Hitchhikers Everywhere

I had not heard of the Hitchhiker scarf pattern by Martina Behm until Thor and I moved to the Pacific Northwest.  It seems that on least 2 out of every 3 trips shopping I bump into someone wearing that scarf (in different colors and weights).  Last week while selecting mushrooms, I asked the scarf-wearing lady next to me about her scarf.  Pleased I noticed her scarf, she proudly told me she knit it using the Hitchhiker pattern.

The pattern is available on Ravelry.  In a few days I head to California for the holidays, and I’d like to knit something easy, fast but nice for a couple of my closest Hitchhiker_yarnsfriends.  As I rarely knit with anything heavier than a DK weight and given the time crunch, I thought this pattern would be perfect.  With my friends’ favorite color palates in mind, I bought skeins of Alegria (75% superwash wool, 25% polymide, 445y/425m/100g) by Manos Del Uruguay.

The pattern is indeed a quick knit, but I’m finding it mind-numbingly tedious in its repetitive simplicity. Oh well.

The pattern is written in a narrative format.  This format – as anyone who reads my blog posts or knows me personally – is not my preferred form.  Perhaps I am  particularly critical about instructions because I was a college professor.  To be a good professor beyond research, publication and currency with one’s discipline requires excellent teaching skills, which, in turn, require both an understanding and mastery of student learning methods.  We should be careful to not teach only to the average student.  Superior teaching methods should grab the attention, help and encourage the below-the-mean student while maintaining the interest and encouraging continued excellence from the higher-performing student.  (Of course, this can be challenging to accomplish!)

Bringing this into patterns … as I’ve posted and explained in earlier blogs, a well-written pattern should be more than a running narrative, no matter how well written.   While the Hitchhiker pattern is based on an easy 8-row repeat, there is a shifting that occurs.  For instance, I noted that Behm does not include the number of stitches on each row.  That is a good way for newer or less confident knitters to periodically check to ensure they are on the right track and haven’t dropped or added stitches.

Having seen the finished scarf, I knew there was a repeating pattern, and that is clearly set out in the pattern.  I first wrote out (by hand) the basic formula and then transferred it to Excel.  Of course I can’t post my rewrite, but I can share how you can use Excel formulas in pattern writing.  For anyone who has the Hitchhiker pattern and a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel or Numbers) – or, for that  matter, a pencil and paper – take a peek.

Please note that the top horizontal row contains column titles A, B, C, D & E, which have no relation to the letters A-E in cells B3:B5.  In cells B3:B10 you would insert the base number of stitches in each completed row in the setup Rows 1-8 as explained in the pattern.  The formulas in B15:B22 pull the numbers from cells B3:B10.

It’s not exactly a Fibonacci sequence, but you get the idea.  🙂

HitchikerRewrite1

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Knitting, Miscellany, Pattern Construction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Hitchhikers Everywhere

  1. I find those types of projects good for long train rides or while watching movies!

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  2. rmpbklyn says:

    thanks for the warning. I’s so bored with the 10 stitch, hard to keep motivated at times

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  3. Beth says:

    I love Hitchhiker, but I also find them tedious, not quite boring, but tiresome. Thanks for the follow!

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  4. I have driven through Redding oh so many times … I thought it had cold winters?!

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  5. The Knotty Kntter says:

    I have knit this pattern too! I see it all the time. Ha! I’m in Redding CA where it doesn’t get cold enough to need a heavy scarf, so this pattern seems to be very popular here.

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  6. Kay McKellar says:

    Thank you. Have tried that without success. Perhaps it is due to my search criteria.

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  7. I would suggest visiting its Ravelry page and looking at knitters’ comments. There’s a good chance somebody has done this before! 🙂

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  8. Kay McKellar says:

    Can anyone explain what the increase rate should be to make a deeper Hitchhiker or, for that matter a deeper Phi. Have made both. Love them. Want the triangle deep but am not a math genius. Can’t find documented mods any where.

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  9. The pattern is actually very forgiving should you be off a stitch or two. But I know many people do not want to be off a stitch or two!

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  10. Well at least this isn’t about itchy hitchhikers! I hate it too when stitch counts aren’t included, my maths, my knitting and my confidence can’t cope! Happy knitting, beautiful yarn. 🙂

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  11. Thank you. I am so glad you find it useful!

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  12. Thank you. I think using Excel well demands unequivocal numerical instructions or algorithms, thus forcing the author to be exact.

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  13. Oh my gosh that is the most useful thing I’ve ever encountered with excel I will definitely use it thank you!

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  14. needleandspindle says:

    I first found your blog through your posts about styles of knitting pattern writing and it really changed the way I think about patterns and the way I write my own. Your concise tabular style permits the knitter to see right into the heart of the heart off the pattern, in a way that facilitates modification. Excel is also a particularly useful tool for knitters. Great demonstration in how to use it for a specific task.

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  15. salpal1 says:

    lol – but I bet you are better about finishing than I am. If I had that many going, I would never finish anything, and just want to start more. 🙂

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  16. I agree – though generally I have 4-5 WIP – a project for every occasion! 🙂

    ____________________ Sent from my iPhone

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  17. salpal1 says:

    you are right, there are always times when a good easy pattern is perfect. That is why I have my two WIP rule instead of just one. I usually have a simple project and a complicated one going. Although, right at this moment due to Christmas, I have two simple,boring ones malingering on my needles. I should go knit on them right now…

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  18. Yes indeed, though a forewarning in allows you to forearm! Great knitting for crowded plane flights, overnight train travel or those days you are home with a nasty cold, sitting on the couch and watching movies. 🙂

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  19. salpal1 says:

    I haven’t done a Hitchhiker yet, but see it all over wordpress. Good to know it will get boring. 🙂 I do like how you break things down and lay them out logically. I use spreadhseets for my knitting and crocheting often to keep track of patterns, color sequences etc. Charts are a great tool.

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  20. True! I saved one Hitchhiker scarf for my train ride home. I can knit mindlessly while sitting and admiring the vistas and sipping coffee. 🙂

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  21. I have made a couple of hitchhikers as gifts and agree– tedious! But they look great and I like to balance a mindless project (good for the car) with a harder one. I wish I could design a pattern that goes viral! She must be making a fortune from it.

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