Garden Variety

Surprising nobody at all, I'll say this:  Blocking is really important.  As important as knitting.  To get the thing you wanted to get, knitting is only half the job.  All the rest is finishing, wetting, drying, shaping.  And also surprising no one, I'll admit that I can get kind of Zealous about getting the blocking right.  I've been known to block, re-block, and even three-block a project until it looks like the picture I had in my head at the beginning.  Or it just falls to pieces (sorry, polymide blend vest - you never really had a chance with me).  And if I think there is a solid shape or surface in the known universe that will improve the look of my knitting by being forced into/under it, then that shape or surface better surrender to its intended purpose.  I'm looking at you, tupperware bowls of every size.

It is into this world of relentless "improvement" that I brought a hat.  A felted hat, as it happened.  And try though I might, I couldn't find the right base to stretch it over for blocking.  Sometime between attempts 3 and 4 it finally dawned on me that what I needed was just a plain old flower pot.  Slope-sided, plastic if possible, and cheap, if you please.  How hard could that be?  I descended on the garden department of my neighborhood variety store with the confidence of Goldilocks.  There were hundreds of flower pots.  One HAD to be just right.

I proceeded to try my (wet - did I mention?) hat onto various sizes and shapes of pots.  This one was too flimsy.  That one too ridg-y.  This one is too small.  This one is a little tight, but might be good...It went on like that for, um, let's say, 50 pots or so.  Longer than one would think a thing like this would take.  Longer than I wanted, but I had come this far, and I wasn't settling for a sub-par pot this late in the game.

And then I noticed that the CCTV cameras were trained on me.  And I cracked up.  Like in church, when you know you should not be laughing, but that only makes it worse.  I'm all alone in the garden aisle, surrounded by 50 flowerpots that I have been trying a hat on for over half an hour.  I imagined the security team, calling each other to the monitors, gnawing stale donuts and asking each other if I was really dangerous, or just squirrelly as all hell.  I'm sure my barely-stifled fits of laughter were not helping.  "She's going for the terra cotta now.  Honestly, Bob, should we call for backup?"

Which is about the time I realized that the now nearly-dry felt hat was lodged irretrievably onto an almost-too-big flowerpot.  I was standing in the garden aisle, helplessly tugging at a wool felt hat that refused to come loose from its flowerpot, no longer able to stifle my maniacal peals of laughter.

Convinced that my imagined Security Team were closing in, I checked the bottom of the pot, still visible under the hat brim.  Saved.  The UPC tag was there.  I put back all the pots (you're welcome, Security Team of My Imagination), and made my way to the self check-out at the front of the store.  Unwilling to explain myself to a cashier, I scanned my hat/pot combo, paid, and stuck it under my arm.

Back at home, and considerably calmer, I was able to remove the pot from the hat.  And it is now blocked Just Right.

Goldilocks would have been a good knitter, I bet.