Seed stitch looks like this (image from Knitting For Dummies):
It's a rough, bumpy texture that feels like it's full of tiny knots. I prefer textures that are soft and smooth, especially in things I'm going to wear. In the case of this shawl, it puzzled me that the texture switched so abruptly from nice squishy garter stitch to basically the opposite.
Not only does it feel uncomfortable, it's also annoying to knit. It goes something like this:
Cast on any number of stitches.
Setup: *knit 1, purl 1* across.
Row 1: Purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches.
Repeat Row 1 as many times as you want.
Seed stitch is a perfect combination of being really boring and needing lots of focus. I find it very easy--and I've spoken to a number of other knitters to agree with me--to forget that on each stitch, you have to do the opposite of what you did to it in the previous row.
It's easy, especially if your mind has a tendency to wander, to do the same thing you did before, and then you end up with ribbing, which looks totally different and is much softer and stretchier.
I'd been really enjoying working on this shawl as a sort of mindless fidgety knitting, and I didn't want to switch abruptly to a technique that required more of my attention just to end up with a texture I don't care for. So I went hunting for alternatives. The new stitch had to:
- Be reversible, so it would lie flat.
- Be softer than seed stitch.
- Alternate knit and purl stitches in a way that looked kind of like seed stitch.
- Look good when I add stitches to one end of each row and subtract them from the other, which is how the basic shape of the shawl is made.
The best-looking and -feeling answer I came up with was Little Pyramids, which looks like this:
Don't be afraid to modify patterns if there's something in them you don't like. There is always a way to avoid seed stitch.