Sunday, June 25, 2017

Addictive useful potholder instructions

These are really, really good pot holders/trivets/coasters and I've been obsessed by them for months.  I've nearly always got one in progress in my purse, even if I can only put in a few stitches here and there while I'm waiting for something else to happen, or after dinner if, as usual, I've finished first - or whatever.  For the past six months or so, I seem to be working on them in spare moments, with the result that I've finished quite a few - and I have more in progress.  Lately I've been working on other things, so it was great fun to turn back to this project today.  Here are two finished ones.  The one on the left was made from thinner cotton yarn, the left-overs from a table runner explained on my shop's last FB post (look for graceful arts fiber studio on Facebook and you'll see it).  The one on the right was made this afternoon, using some of my hand-dyed originally-sugar-and-cream cotton, which I turn into a variegated where the colors don't pool - more calico in its final effect than blotches.  When it was done, I suddenly realized that in order to explain how to make one from its beginning, I needed to start yet another.  Oh, good!  any excuse will do, actually!

In the thinner cotton, I began by chaining 32.  In the thicker cotton,  (pictured above) I began by chaining 24. (I use a smaller hook than I'd use for other projects - an F for the DK weight, a G for the worsted weight cotton.)  Either way, make 3 single crochets in the second chain from the hook, one SC in each chain across, then 2 additional SC in the last chain.  Turn the work, and you can see I've begun making one SC per space on the opposite side of the CH.  When I say "per space" in this context, I mean one between each SC of the first side.  When you reach the end, you continue in a spiral, one SC in each SC of the row below.  No joining rounds or rows, you simply keep going.  Pretty mindless.  Which is why I often get a row or so done while singing vocal exercises at the beginning of a rehearsal.  When we have to start reading music, of course, all bets are off and I put it away...  but not too far away because sometimes the tenors have to practice a few lines while the rest of us wait.  So you want to keep going until you have a bag that looks approximately like this when it's flattened.

At the point when you've got about half as many rows as you have stitches on one side of the bag, you start checking to see if this production makes a square when you flatten it this way.

Ummm....  Not quite.  A few more rounds are needed.  Note that because you want to flatten it out this way, which by the way, as you can see, puts one side crosswise to the other, which adds a lot to the strength and stability of the whole, you've got to end in the middle of one side (i.e., when it's flattened as in the previous photo.

Then you can sew it together.  Play with it a little, pulling the corners out until it lies flat.  (See the top photo for reference).  This makes a good, useful, hand-protecting pot-holder, and you might have a small amount of yarn left over.  So after you've made potholders for all your friends and family, you can put together the interesting leftovers, much as you'd do in the kitchen with supper remnants from the past two days, and make something terrific for yourself from the blend.