Patchwork Potholder

I did my best this year to use up fabric from my stash and scraps for my holiday gift making. These potholders were inspired a technique taught by Johanna in the Scrappy String Quilt class. I’ve also been wanting to test out the Insul-bright batting that we have in the shop, which is also supposed to be great in tea cozies, oven mitts and ironing board covers.

One side is made of strips of fabrics, pieced together. In the middle there is a layer of Insul-bright batting and a layer of cotton batting, the back is a single piece of fabric. I quilted all the layers together by stitching in the ditch between the patchwork strips.

I made several different 1″ bias tape strips to do all the trimming. If I had thought the entire project through carefully and considered the amount of time I had left myself to complete these potholders, I would have just sewn them inside out and forgone the need for trimming. Luckily, I like to take the hard road. The bias trim really frames the potholders nicely. I also decided to learn how to do continuous binding and mitred corners using Heather Bailey’s tutorial. I don’t recommend teaching yourself new tricks at 3am in the morning before Christmas Eve, but I am planning on finishing my sampler quilt in the next couple weeks and this made for very good practice.

As I mentioned in my last post, I did hit a major low point around 2am, when I realized that the potholders were taking way longer and going much slower than I had anticipated. I also worried that they would seem insignificant and silly. I was extremely tired, close to delirious. I almost started crying in frustration at the fact that I was so foolish for making gifts. (and more foolish for making them at the eleventh hour) I considered scrooging on Christmas and heading to my warm bed to sleep rather than sew. Instead, I jammed a large piece of chocolate in my mouth and switched over to a simple apron project that took me 45 minutes to complete from start to finish. The satisfaction from that little success carried me through until 5am when I finally completed the potholders and called it a well-deserved night.

In the light of day, I really love how they turned out and hopefully they will be well used in the kitchens that they have gone/are going to live in.

Patchwork Potholders


  • your patchwork potholders are just great! i’ll have to give them a try. happy new year!

  • Courtney Fairbrother-Davies

    I think these turned out gorgeous!

  • i had been wanting to try cross stitch for awhile, so i was just doing some random stuff. it is surprisingly fun! i’m trying to think up some more patterns and projects i can do, i hope i can combine it with sewing to make something with it

    all your hard work (with the help of chocolate!) paid off! i think the trim really completes the potholders nicely, they look so good! happy new year karyn and hope to see you soon!

  • ach, i heard that! i was doing the same frantic sewing on the day before Christmas…and added a little bobbin-thread-jam and some broken needles for good measure! here’s to lessons learned, and to pretty pretty things being made and out of my effin’ sight!
    Happy New Year!

    p.s. potholders=beautiful! note to self: keep large barrel of chocolate close to sewing machine.
    a new list of overly ambitious (inauguration day?) gifts is taking shape in my head…including potholders.

  • I love these – so sweet. They make a lovely gift.

  • Check out what you can do with a wad of chocolate, fabric scraps and a looming deadline. Karyn – you’re my crafty hero.

    These pot holders are fantastic. I love the way you have patched all the fabric together. And the colors, oh my – just lovely. They are little works of functional art. I am sure they will look quite handsome in the kitchen of the lucky recipient of this gift.

    This post has given me inspiration to finish all of my own projects around the house, or at least pick up the pace.

    Hope you have a great new year’s eve and look forward to seeing you and all your wonderful creations in 2009.

  • these are amazing, karyn! i love them!
    you’re my crafty hero!

    have a happy new year!

  • cindy k – thank you, i just enjoyed a wonderful visit your amazing blog. happy new year!

    courtney – thanks so much, I grew so fond of them that I made an extra one for myself!

    michelle – i can’t wait to see what you do with the cross stitch, you clever girl! see you soon.

    amy – yes, i’ve now placed all the holiday chocolate i’ve received, strategically all over the house. now, at any moment i can just reach over and inject myself with edible happiness. i feel crazy, but plan on continuing the sew-a-thon for the next 5 days. too many cute things to make!

    serah-marie – hello & thank you!

    nora – happy new year to you! i’d love to peak at all the projects you’ve got on the go. they’re always so incredibly inventive and sweet!

    melissa – i hope you had a sweet holiday visit with john. a very happy crafty new year to you!

  • The potholders are wonderful — not even a smidge close to insignificant and silly. I think that I was up at the same time finishing aprons for my cousins. And then I forgot to photograph the darn (beautiful) things before I wrapped them…….
    Happy New Year!

  • Your pot holder are so great, what a great idea for scraps of fabric!

  • These are simply PERFECT. I love all of your masterpieces. Also the photography is quite good. Yay you!

  • Karyn! The potholders turned out beautifully. You’ve been a busy bee over the holidays making such beautiful things! Way to go lady. xo

  • I think I’ll be trying to make some of these for xmas this year!

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