Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's Your Magic Number?

Helen, these pictures are for you. Sorry about the nasty light, it's thunderstorming here today.

My magic number is eight or ten. It's the number of rows or rounds in a pattern repeat that I prefer. I love the Rib and Cable sock pattern. I am loving this Shetland Triangle shawl. What do they have in common? Pattern repeats that are short, but not too short. Short enough to memorize, but not so short that they are boring and repetitive. The Shetland Triangle is doubly delicious in this respect, because the pattern repeat is both ten stitches wide and ten rows long.

Do you prefer something very short, like the two-row Jaywalker pattern? Or something very long, so that you work it just a few times and you're done? What's your magic number?


Blogger Ketutar said...

I think 4-6 is kind of nice... :-)

12:37 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...

hmmmm... probably somewhere in the 4-8 range. I just did FI socks that had a longer repeat, but it was simple and easy to read the pattern from the knitting.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

What a lovely surprise, thank you very much. I am a lace infant, having done nothing more ambitious than feather-and-fan and being more of an aran-and-chunky rather than a 2-ply girl, but so many bloggers have said that this is a good starting pattern for lace that I have it on my definite-to-do list.

Do you really not have any stitch markers to help you with the counting, apart from the centre pair?

1:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Helen -- Blogger is not giving me an email for you, so I hope you check back here.

I am not using markers other than the center ones. I tried putting markers around each repeat, but it looked as though they would have to be moved a lot and weren't going to be that helpful. The pattern suggests using markers after the first two sts and before the last two, to mark the garter stitch edges. But I can remember that without markers, and I find them cumbersome.

I am using lifelines, though. You can just see it in the closeup.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

10 or 12 probably. But the kind of repeats that I absolutely love are the kind in which two (or more) different patterns are going that repeat at different intervals. You don't see it in lace very much, but many cabled sweaters have them. Mix an 8 and a 6 or a 10, 6, and 4 and I love it!

1:44 PM  
Blogger Glaistig said...

I think I prefer short too. Probably because that's all I've really done so far (except for the Embossed Leaves socks, which were a 16(?) row repeat). But you lace knitters give me heart!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Midnightsky Fibers said...

My number is decidedly 8. For lace Im not so picky, but at least 8 stittches to the pattern keeps me from getting bored. I decrease tto 8 sttitches for socks (un owrked for short row toes, on each needle for a graft, or total if Im pulling them through), and it tends to be my number for cables (3x3 with p2) as well

2:16 PM  
Blogger jennie said...

Oh, i definitely prefer something that is 6-8 rows, especially when there is variation there. the feather and fan pattern is killing me right now -- i get soooo bored because there are really only two exciting things that happen -- the k2tog and yo row and then the k on the WS row. the rest makes me want to fall over.

p.s. your shawl looks lovely!

2:28 PM  
Blogger --Deb said...

6 to 8-ish sounds about right. I don't MIND doing larger ones, although for those I have to keep referring to the chart, which can get tedious.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

20 to 25 stitches. I don't like short repeats as it usually means changing colors more often. Oops, you weren't talking about Fair Isle? ;-)

3:36 PM  
Blogger jillian said...

I seem to like 2-4 row repeats, but mostly because my mind wanders during knitting and if the pattern is too complex I lose my place. I'm impresesd with those that can memorize 6, 8, 10 rows!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Eight is the magic number, definitely. Definitely!

And this in spite of the fact that in, say, traditional fairy tales, three and seven are the usual magic numbers. But if you check your original texts, you will note that Snow White and Cinderella did very, very little lace knitting.

Just coincidence? I think not.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Olga said...

Oh, I'm boring. I like 2. But Trellis is something wacky, like 16. At least it's a multiple of two!

I'll finally be posting a real post soon, so you'll get a look at what there is of Trellis (not much). And it is definitely because of the unmemorizableness of the charts. This is going to be a long haul, I think, way beyond the Amazing Lace. But when I sit down to do it, I do love it!

I love your new banner and tag line, btw. 69 is definitely my favorite number! (Because I was born that year. Ah-ight?)

4:49 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I like something between 4 and 10.

Beautiful lace!

5:01 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I like both short repeats (like Jaywalker or feather and fan) and about 10 row repeats - a la my Leaf Lace Shawl.
Your lace looks lovely, even with "thunderstorm light."

6:56 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

I'm a 4-6 row gal so far. Lace might make me change my mind, but lately all my brain will handle is a fairly short number of rows. :) Your lace is gorgeous, by the way!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Acornbud said...

8 is good. I love your Shetland triangle. I'm looking for a lovely lace that doesn't require mensa level memory!

10:44 PM  
Anonymous meg said...

I agree, 8 to 10 is a good number for lace & pattern stitches. Love that lace pattern! That'll be one gorgeous shawl!

11:48 PM  
Blogger Coleen said...

I don't know about a magic number, but I do know that shawl is beautiful!

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Kirsten said...

I'm like you. I think I prefer the 8-10 range. Those numbers work well for socks too.
I made the Shetland Triangle, and love it. Yours is beautiful.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Tygher Knits said...

Threes. I have a huge thing for threes. I'm not good enough yet that I can memorize anything but the simplest stitches anyway ... but threes (and multiples thereof) appeal to me.

That Shetland Lace pattern is lovely. Can't wait to see it finished!

11:35 AM  
Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

it really is a very beautiful shawl! when i was working on the leaf lace shawl the repeats were 10 apart... boy that was my magic number ;) i loved it b/c it was so repetitive without boredom! and you could find mistakes easily! i can't wait to see the shetland beauty when its blocked....

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

That's so lovely -- remind me what yarn you're using?

As for repetition, in cables I like pretty short repeats -- 8 rows tops. But with lace I kind of like pretty long row repeats, or changing charts. I like the STITCHES to repeat pretty regularly, though; maybe 12-16 stitches in each repeat is nice for a good rhythmic zen.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Short repeats definitely! I like to memorize quickly so I can travel without a lot of pattern pages. The shawl looks beautiful, I can't wait to see itfinished.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Stephy said...

I loved making the Shetland Triangle, but I think it had more to do with the simplicity of the stitch pattern rather than the number of rows, but yeah, anything over 10 starts to be a drag, but fewer than 10 isn't going to make as satisfying a pattern.

Can't wait to see your finished shawl.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Carola said...

First, amazing scarf!
Second, I have to agree with Rachel. For me the repeat of the stitches counts a lot more than the row number. I don't mind stitch repeats up to 24 st, or row repeats up to 16 or more but it is a great help if I know what I am doing, if you know what I mean. Intuitive, easy to remember... However, I do enjoy smaller repeats or even - gasp! - stockinette stitch as well.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Hi Laura! The shawl is beautiful. It reminds me of my birch...which I still need to finish! I can't believe all of the knitting books you found at Cosco. That is great. I love the Morehouse book..beautiful photographs.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I'm with you - mine's right about 10. I'm enjoying the Frost Flowers Shawl a lot and the basics of that pattern break down into sections that are either 9 or 11. Easy to memorize, not too short so that I'm bored. And the pattern repeat by row is 8 rows. I could go a couple more and still be happy - but less than that, I'm not ready to start over yet. Funny - I never thought about the whole rhythm of it until you asked - but it's definitely like that.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Kate A. said...

I like either very short - 2-4 max - or very long (which in lace counts as about 10 for me, but in Fair Isle many more). I want either to be totally free from the written pattern and able to let my mind wander (or follow a movie), or I want to be totally involved, constantly wondering exactly how it's going to turn out, dying for the moment when I can see it all together.

I also hate markers, and avoid them almost everywhere. I like to have one or two at the center or beginning of a piece in the round, to mark how far along I am in a given row and to prevent major brain-fart errors, but otherwise I prefer to look at the knitting immediately below to check my place - I figure this makes me a better knitter in the long run, and is also a more reliable way to prevent mistakes in the immediate term. But of course there are a few patterns that are almost impossible to "read," but I find that the more I do it the less trouble I have...

5:18 PM  

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