Thursday, 24 March 2016

Potholder Tutorial

When I posted the potholders I made a while ago, a few people asked for a tutorial on how to make them.

When I make these potholders, I use 100% cotton yarn - the stuff people often use to make dishcloths with. In Canada and USA, this appears to be one of the common brands.  Sorry I'm not sure what would be the equivalent outside of North America.

The important thing - use yarn that is fire resistant.  100% cotton is good for that, and I have one or two anecdotes of relatives who have accidentally left a pot holder on an active burner with only a slightly singed potholder to show for their efforts.  So I recommend 100% cotton and have never tried this with other yarns.  Other natural materials like silk can burn easily.  Acrylic melts and can cause injury and damage.
Now that the safety moment is over, onto the fun stuff!
To make two potholders, I use 3 balls of 42.5g (1.5oz) cotton yarn.  (The yarn label states that there are roughly 62 metres per ball).
I usually use the crochet hook size listed on the ball of yarn.  Though if I don't have that size and have one that is close, I'll use that instead.  (Yes.  Precision and gauge are critical. <grin>)
Then I chain stitch(ch) until the chain is roughly the size I'd like the potholder to be. (The finished potholder winds up being a little larger than the chain)
Pro Tip: Write down the number of chains you made so you don't have to guess when making the second one.
For this potholder, I did 31 chain stitches.

For the first row, skip the first chain and single crochet(sc) in the remaining stitches.  (Since I did 31 ch, I now have 30 sc)
Do one chain stitch and turn.

(This row is the fussiest, after that it's smooth sailing)
Pick up one loop from the single crochet and the corresponding loop remaining from the chain row below and single crochet.  Repeat until the end of the row.
Do one chain stitch and turn.

Now, Pick up one loop from the previous row and the corresponding loop remaining from the single chain row below it and single crochet.  Repeat until the end of the row.
Do one chain stitch and turn.

Repeat this until the potholder is square.

By working the single crochet over two rows this way, instead of just the top row, you wind up with a potholder that is a double thickness.

Here is the potholder after a few rows.  And while it doesn't look square, it's time to see just how close I am to done.

As always, accuracy and precision are critical with these potholders. :)  So I do the ever so careful method of folding it over.  Once those corners meet, the potholder is done.  In this photo you can see I still have a few rows left to go.

And here is the finished potholder (Don't know what happened in this picture, it is actually square in real life).  In this one I added a little loop for hanging.  Usually I don't do that because I don't know anyone who actually stores them on a hook; in a drawer or on top of the microwave seems to be more common in my circle of experience.  Plus, sometimes the loop gets in the way when you're using these as trivets.

If I am adding a loop, a simple way to do this is, once you've finished the second to last row, chain stitch until your loop is the desired length (for mine I did ch10) and then start the final row, being careful not to twist your loop.

And here are the finished potholders.
If they get dirty, I just throw them in the wash with the laundry.  Sometime they come out of the dryer folded over and usually they come out a little damp.  I just straighten them out and let them air dry until they're actually dry.  Clean and good as new!

I used to wind up with little bits of leftover yarn that I did nothing with, so now I get as many hexagons as I can out of the leftovers.   These hexagons will eventually be put together as an afghan.  I found the pattern for these hexagons here.

And if you don't feel like reading through the tutorial, here is my attempt at a pattern.
CH - chain
SC - single crochet

Crochet Potholders
Use 3 balls 42.5g 100% cotton medium weight yarn.
Use crochet hook hook indicated on balls of yarn

Row 1: CH until work reaches desired length.
            (I used CH31)
Row 2: SC in second CH from hook.  SC until the end of the row.  CH1 and turn.
            (30 stitches in row, if you started with CH31)
Row 3: Picking up one loop from row 2 and corresponding loop from row 1, SC.  Repeat until end of row.  CH1 and turn.
Row 4: Picking up one loop from row 3 and corresponding loop from row 2, SC.  Repeat until end of row.  CH1 and turn.
Repeat Row 4 until work is square.
Fasten off work and weave in loose threads.

I hope you enjoy.
Please let me know if anything is unclear or if I've made errors.
I'd also love to hear what you think of the potholders.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Circle Game - Blocks 2 and 11

The Circle Game quilt progress continues for another week.

Block 11 - my friend's
This one just needed a centre circle appliqued.

Block 2 - my friend's
And this is another block completed before the blog was started.

These two blocks also happen to be the last of the truly simple ones...  The rest are a *wee* bit more challenging.

Linked up with The Needle and Thread Network - WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts - Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Circle Game - Blocks 3 and 10

These past few days I've turned my attention back to the circle game.

This is a project that a friend and I have been working on together, but I had a little catching up to do.  I had foolishly left all of the appliqued circles until the end.  Not recommended!  Though, the good thing in all of this is I finally remembered how to applique. :)

These blocks have been quite the *growth* experience for us.  We started our quilts roughly two years ago and were confident we could handle machine piecing a pattern designed for hand piecing...  As we near the end of this quilt, I'm glad to report - Yes we can!  But there were definitely some sticky points along the way.

One of the things I love about working on this quilt with a friend, besides the great company, is seeing just how much fabric choices can impact a pattern.  We've both gone in quite different directions from the pattern.

Block 10 - my friend's
I finally got that centre circle in and the block is officially done!

Block 3 - my friend's
A close up of one of the blocks completed before I started this blog.

Both of these blocks were simple to make.  Lots of straight lines, even if the end results was a circle. 

Linked up with The Needle and Thread Network - WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts - Let's Bee Social.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

OMG - March

I'm on a bit of a finishing roll with my OMG goals, so I'm going to attempt to stick with the trend.

This little top was made using a French General charm pack a while back (okay, maybe years) and has been basted waiting for quilting inspiration.

My goal for March is to find the quilting inspiration and finish this top.

If you want to see what other people are planning to accomplish this month; check out Red Letter Quilts OMG March link-up.