I got home tired but happy, and my eyes were too bleary for much in the way of knitting. So I decided to revert to crochet and make a felted hot pad/pot holder out of the yarn I just bought. The first thing I noticed is how amazingly fast crochet is. Maybe it's my lack of knitting experience, but crochet just seems to fly. In the time I would be casting on stitches, I finished several inches of crochet in the round. Unfortunately, I was in such a rush that I didn't bother to follow the rules for how to make a flat piece of crochet. I just kept going, and in maybe an hour, I had used up the entire ball of thick yarn. And, um, well it buckled. A lot.
Oh well, press on. Let's see if felting will block the buckling out. So I hand felted it, and it did felt up pretty well, though not enough to close up all the gaps that double crochet creates. But with some serious tugging and pressing under a book, I ended up with a hot pad that is more or less flat. A little less, actually. And it looks pretty funky. Kind of 70's, especially the colors, and also just kind of old-ladyish, like something you'd see at Grandma's house (if you grew up in the 50s.)
I could throw it in the washer and dryer and try to felt it a bit more--it's not particularly thick, as I imagined, and it hasn't lost stitch definition. But then crochet has a different texture than knitting to begin with, and I don't think it's possible to disguise double crochet. Oh well--it's my souvenir of Redding, CA, handmade, and it will make a good potholder, if not that great of a hotpad.