Beginner’s Mind

On Friday, February 4th I launched my 10,000 hour long journey. For eight straight hours I sat and knitted. (Full disclosure: I had a friend teach me to cast-on, knit, purl, and bind-off and had completed two small sample squares just prior to the 4th.)

I white-knuckled my way through the first four hours with my needles clenched in a death-grip for fear the yarn would fly off the needles unraveling itself. By the last (eighth) hour my fingers were no longer acting under the direction of my brain. They were cramped and wiggly and it took immense concentration to make them move where I wanted them to move. So for my first bit of knitting-related research I looked up how to prevent Repetitive Stress Injury while knitting.

I have based this entire journey on the research of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson. I am in the midst of reading his book, which is rather dry as it was written for other scientists. But a much shorter & easier read is this article. It’s important to note that it must be 10,000 hours of deliberate practice & training. I can’t just knit & purl my way through a mile’s worth of stockinette stitched scarfs.

I have committed myself not only to knit for 10,000 hours but to constantly push myself to learn new techniques, receive feedback & training, and stretch myself. In other words, I’ve committed myself to 10,000 hours of being awkward and uncomfortable, forcing myself to be a beginner every day by always seeking something new to learn & accomplish in my knitting. I’ve made a commitment that will ultimately change me; constant transformation is the real goal, not fancy stitches (although that should be fun too.)