Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Xmas Purse Collage

One of the things I’m most proud of in myself is my persistence.  It’s also the thing that other people mention as a strong positive about me.  However, last year, I had my doubts.

For Christmas last year, my Mom wanted me to make her a purse in Christmas red, which is one of the school colors of the high school where she used to teach for 30 years.  She still works the visiters’ gate at home football games, which she’s done for 54 years now, and wanted to carry it with her to the games.  (Can you imagine?  54 years?)  So, I wanted to make something special for her.

Red knitting purse before felting

Beautiful pattern when knitted

I’m always experimenting to create the “perfect” handbag (at least perfect in my eyes).  So, I found a great pattern that I thought would look nice, knit it up, then felted it.  That’s when the lemons hit me between the eyes.

The pattern that looked beautiful when knitted turned to ugly mush when felted.  The red melted into the white, blurring my lovely pattern.  I took it out of the washing machine and cried.

Once I wiped my last tear, I started thinking… how can I salvage this?  I’m also a writer and I’ve always found that when I write a story, if I write myself into a corner, if I sleep on the problem, I’ll have worked out the problem in my sleep.  However, this time, no answer appeared.  Night after night after night… nothing appeared!  I actually slept with the purse hoping something, anything, would pop into my brain that would salvage my Christmas purse.  I started to panic.

IMGA0128

Ugly mush when felted

I love to wander around Michaels Store or Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Not looking for anything in particular, just looking for inspiration.  I cruised down the embroidery aisle and saw some thread.  Hmmm… embroidering over the mush might help.  While I was looking through an aisle that I’d never been down before at Jo-Ann’s, I saw these drapery tie-backs.  After staring at them for a good five minutes, I thought… these would look pretty interesting as purse handles.  I ran into some interesting braid used in upholstery that I thought was pretty, too.  What the heck… I bought it all hoping something would work.

IMGA0140So, I came home and started playing with it all.  While embroidering part of the pattern back in I noticed that it made the mush actually add depth to the pattern now.  Then came the braid… figuring out what to do with the braid, how to attach it, and how to attach the handles.  I’ll spare you all the gory details, but all of the above became a challenge at some point in the process.  I’ve never worked so hard in my life to try to make lemonade out of lemons.  But I’m too stubborn (or stupid) to give up hope!

Turns out, in the end, it did turn out well.  Not without it’s twists and turns, though.  I actually love the purse, with all it’s inside pockets, funky lining, interesting trim, purse feet and chain and metal do-dads.  However, I’ll never make one again!  It might not look like it, but I easily put in 150 hours into this purse.  Thankfully, Mom liked it!

Have you ever worked on a project that started off well, turned into a disaster, then by some miracle you righted the ship?  And it turned out better than the original plan?  If so, post your story and share!

Happy knitting!

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One Response to Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

  1. Pingback: Searching for the Perfect Felted Patterns | Bluegrass Fiber Arts

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