OK, not entirely free. Being a linguist, I'm going to ask for words in exchange for the yarn. Sorry.
See, here's the deal (incoming confession of incompetence): I am a bad memorizer. Really, really bad. So bad that when I took my Master's orals, I could not think of the name of a single relevant theorist. I could outline their theories, discuss the relationships among them, even quote some of what they'd said, but when it came down to producing their names, I was reduced to saying things like "It's that guy, you know, the Polish one, with the belted l in the middle of his name? With the cool theory? YOU know." (alas, this is what I actually said) And of course, they DID know, because they were the professors, and I was not, and more to the point, I'm the one with the memorization problem. (For the record, I did pass. But the shame of that sentence up there remains.)
I manage this problem by avoiding straight-up memorization at all costs. I am all about reasoning things out from first principles. The benefit of this is that if something gets forgotten (and we've all had this happen), I can go back and figure out what it is that I was supposed to know. I tell my students this all the time: forget memorizing lists of nouns (mostly 'cause that's never gonna work), and learn how to recognize one when you meet it. Forget remembering the features of gendered linguistic behavior and go out and watch some men and women talk. You'll find much more interesting data that way.
So, this works fine in my professional life (barring the occasional bits where I blather about Polish names and belted l's). However, not so much in knitting, where it means that I can't seem to remember simple pattern repeats for the life of me. I'm talking simple here, people -- six stitches and four rows. Beyond me. It is starting to be a problem in that I enjoy knitting socks that have nifty things going on with them, but I also enjoy knitting socks because, in theory, I don't need to carry a pattern with me. I can knit a basic pair of socks sans pattern, no problem. But add some lacework, a little cabling, and I'm stuck to my pattern notes like glue. This limits the portability of many projects. I know people who say that they knit a pattern repeat once or twice and BAM they've got it. Not me. As a ray of hope, I am OK at recognizing where I am in a pattern by looking at the stitches on the needles; I just don't know where to go next without my bits of paper.
Here's where I've decided to lean on you guys for a little bit of help. I'm hoping that you can help free me from the tyranny of little bits of paper (at least for the smaller sorts of patterns; I'm not looking for miracles). If you leave a comment letting me know how you remember patterns, I'll put your name in a drawing for these two skeins of sock yarn:
These are two skeins of Gypsy Girl Creations, fingering weight, in the colorway Brindle. In spite of the fuzziness of these pictures, they're quite beautiful, in a warm, fall-colory sort of way. But so desperate am I to rid myself of the aforementioned tyranny that I am willing to part with some of my beloved yarn. So, commenting with ideas on learning a pattern gets you an entry, commenting telling me that I'm not alone in my clueless state gets you an entry, and anyone coming to comment who mentions that they got here through your blog gets you an extra entry (be sure to leave either a blog or email address so I can let you know if you've won). I'll do the drawing on Thursday (the 25th) before leaving town on Friday morning (for Houston, but this is another story); I SO want not to be juggling patterns whilst sitting in a very small airplane seat next to a very mobile 6-year-old. Please, folks, I'm desperate.