Knitting Badly Well

A chapter of the recent critically-acclaimed book Successful Failure chronicles, in part, the success of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus despite his flawed swing. The key, Nicklaus said, was “playing badly well.”

Perhaps the book was trying to make some point about finding success even when you’re not at your best, blah blah blah, or whatever. That’s probably the conclusion people who “are able to read” would draw. But why listen to those snobs with their first-grade-or-higher education? I choose to interpret the story of Jack Nicklaus to mean that you don’t have to do something well in order to do it awesomely. All you have to do is turn off the part of your brain that says the preceding sentence makes no sense.

Which brings me back to knitting. In the time since my last post on this blog, I slowly learned that I don’t knit particularly well. But that doesn’t mean I don’t knit awesomely.

Oh wait, that’s exactly what it means. Dammit, brain.

As with most of my problems in life, I blame law school for the problem of my stunted growth as a knitter. I had a paper due last Wednesday night for one of my law classes, which meant I needed to skip my second knitting class to finish it. Some people might suggest that the real problem, then, is not law school, but my own procrastination. But those people can be dismissed as jerks.

Regardless of where the real blame lies (still totally law school), I wasn’t able to make Round 2 of Knitting. I’m guessing that the women of the class noted my absence and decided that “the guy who sucked at knitting” just couldn’t cut it. If I knew anyone in the class better, I might have alerted them about my completely unavoidable conflict. But the only person I talked to much in Week One was well-into-her-90s Victoria, and her telephone probably looks something like this:

No. Wait. That one doesn’t look old enough.

Hmm. Closer. Let’s try one more time.

There you go. However, using the above photo of Alexander Graham Bell seems a little less funny once I realized that his and Victoria’s lives literally overlapped. Wow she’s old.

But I already misjudged Victoria once only to find out she was just a little facepaint away from being the world’s biggest sports superfan. For all I know, she has an iPhone 5 and is downloading a gangsta rap app as we speak so she can listen to her boys from N.W.A.

But regardless of the conclusion about my absence reached by the church ladies (and yes, the phrase “church ladies” does make me think of a group of Dana Carveys), more than a week off knitting meant I completely forgot the entire process. I finally picked my knitting needles back up over the weekend while watching football and proceeded to bludgeon the thread with all the precision of a drunk baby playing “Operation.”

I kept splitting strands of thread with my needles, which meant that the fairly simple process of getting thread on a needle became difficult. And when the simple parts became difficult, the difficult parts became kind of like learning Mandarin while solving a rubik’s cube blindfolded. Even once I started to get the hang of knitting again, after a week and a half without practice, there was something noticeably…off about the results:

That left edge? It’s supposed to be perfectly straight. I have zero clue as to how it ended up like this. One theory is that a couple of my accidental splits of strands of thread weren’t corrected, and somehow resulted in extra columns on the left. A second, more plausible, theory is that it wasn’t my fault at all, but the demon Cthulhu messed it all up whenever I wasn’t looking as part of some evil plan.


Regardless of how the problems started (Cthulhu), I eventually got them under control. I’ve done a couple rows of stitches without any problems, and I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll. I’ve been knitting badly, but I’m doing it well.

When I went to my first knitting class, one of the women asked what I wanted to make. I hadn’t considered that question at all, and said so. Someone suggested I make a scarf, since that’s easy enough. Sounded good to me, so that’s the goal: make myself a scarf.

So far, I’m up a library card holder:

Hopefully my neck doesn’t get cold anytime soon.

5 thoughts on “Knitting Badly Well

  1. When I was learning to crochet, I tried to make a scarf, too. Three years after not finishing it, someone suggested I should have started with a pot holder. I thought I would pass this tip along to you 🙂 I still never made the pot holder.

    • Haha, that’s usually probably very good advice. But I’ve missed enough stitches that if I’d gone with a pot holder, I probably would burn myself badly by using it, adding injury to failure.

      Right now, it appears I’m just making an amorphous blob of yarn (which was my secret goal all along).

      • Well, congratulations are in order, then! You’ve already reached your first goal!

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