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 friends. 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. 🙂