I was baking cornbread for dressing on Thanksgiving and burned my hand on the cast iron skillet as I pulled it out of the oven. My potholder was basically worn out, not to mention it was old and nasty looking. I think I bought the potholders I was using when I first moved here in 1990! Needless to say, they needed to be replaced.
I had recently purchased a yard of Insul-brite, which is a thin mylar/polyester batting to use to make things like this. I also had some scrap cotton batting and LOTS of cotton batik fabric scraps. I had intended to make some potholders at the quilt retreat I went to recently, but just didn’t have time. So, I put that project on the back burner and forgot all about it until I burned my hand.
Last night, I decided it was time to make a potholder! I started improv piecing a 7 and a half-inch square (I pieced three at the same time) by pulling scraps out of a bag and just putting them together. Then I dug deeper into the bag of scraps and started finding pieced units that I had been given at past retreats. I always try to get the batik “trash” that my fellow retreaters want to get rid of while working on their projects. I even found large pieces in my bag that some of the retreaters had thrown out. The back of the first potholder I completed was one of these pieces. I finished piecing the front of potholder number one first, so that’s why it was number one.
I put the walking foot I bought a couple of weeks ago on my featherweight sewing machine and quilted the little “quilt sandwich”. The first one has the top, a piece of cotton batting, the Insul-brite and the backing fabric in the “sandwich”. I had never used a walking foot or had much success in machine quilting until this project! The walking foot made all the difference! To say I was thrilled, was an understatement! I even woke up about two hours early today because I was excited to get back to making more!
I finished the first one and put a binding on it. All the potholders I’ve ever bought had a binding. Then I realized I had forgotten the hanging loop. Oops! So, I just sewed it on. It’s not pretty, but I love the potholder anyway.
I pretty much had the front and back of potholder number two pieced last night, but since the binding thing was such a fiasco, I decided to leave it off of number two. So, I used both pieced squares from last night for the next one. I decided to add another inch to the squares so that I could finish them in a different way. So, I quilted the front and back separately. One of the sandwiches had the pieced square, cotton batting and the Insul-brite. The other had the pieced square and a piece of cotton batting. I wanted a little extra protection in this one, so that’s why I added the additional batting. I quilted each side and then put them right sides together, with the hanging loop in between the two pieces, all the raw edges lined up. Then I sewed them together leaving about four inches open in the middle of the bottom side for turning them right side out. I also reinforced the corners. Then when I turned the “quilt sandwich” so that the right sides were out, the hanging loop was in the correct place. All I had to do then was to close up the opening I had left.
I need a little more practice on closing that opening before I start giving these out as gifts, but over all, I’m happy with them. I think I’ll make an oven mitt next!