Too good to use

Three or four years ago, when I asked my mother what she wanted for her birthday, she said that she wanted me to make her a felted purse. Little did I know as I worked on it for hours and hours that she would a) love the purse, and b) not use it because, as she told me, “it’s too good to use.”

She had very specific ideas about what she wanted and was not the least bit shy about sharing her ideas with me.

In order to achieve the feat of making a purse that would meet my mother’s requirements, I used a varied stash of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted weight yarn left over from another project with an assortment of colors I had picked, in part, because of their names: lemon drop, orange you glad, limeade, sapphire, lotus pink, jaded dreams, Red Baron, and amethyst, along with several skeins of Paton’s Classic Wool in black.

I love the sheen that the mohair in the Lamb’s Pride gives to a felted project, but my back is not as fond of how long it takes to felt such projects (I use a small hand washer to do my felting), so I paired it with the Paton’s Classic Wool which is a merino wool. I had noticed that merino wool (as long as you don’t inadvertently use a superwash yarn), felts relatively quickly.

Armed with a Susan Bates aluminum K-hook I began making three-round granny squares that followed this color scheme: black, bright color, black. While it only took 48 squares, I found the black a bit daunting at times. it was not easy to see mistakes, and because I wanted and needed everything to fit together well, I needed it to be as error-free as possible.

My mother’s birthday came and went, and I continued to work on the bag, piecing together the granny squares, joining the sides, crocheting long tubes that I would use for the straps. When my mother saw the purse before it was felted, she was not overly impressed and expressed some skepticism that hot water and agitation would be able to fix what ailed this project.

But felting did fix it:

My mother's "too good to use" felted granny square purse
My mother’s “too good to use” felted granny square purse

When I was finally able to declare the felting process complete, it was within a 1/4″ of the dimensions she had requested. The straps (which had been an experiment) had worked, and I even found what I believed to be the perfect button.

So, I gave my mother her belated birthday present and for a couple of weeks she seemed quite taken with it and used it all the time.

Then it seemed to have disappeared, and my mom was back to using whatever purse it was she had wanted to replace.

One day over coffee, I told her that I noticed she wasn’t using the purse and if she didn’t like it, I would be happy to try again.

There was no problem with the purse, she assured me, it was just too good to use.