Last summer I came across a book at the library called Knitting Nature, a fascinating collection of knitting patterns that reflect patterns found in - well, nature. I was intrigued by Norah Gaughan's thoughts on this subject and immediately put a hold on a book that inspired her designs, The Self-Made Tapestry.
This second book is pure science, and I found it extremely difficult to understand (except for one night when I read it over ice cream and grasped every concept effortlessly, which adds more evidence to my theory that ice cream fixes everything.)
Those books are probably what made me think of lichen when I saw some yarn in exactly the shade that grows in my neck of the woods, but the fact that it was summer made me think of breezy kerchiefs and tennis.
I looked at some very appealing pictures of lichen and swatched a lot before deciding that you just can't reproduce its exact appearance in knit stitches if you are me in the summer of 2009. But you can capture two essential points:
the symmetry and, at the same time, asymmetry in so many of the world's patterns and
the way living things are all reaching out, all the time - reaching to take what we need to live, perhaps unaware that in achieving that we can be giving, too.
Download .pdf of Lichen