All the Reasons I Will Never Win An Olympic Medal

Knitting a hat with Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Sugar Plum.

There are so many reasons why I never win things, Olympic (knitting) medals* in particular. Yes, I practice. I can knit. I do it all the time. Here’s the thing: practice isn’t enough.

One must prepare to be a winner.

When I finally found myself on the sofa late Friday night ready to watch the Olympics after frantically getting everything ready to launch the Linto Creek Cowl pattern (did you see it?!?!), I was a Big Hot Knitting Mess (BHKM).

Yes, I had my yarn. And needles. I knew my yarn would become a hat. But that’s where it all ended.

There is the difference between a so-so Olympian and a medal -winning Olympian. I am the so-so Olympian.

Fail #1. The Cast On.

My first long-tail cast on suffered from a too-short tail, causing me to re-do my cast-on 100 stitches in. Bad judgement on my part.

Fail #2. The Swatching.

Uh, swatching? I had pseudo-prepared by knitting and soaking a basic stockinette swatch** the previous night so I could at least figure out how many stitches to cast on. This wasn’t enough. As I sat and pondered what kind of hat I was going to knit (for the first time), I considered a herringbone stitch brim. I hadn’t knit herringbone before. Is it roll-proof like the linen stitch, or does it still roll?*** I HAD NO IDEA.

I knit some and couldn’t tell. (I did like the stitch though).

I Googled “does herringbone stitch roll?” and got nowhere. How can Google know so much about knitting and not be able to answer this very simple question for me? (Although Google didn’t write back, “How should I know, you ninny. Didn’t you swatch?” So at least there’s that.)

I did a bit of YouTubing herringbone stitch videos but couldn’t manage to watch the Olympics and YouTube at the same time. My brain just isn’t that coordinated.

Like I said, I was a BHKM. And I still didn’t have an answer.

Fail #3. Cave Under Pressure

I was too lazy/frantic/ready-to-just-knit to swatch herringbone like I should have to resolve my whole will-it-won’t-it roll. Instead I unraveled, cast on a THIRD time and went with a rib of sorts.

Not for the first time, I simply panicked at the starting line. Maybe my next little disaster will involve some herringbone. Sigh.

Fail#4. Settle for Slow

Here’s the thing about winning Olympians: they don’t settle. They do what it takes to win. Me? I settle. This hat isn’t going anywhere quickly. But it is going. At my own pace. Medal or not, that’s a win in my book.

Administrative Notes

*There is a new thread for posting your final Olympic Knitathon yardage and any FOs here. (Although recall your knit does not have to be finished by the end of the Olympics to qualify for competition. Just be sure to log your final distance (yardage).

**Last night I discovered said swatch deep within the horribly frightening dregs of Reed’s hoarder-style backpack along with a gallon of trash and recycling that has since been removed. Apparently he told dad I said he could have the swatch. Uh, no.

***I have this thing against rolling, especially in hat brims.

This week as always, I am joining the Yarn Along. I am still singularly focused on the final bits of the fourth Neapolitan novel+. I truly recommend reading this series. It has been fabulous.

+Affiliate link. Thank you for being you!

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  • Reply pat August 10, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Your post made me feel much better. I decided to knit the Saroyan shawl. No big deal. Easy stitches yada, yada, yada. Except that I felt compelled to get this shawl done. That kinda ruined it for me. I knit for pleasure and relaxation (even the tough patterns) and knowing that I had to finish it by a certain date took all the joy out of the project. I did a mental u-turn and made up my mind that it will get done when it gets done.

  • Reply stephanie young August 10, 2016 at 5:44 am

    I don’t participate in any of the knitting along with the olympics stuff because I’m officially still in training. you see, those folks actually see things through to the END….and don’t have a closet-full of false starts. If anything this olympic season….i’m seeing how many things already on the needles I can get OFF the needles to a satisfactory finish. (Note: there is NO expectation of a gold finish!)

  • Reply Carmen N August 10, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I’ve found I can’t “compete” with other knitters – I’m slow and I don’t have much crafting time each day. Also, knitting is supposed to be FUN and relaxing – if it’s not, then maybe I’m pushing too hard.
    Your reason #1 is exactly why I learned the knit cast-on this year. No more guessing for long tail when you have a large number of stitches!

  • Reply Sarah August 10, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I participate in so few community knitting types of things because I don’t have the mental energy it takes to keep up with anything more in my life. I often put some “I shoulds” to it and think I need to try until I remember that I’m not even thinking about being an Olympic winner and just want to give my loved ones and myself warm beautiful treasures. Period. Good luck with your hat brim!!

  • Reply Paula @ Spin a Yarn August 10, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Oh, you are making me feel so much better! I started out strong on Friday, limped along on Saturday (due to wine tasting…now if that doesn’t take priority, what does?), kept going strong on Sunday and then was sidelined by injury. I haven’t knit in two whole days 🙁 It’s all about the yardage, right? Who says I have to finish a shawl in two weeks 🙂

  • Reply Sierra August 10, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I’ve found that the pattern that I picked is not conducive to Olympics watching. Too many cables and too much moss stitch. I keep missing all the awesome gymnastics as I look down at my pattern!

  • Reply Cathie J August 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Your persistance makes you an Olympian because that is definitely needed in the pursuit of a medal. Your hat is looking pretty. Enjoy your knitting.

  • Reply Stefanie August 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t plan on winning any Ravellenics medals either. I hit my first glitch in knitting the Wayfarer Hat, my own stupid mistake – I forgot to switch up to larger needles so I have to rip back four rounds, but just ain’t ready to do that yet.

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise August 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

    you are too funny! that is why I resist signing up, I know the pressure there is to knit on a deadline, even a self imposed fun one…

  • Reply knittedblissjc August 13, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    the best laid plans, am I right? I love that the swatch was squirreled away in the backpack, kids are hilarious.

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