Cultivate Not Knowing

One weekend, not too long ago, I began sifting through my stash to find that perfect yarn to begin the equally perfect project.

My grand plan was to begin working on a new summer tunic with some fabulous lace yarn that’s been in my stash for months. However, my fickle mind began to have interests elsewhere, and I succumbed to my desire to pour the contents of my basket out in front of me, and began to analyze the exciting play of color and texture. When I do this exercise, my mind races with wild ideas, and I’m filled with indecision over which yarn or stitch pattern to cast on with. When I finally pick up my needles and yarn, to my surprise, some unexpected stitches seem to flow off the needle.


Allowing myself to be free to experiment brings forth learning experiences that I may not have otherwise discovered if I had taken a more “academic” approach to my knitting. I highly suggest venturing into some unknown waters from time to time and “cultivate,” not knowing what will come next. If you’re not sure where to start, why not cast on 20 or so stitches and just knit every row until your hands decide what comes next? I find that just the soothing action of knitting and the texture of yarn gliding through my fingers often evokes thoughts of adventurous new stitches.


In this video, I encourage you to spend some time experimenting with your knitting and playing around with a stitch pattern. You never know what will emerge from your needles, and you’re bound to have fun learning while you discover something new and unexpected.

click to watch video

click image to watch video

Why not be a little daring and start with a size 7 needle, then jump up to a 15 or down to a 3? What happens when you change your needle size? What happens to the shape of your swatch and the look of your yarn? Do you like a tight collection of stitches, or do you favor a loose mesh-like fabric? Sometimes the combination of some simple stitch combinations can result in a swatch that yields unexpected results. We may often think we need a knitting pattern for guidance, and that jumping into unknown waters can be scary, but why not give it a try? You’ll broaden your own sense of creative expression and empower yourself to take some safe risks in your knitting.

3 Responses to Cultivate Not Knowing

  1. georgegott says:

    very wise and insightful! I am definitely going to try this!!! Sometimes I am scared to venture off but I think I should try! I've only been knitting since you taught me when I was 13!! I think I'm somewhat experienced enough to experiment!

  2. Kara Gott Warner says:

    I think you should give it a try, it will definitely broaden your horizons.

    Don't be afraid– just sit and swatch 🙂

  3. Pat Robinson says:

    When travelling, I like to do this – done it for years. Only thing is that sometimes I don’t get to finish a project to my liking; now, I have some unfinished projects — so I must pick them up again a complete the task. I just love knitting – I’ve always got needles in my purse or project bag ready to go!

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