My Christmas Projects for 2009:  Quilted Potholders!

I usually give everybody I know crocheted dishrags for gifts.  This year I thought of something less lame-- and FREE to make because they're made from scraps and an old towel!  Even to knit dishrags I would have had to buy cotton yarn  :-) 

I looked on Google for instructions for quilted potholders, and found a bunch that used bias binding, like commercial potholders. 

It's so hard to sew bias binding on straight unless you're a sewing genius!  How about just cut the backing larger and wrap it around both layers?  That way it's got the binding look, but I can pull the binding tight in front while sewing, and it doesn't matter what's happening on the back layer. 

Note, see "question and answer" about this design at the bottom of the page!

Testing: 

Two layers of old towel for the batting. 

Corners came out stupid on this test.  I just wasn't folding them right just yet! 

Stitched something pretty over the top  :-) 

Good enough for my own drawer, and we're getting warmer. 

Wrapping CHRISTMAS presents gave me an idea of how to do the corners.  Christmas wrapping is a skill set I already have  :-D 

That's cute enough to be a Christmas present! 

Quilted by stitching near the edges.  I'm going to sew some loops on by hand. 

Blue ones are for a Navy blue kitchen!  Next is some to match Kitchenaid red. 

I found some scraps just right, a long piece 2" wide with red apples, this red and white fabric that was 5" wide, a bit of black with apples on it, and quite a big red piece with little white hearts, plenty for the back and binding of the potholders. 

I designed the perfect pattern to use the available fabric...

  and gaily started cutting!  Cut 2/4ths of the pieces 1/2" too short.  For this pattern, to make an 8" finished square, the center block should have been 2.5 x 2.5 and the spokes should have been 1.5 x 5.5 each.  I cut the apple and the red and white pieces all 2.5 x 5" for some reason.  That was all the apple fabric I had, and I had my heart set on using it. 

Thought of great way to fix it and make it even better! 

Cut the apple pieces 1/2 inch shorter and my fix didn't work.  If this keeps up long enough we'll end up with a pile of scraps. 

Sulked, went to bed. 

Woke up and thought of a better pattern! 

 

For this I need 2.5 x 2.5 squares and 1.5 x 4.5 strips.  The red apple fabric is the right size.  Here we go. 

The quilting part on this one was especially fun as one continuous line connects every square. 

I'm SO delighted with this idea, it's extremely fast and fun, takes only like an hour.  They're done before you know it, assuming you don't cut the red apple fabric wrong twice  :-) 

Got smart and sewed the hanging loops on first. 

Notice the beheaded deer?  I didn't until too late.  Oh well, conversation piece :-) 

Some for my friend...

Some for my Mom! 

Each one of these is totally unplanned.  I fish around in the box and come up with something pretty, one piece large enough to be the backing and some coordinating scraps for the fronts, and the pattern is "whatever way I have enough fabric for"  :-) 

Question:

Am looking at your Christmas 2009 potholders (came up when I googled) and love them! I am actually going to try and make some on my own. However, I am a new quilter and do not have a lot of tools yet. On the first potholder, there are angled strips to make the potholder. How did you make those strips so that they fit together so well? Please let me know. Thank you so much.

Answer:

Check out these... or google for "string quilt". There's no fitting :-)
http://janelwashere.com/crafts/quilt-as-you-go.html
http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/ss/string_piecing.htm