Up until recently, I hadn't done much lace knitting. I tried a few free patterns on Ravelry (e.g. enja's scarf stole by Åsa Tricosa, Ella by Wendy Wonnacut and Nori by Carissa Browning - all beautiful and well written patterns that I highly recommend), but I ended up frogging most of them because I was too lazy to count, didn't want to concentrate too much on my knitting or rather wanted a pattern that I could easily remember - thus avoiding to carry the printed out pattern with me.
About a year ago, I designed a lacy scarf myself (Seifenblasen Lace Scarf), but the lace pattern wasn't too sophisticated (only two different rows, i.e. really easy to remember :).
Just a while ago, I started experimenting with randomly knitted lace and used it to make e-book, tablet and phone sleeves that I really liked (see tutorial here). However, these are small enough projects (i.e. with a knitting time of a few hours), so it wasn't such an exercise in patience to see the crumply piece on the needles and wait for the blocked and lovely looking end-product. The picture below shows how a small piece of random (or freeform) lace looks before (left hand side) and after (right hand side) blocking.
Moreover, the counting the total number of stitches wasn't much of a problem because there were only about 25 stitches on my needles and I could easily concentrate on the numbers of increases and decreases I had made (the number of increases and decreases needs to be equal in one row to keep the stitch count) or recount the whole row in a jiffy. Plus, there was no pattern to remember, since I made it all up as I went along :)
I really liked the technique and the outcome, so I decided to knit a freeform lace summer scarf or wrap.
Having found some fingering weight yarn in different shades of red, I cast on 50 stitches and started ... however, I didn't exactly go as I planned. I hadn't anticipated that it would be an exercise in concentration to keep track of the increases and decreases during one row - even though I only counted the difference to the original count (i.e. "minus one" after a decrease and "plus one" after an increase). So I ended up counting each row at least once ...
Moreover, it took quite a while to finish the piece - the random lace pieces I had knitted up until then had measured 40 cm max. A scarf or wrap for an adult of my size must be at least 160 cm long and even though the technique is fun, after a while it got a bit boring and repetitive (this is not an instant gratification project, definitely not), I didn't see much progress ... and while knitting it, it wasn't exactly nice to look at. Here's how it looked about half finished. Crumpled and rather unattractive ...
But I gritted my teeth, went on knitting and was really (really, REALLY) happy when yesterday I could finally put it on the blocking board. And I do like the look of it now.
The most ironic thing is, that with that kind of freeform lace, I ended up counting MORE than with regular patterns ... and I had to concentrate much more. However, I think the result made it worth its while. I'm looking forward to wear it as a summer wrap and I guess I will publish a tutorial soon.