Inventing as you go, or The Art of Failure

The idea of failure has preventing me from doing many things in my life thus far. Those things would be impossible to enumerate simply by virtue of their varied compositions - how can one quantify failure when in some instances it is the merest action, perhaps the inability to introduce myself for fear of sounding or appearing foolish, while in other instances it is a larger slight, the failure of turning away international travel for fear of the unknown. It is really all perception, when you get right down to it, because at the outset the missed trip may seem more important than the person, however, that person I failed to meet could have changed my whole life, whereas that trip may have just been a happy blip of leisure in my existence - one appears small while the other appears large, but appearances change upon examination of the resultant effect. One can't know how large or small a failure truly is because the failure is measured by an outcome that has not come into existence.
Is Schrödinger's cat alive or dead?
photo courtesy of

I've lived my whole life sheltered under an umbrella of fear. I missed both sunny and rainy days alike for fear of the absolute sky, and so I missed the expanse of the heavens, the stars, the planets, everything but the sight of my feet trudging along beneath me. I've been so afraid of failing that I'm failing constantly, every day, just by not doing and trying. 
Knitting has allowed me to fail, and gloriously. When I'm making something and I don't quite get it right, whether it's counting too few stitches and winding up with too many inches, or purling when I should have knit, I fail and I love it. I laugh about it. I learn from it. I love to fail in knitting. I know it sounds crazy, but ripping back a couple of rows in a piece of knitting is one of the most gratifying things about knitting something new. Because I know that I am figuring something out, and perfecting it. I know that now that I've been wrong, I can move towards being right.
Like this double knitting I'm doing now.

This piece? The stitches are too big; I'm going to run out of room before I have a chance to make all the letters I need to make. This surprise gift has to fit certain dimensions, otherwise it's completely useless. It was also supposed to be a black letter against a red background, but it's not - its the opposite.
I got as far as the next letter before I figured everything out. I took the measurements and realized it was going to be over 2 inches too long, and so I stopped. Ripped back the 20 or so rows and started over. Started over two more times. Ripped it back a total of 4 times.

I was completely satisfied and actually enjoyed being wrong. There was something really wonderful about it - it was freeing. My mother was horrified, The Doo was frustrated for me: how could I enjoy doing and redoing and redoing and failing in multiplicity?
I honestly don't know how to answer that. But I know it to be true. Knitting has put the umbrella away, and is changing me every day that I'm doing it. I've only been knitting for about a year and a half, and already one of my patterns is being published in a book, I'm writing up patterns of my own, I'm about two months away from quitting my dead-end job and I am reveling in failure. I'm burning in the sun and dancing in the rain, overheated, soaked, totally exposed and loving every minute of it. 
Thanks, knitting. 


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