The Gates

On what turned out to be the start of an incredibly cold weekend in February of 2005, I boarded a train one Friday morning in Wilson, North Carolina, and headed north to New York City.

It had been too long, in my estimation, since I had been on an excursion of any note, and I was both anxious and driven to get myself to Central Park to see Christo’s exhibit, “The Gates”:

The Gates, Christo, Central Park, NYC
The Gates, Christo, Central Park, NYC

The trip had been months in the planning, but as with many of the trips I have taken in my life, there was at least one last minute detail of note that I was having difficulty working out.

I wanted to mark the occasion of going to see a Christo exhibit in a tangible way, so I had crocheted myself a hat from an orange tweedy yarn from Classic Elite with the intention of felting the hat.

On paper, the yarn should have worked well for the project I envisioned. It was an Aran weight, it was 100% wool, and it was made in Scotland, home to a people who know a thing or two about the cold. But as I learned that night, the yarn had a mind of its own.

I had crocheted the hat earlier in the week using a pattern I had used before. I had expected the hat to felt similarly to several others I had already made using the same pattern, and began working to felt the hat in my washing machine after I had gotten the kitchen cleaned up from dinner.

I employed a series of steps I had followed previously that had worked for merino yarns, and Lamb’s Pride worsted weight, but the London Tweed from Classic Elite did not care what I had done with other yarns, and the hat did not begin to take shape until the hour neared midnight.

Meanwhile, I had gotten on the computer and sent out emails to anyone who might remotely be considered an expert on the subject and whom I might reasonably expect to still be awake and at a computer, ready, willing, and able to answer my desperate pleas.

Just after midnight, I finally gave up on the hat and any immediate assistance, halted my felting attempt, wrung as much water from the hat as I could, rolled it between dry towels as my Aunt Millie had taught me, and then put it on top of a heat register with the hope that it would be sufficiently dry by morning:

orange felted crochet hat
Side view of my felted orange hat

orange felted crochet hat
Another view of the reluctantly felted orange hat

By the time I got myself up, the hat was dry enough to travel, if not wear, and I made it to the train on time to go to see Christo’s Gates, hat and all.

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