Friday, April 10, 2015

- Searching for a solution: A potholder poser

I love this old potholder, but even after laundering it looks pretty sad ...


One of a pair, it's almost perfect: the size and the thickness fit my hand to a tee and it keeps the heat at bay when I'm slinging pans in the oven.  However, I've never been wild about the heavy binding. And so, as my potholders got shabbier and shabbier, I kept an eye out for replacements ... thick terry cloth cotton in just the right size without a heavy binding. No luck.

Then I decided to try making my own and bought some "metalized polyester" insulating material. Hmmm ... wasn't really thrilled about that. On a mission, I looked through my fabric stash to see what else was on hand and came up with a felted wool skirt and a cotton diaper (unused). 

It was a short leap to the idea of a competition to see which would work best ...


I decided to use Japaese zokin (dust cloths composed of layers stitched together boro-style) as a model, which would eliminate the edge binding. Having made unbound burp cloths for the latest grandchild last summer, I checked in with my daughter who reports that the edges have held up well to repeated laundering. They have also held their shape better than the earlier bibs and burp cloths that were made with a turned edge ...


 Of course, those were machine sewn, so it will be interesting to see how hand-sewn edges hold up. 

Turning my thoughts to the outer layers, I decided to try rust-dyed cotton versus lichen dyed linen ...


But before I go too much further, I'm doing a reality check. Does anyone out there have any enlightening experiences to share?

7 comments:

Mo Crow said...

do you think using rusted cloth for a pot holder is a good idea? just thinking that holes and thin spots would develop more quickly and insulation is what you are after. Working with hot glass & welding we used thick double layered leather gloves... have never owned a pot holder in my life just use an old tea towel folded over a few times and move fast!

Liz Ackert said...

Interesting ... I was thinking much the same thing as I was stitching. But I also realized with this construction I can easily layer another piece of cloth on in the future. I just finished my first sample and am going to toss it in the wash to see what happens.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

well...i have a totally Enlightened idea for pot holders,. Totally. I am always well, off and on,
getting clothing from the Thrift Shop to rip up for cloth collages. Often enough, (?) blouses
and dresses have
shoulder pads
i do a lot of stove top cooking with cast iron pans. but even the odd sort of half moon shape
of the shoulder pads are Great for me...i don't have big hands....Perfect thickness, the flat
side that doesn't risk sticking into the flame. I made one a while back because i realized that
no self respecting home maker would continue to use the really stained and funky potholders...and i mean REALLY funky...so i just stitched through a shoulder pad....randomly, there by quilting it and it has been just great.
I got a twinge of pain at thinking you might use your Beauty FULL cloths for potentially messy business.
Enjoyed reading all this....your focus is great

Liz Ackert said...

Ah, but I love using my cloths, having a reason to touch them and then wash them and air dry them to a crisp crackle. Besides, this experiment is leading to a larger project, but Triangulation has taught me that smaller test projects are advisable.

Liz Ackert said...

But I must say, shoulder pad potholders is absolutely brilliant ... I can't begin to count how many I cut out of clothes and threw away over the years ... who knew?

jude said...

i stitch old cloth in layers. and keep adding them as they wear out.

Liz Ackert said...

I also figured if this potholder is too thin to be effective I can just add more layers until it is