I'm reading some Elizabeth Zimmerman books... and what she says makes perfect sense to me, I feel the same way!
I really think she is right when she says that our hands somehow remember what to do with yarn and knitting needle as soon as we pick them up. You just have to let go of preconceptions about patterns, about how things are "supposed to be" done.. your fingers will know what to do.
I love her word "unvent" and its definition. While knitting, we don't invent things, even though it may seem that way to us. It is more unventing, like unearthing something ancient, maybe long forgotten, but still there, somewhere in our subconscious, patterns that our hands remember, even if our mind doesn't. That is what knitting feels like to me.
When I pick up some yarn, I may have a vague idea about what I might want to do with it, maybe it is my daughter's favorite color, so I know that it should be something for her, or maybe it feels right for some specific garment... As I start casting on, some shape starts materializing in my head. Usually it is still somewhat vague at this time, but it helps me figure out how many stitches to cast on. Usually by the second or third row I have a pretty good idea of what I am making (on a lucky day).
The pattern itself just shows up as I go along. It really seems that my fingers just take over and remember some long forgotten pattern that my ancestors used, or something I have seen my grandma make when I was very little. Yes, when I am knitting I am going back to my roots, sometimes to the most ancient ones.