen S

    Happy knitaniversary! Brilliant knitter as you are, you should have your aniversary celebrated with pomp and circumstance 😉

    And by the way, I (kindly) disagree that 4 is a bad number… I’m born on the 4th 😉

  32. Beth

    Happy knitaversary. I usually just lurk but an occasion like this merits congrats. I enjoy your blog a lot. And to learn you’ve only been knitting for 4 years…makes my 8 years look more like 8 months. You are very accomplished! Thanks for writing this blog.

  33. jen

    Happy Knitaversary! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knitting on the blog. I’ve learned so much from you over the years!

  34. Jennifer

    Wow! That’s quite an impressive accomplishment for only being 4. I’m duly awed. I can hardly wait to see what comes in the next 4 years.

  35. Norma

    Happy knitaversary. I love the story that you mistook knit for crochet and intended to learn crochet…LOVE IT.

  36. Katy

    Kathy – I think you might consider the Fibonacci sequence as to why you don’t like 4 – i.e.

    “A Fibonacci Sequence is a sequence of numbers where a term is the sum of the two terms before it. It is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… ” so — no 4!!

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