Battle fatigue

In summers past, I have waged a battle of wills with our 25-year-old air conditioner.  I wanted the house to cool down during the heat of the day; it wanted to drone on, sucking down as much electricity as it could, without letting the house get colder than 78 degrees.  I futzed with the thermostat, bumping up the temperature slowly in the house so the A/C wouldn’t have to work as hard in the afternoon.  I shut it off for a few hours at a time to give it (and our electric bill a break).  I worried about it when we weren’t home and nagged my husband to do something.

We had a repairman out to take a look at it — what would it take to make it cooler in the house?  He shook his head, piped it some more freon, and told us that it was on its last legs.  His suggestion?  Consider replacing it.  That was three years ago.  We soldiered on with the help of floor fans and cloudy days.

This year, as the temperatures in Chicago hit all-time record highs (in the upper 80s) for a solid week in March, I broke down and turned on the A/C.  It coughed out some warmish air and laughed as we tried to coax it to cool down the house.  So we buckled.  Fear of what lay ahead this summer along with preseason sale prices persuaded us to raise the white flag and replace it.

In celebration of a working air conditioner that doesn’t need a permanent nanny (knock wood), I decided to take on my Brambles hat.   I finished it up, wove in the ends, and triumphantly slapped it on my head.

It was too small.

I wish I’d have gotten a picture, but I was too disgusted.  My head looked like it was trying to wear control top pantyhose.  Aerodynamic, yes, but it was Too. Small.  Sigh.

I thought about ripping it out and starting over, but sometimes you know if you rip it, you’ll never work on it again.  Do you have any projects like that?  The ones that are so very disappointing that you decide that you’d rather give them away, throw them out, or burn them rather than redo them?

But this was the vacation yarn, the memory hat.  I couldn’t bring myself to reknit it but I couldn’t just get rid of it either.  So I blocked that sucker within an inch of its woolly life.

I soaked it for a good hour in Soak and lukewarm water.  Then I stretched it over a large dinner plate to dry.

It took a couple of days to dry, and the unwearable hat bloomed into this:

The magic of blocking....

(Yeah, that’s E modeling it for me — it’s hard to get a photo of the back of your head.)  Just a quick aside:  there aren’t many things in life you can bend to your will, which is what makes blocking knitwear so fascinating to me.  I knit a small hat, but I want a large hat.  With a little water, a little time and a big dinner plate… presto!  I can remake my mistake into the item I envisioned.  It doesn’t always work (there are limits!), but when it does?  Pure magic.

So to recap the latest battles:  1)  We’ve finally replaced our A/C so we’re ready for the summer heat and humidity.  2)  I’ve bested my teeny-weeny hat through blocking, so I’m prepared for a chilly wind.

Of course, now it’s suddenly springtime when I don’t need either of these things, and I really should be cleaning up the yard and weeding/mulching the desolate flowerbeds out front.  Sigh.  I think I have terrible issues with timing….


About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
This entry was posted in Crafts, Home Improvement, Knitting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Battle fatigue

  1. Micha says:

    I’m so happy for you that soaking your hat made it wearable. Whew…No Bramble Bust there!

  2. Blocking is indeed magical. Beautiful work!

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