"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few!"
That pretty much sums up my creative focus right now. Since the wool business naturally slows a little at this time of year, I've elected to drop the store update frequency to every other week for the next three months, and indulge in some of the learning and exploration that inevitably seems to fall to the bottom of the Doing list during the busy season. I've set myself a loose curriculum of knitting, poetry, garment design, geometry, photography, and the math and physics of natural pattern formation.
Beginner's mind is a wonderfully illuminating way to approach knitting, and I have to credit Teva Durham with opening my eyes to that aspect. Early in my foray into blogging, I felt intimidated by the prevalance of extreme expertise in the online knitting world - there seemed to be a superior way to do everything from casting on to cabling, and I felt a frisson of anxiety showing my work, lest I be looked down on as gauche and unworthy. I was knitting Teva's ballet top from Loop-d-Loop, and did a bit of a double-take at the use of kfb as the increase stitch. Nevertheless, I suspected that a cutting edge designer might have a reason for using a "beginner's" increase, and followed her directions to the letter. Indeed she did, and as the garment progressed I was transfixed by the way every single stitch served a mindfully choreographed purpose, both functional and esthetic. In that moment I realized that every loop and technique has its own intrinsic character and beauty - the key to successful design is a full and mindful understanding of each.
Which partly explains the slow progress of the Mindful Swatching series - I embark on a topic, and just as the post is nearly complete, realize an entire possibility or property I've overlooked. I'm on no deadline though, and hurry would defeat the purpose of this journey. (Admittedly, the recent rainy twilight hasn't entirely facilitated photography, and more Ott lights aren't in the budget just yet.)
Even on a dim and drizzly day, however, there is an inexhaustible supply of subjects worth a closer look: