Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Potholder Time Again!

Patchwork Pie is back, and today it's all about POTHOLDERS!
They can be as artistic as mini-quilts, or just slapped together utility items. They are the perfect gift, of all...the most wonderful therapy in the world!
A pile of batted-up potholders!
I had a nice collection of batik scraps from a quilt I'd made for a class at the Campbell Folk School (it has been shown in their ads for the last year in every issue of Quilting Arts magazine...yes, these very scraps!). I also wanted to make a house-warming gift for some special friends out in Washington state, so a project was born!

This is a NO NUMBERS project, as in I didn't care if anything was the same size, and I certainly did not want to take the chance of doing any math!
Here's how I did it:

Rulers in this post are used only as straight edges...ignore those numbers!
1 )  After sewing some log cabin-ish blocks (with no regard to length, side, or direction of the "logs") I put each one on top of two layers of cotton batting and cut everything even all at once. In fact, you can just fold the batting (also scraps!). Measure by eye, not numbers!
 It does not have to be perfect or at right angles or anything at this point.

That's a fold along the bottom, another opportunity to just cut everything at on time.
2)  Batt not big enough? Just zig-zag some scraps together! Use a very wide stitch going off the batting layers, and lengthen the stitch. Or butt two pieces together and zigzag where the edges meet.
Two layers stacked

3)  These potholders are made to be used. And by "used," I mean "abused", as in grabbing them for any kitchen task. So I like terry cloth on the back! An old towel is terrific (also for inside instead of batting) but I didn't have one, so I had to visit The Big Box Store. But I had a 40% 0ff coupon, of course!
Lay the batted potholder on the terry cloth and just cut around it, free hand if you want!

Most of the potholders had more terry cloth around the edges at this stage.
4)  Time to quilt the layers together! If you care, match the bobbin to the backing. I had a nice blue King Tut thread for the top that looked OK with all the fabrics.
My favorite utility stitch: long wavy lines, with the machine set as you always do for regular stitching! You move the fabric back and forth for the wave.
You could do straight lines or anything your heart desires!
It doesn't need more than an X!
The extra backing means you don't have to worry about the layers matching!
5)   Trim from the, I don't care what size it is, just make it look good. The binding will be easier with square corners (use bias binding if your potholder is round!).

6)  Here's an all-by-machine binding using straight grain strips cut 1 1/2". OK, so that's a number. I like to cut strips I can use for other things if there are any leftovers, but actually, in this case, the strips could be anything that looks like it's 1 1/2"!
By eye, fold & press one long edge of each strip to the wrong side, about 1/4"-ish. No, I do not know how many strips, or how long or whatever...cut cut & press some. This will use up scraps and encourage experimenting with various colors as you run out of each one you thought was ideal!

7)  Lay the strip on the BACK, right sides together, with the folded edge up and raw edges matching.
Just sew the strip on, and cut it off at the end...or chain sew the next potholder on until you run out!
8)  Do two opposite sides. Then wrap the binding to the front and topstitch it down, very close to the fold. You need to finish two opposite sides before doing the other two sides.
Read the next step!
9)  When you bind the other two sides, start and stop each strip by wrapping the end around to the front. The stitching will catch that part as you sew along the edge. Stop before you get to the corner, trim about an inch more than needed, and wrap that extra to the front (see pic below!). Finish sewing the side. When you bring the binding around to the front, the wrapped ends will cover the corners.
Wrapped end is underneath
10)  Topstitch through all the layers to finish. It doesn't have to be perfect. It will still be pretty and fun in the kitchen...until it's used up and thrown away (but that's after it has been washed several times) (unless you get it too close to a burner and...well....).

11)  I ended up with 9 potholders!
And not one of them the same as another.
Won't this be a fun & useful gift?
Long-time readers of Patchwork Pie will see that my design wall is still covered with threads!
PS: Inquiring Minds will want to know: any side is about 6--8".
Yes, that would be "about potholder size"!


Anonymous said...

I love my new potholders made by you.....thank you very much.

Glad to see you back!!


Pat said...

Glad you're back! I like the method you used for binding. Going to have to try that. My kitchen could use some new potholders.