Monday, April 18, 2011

Living Dangerously: Beautiful Potholders, Continued

I'm sure that many of you have been following, with breathless suspense, my quest for potholder improvement, fuelled by the following 3-step challenge to myself:

1.  Make a beautiful, fun or funky potholder
2.  Work with materials I already have
3.  Use it

I'm happy to unveil the latest creation:

The Fiesta Hoedown Potholder!

Why Fiesta Hoedown?  Well, there's something about turquoise and red that just shouts ¡Arriba! to me.  That's the fiesta part.  And before I added the chainstitching, the pattern of red and white blotches really reminded me of a Holstein cow (granted, kind of an Andy Warhol Holstein).  Plus I was planning to use denim as a backing.  So that's the hoedown part.

I followed the Spiral Hotpad pattern over at Carol's Crochet.  Carol has an excellent tip for starting double crochet spirals with a single crochet, half double crochet.  It allows the spiral to grow naturally without any obvious steps up to the next round. Deibpia's Green Spiral Hotpad at Ravelry gave me the idea for the chainstitched adornment.  (I see that Lolly, over at This Domestic Life, is currently working on a handsome spiral potholder from a different pattern.  I feel that I am in good company.)

So how was it made?  I used 100% cotton kitchen yarn (for some reason I have a coneful of this yarn.  Better start making some dishcloths.)  The chainstitching is done with #10 crochet thread.  I crocheted the spiral to a size that seemed right and added the chainstitched trimming.

Then I found a plate that matched the potholder's size, traced around it on a scrap of leftover denim (I never throw away denim--it's great to have on hand), and cut out the circle:

After basting the denim to the back of the potholder, I cut some bias strips from turquoise cotton, pressed under 1/4" on one long edge, and stitched the bias trim to the denim side of the potholder:

Then folded it over to the front, pinned, and topstitched it down:

Like many spiral crochet designs, mine wanted to rise up in the center (rather like a volcano rising out of a plain).  But I wanted it to lie flat, so I did a bit of machine stitching next to the chainstitched trim for a few rounds of the spiral:

Down, boy!

And the Fiesta Hoedown was complete.

I used it tonight, and my husband asked me "Where did you get that new potholder?  You didn't make it, did you?"

"Yes," I modestly replied.  "Why?"

"It looks so professional!"  he said.  I'll take that as a compliment.

This project will be linked to Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage.

Stay tuned for the next enthralling step on my road to potholder recovery....


  1. You clever, clever crafter, you.
    I need you to come over and help me conquer sewing on bias.
    Denim backing is genius, by the way.

    and a question: Do you have to have a special quilting foot to do the spiral? I only have a basic machine. No quilting gee-gaws to attach.

    Well done.

  2. Thank you. The denim backing saved me having to crochet a second circle, so it was really just laziness. Plus it adds a little stability.

    I didn't use a special foot for the machine stitching. I just made sure the presser foot was set to the lowest pressure. Also stitching around a constant curve forced me to go slowly because I had to turn the potholder a bit every few stitches.

  3. I love the look of this too. I have made the potholder itself, but now would like to do the chainstitching part but have no idea how to do it! Is it done by hand?? Do you use a needle or a crochet hook?

    1. Gosh, I have to cast my mind back and try to remember how I did that. I know I used a crochet hook on the right side of the potholder, with the decorative yarn behind the work.

      Here's a link that seems to match what I did:

      Try this tutorial:

      P.S. Keep your tension loose or the decorative chainstitch will pucker the potholder. :)

    2. Thank you, I will check out that link!


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