Pot holders for C and J

This summer is flying!  I just returned from a relaxing vacation with my family.  We went to the beach for a week and I was able to do some hand sewing and hand quilting on a couple of projects that you’ll see down the line. (I’m working on a ton of different things right now, but a bunch of them are presents, so their appearance on the blog will be delayed.  It’s almost astounding to me how many different half-finished projects I have right now.  Usually I have a quilt I’m working on and maybe something small, but right now I’ve got eight things that are in progress – a bunch of which are doll quilts for quilting practice – and two finished presents, one of which you’ll see next week!)

This week I want to show you two sets of pot holders I made for my cousins C and J.  I posted about the apron I made C for her graduation.  These pot holders were their birthday presents.  (I hadn’t made them pot holders for Christmas.)  J’s birthday was months ago (I missed it – not unintentionally; I just didn’t send her a present) and C’s birthday was more recent, but I knew I wouldn’t see either of them between C’s graduation and Christmas, probably.  Rather than mail something late to J I figured I’d just make them something and give it to them in person.

Both C and J like the color purple so I picked purple fabrics for them.  For J I picked this pretty Japanese-inspired fabric.

For C I used this set of coordinated fabrics.  I thought the Japanese-inspired print stood on its own but for C’s pot holders I wanted a design.  I layered the fabrics and then cut them into triangles, then rearranged the triangles so that four different prints appeared in each set.  It makes an art deco-y fan design.

These are the fronts and backs of C’s:

I knew I was planning to bind these – as practice (these are the first things I bound, by hand or machine).   I also knew I wanted to quilt them.  I could have probably still made straps like I did for the pot holders I made last Christmas, but instead I wanted to make a sort of pocket to slip your hands into.  I had seen that somewhere online – I think here: http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2010/04/potholders.html.  So I picked matching fabrics for the outer pocket and contrasting/coordinating fabrics for the trim and binding.

When I layered the pot holders, I used scraps of leftover batting and that Insulbright stuff.   The Insulbright has to have the shiny layer facing the hot surface to reflect the heat, so I made sure then I made my pot holder sandwiches that the Insulbright shiny side faced outward toward the fabric, not toward the batting.  Then I did my quilting – kind of a grid on the darker purple Asian-inspired print and straight lines within the fan on the lighter purple prints.   I think it’s hard to see on the Asian-inspired print in the second picture – the thread doesn’t stand out enough – but I used purple thread for both.

I trimmed each outer pocket piece.  I wanted the pot holders to be on point, so I trimmed the outer pocket pieces by cutting off a corner where the hand will be inserted.

I think there’s an easier way to do the trim than what I did.  What I should have done was lay the outer pocket fabric down, right side down, and then match the trim fabric up to the edge, also right side down; I should have sewn along the edge, then flipped it over, turned the excess trim fabric under, and sewed it down over itself.  I did it the hard way, like this –  see how I have the trim fabric over the edge instead of lined up?  I don’t know what I was thinking.  That was harder when it came to matching up the lines.

Also, I wish I’d used longer pieces of trim fabric and made that cut for the hand wider.  C’s pot holders are a tight fight.  I could get my hands in and I don’t think her hands are larger than mine, but they don’t slip on easily.  Part of the issue there was also that I hadn’t bother to calculate seam allowance when I was making my fans and I lost more than I’d expected when it came together.  J’s pot holders are approximately 8″ and C’s are closer to 7″, if I remember correctly.

When it came time to add the outer pocket fabric I was careful to put that on the side away from the Insulbright.  I pinned the outer pocket pieces down and prepared for the binding.

I used extra pieces of the fabrics for the binding.  I think I used 2.5″ pieces and it actually wasn’t quite wide enough because I had the layer of batting and the layer of Insulbright.  insulbright is quite stiff.  I had a little trouble with my binding because of that.  I used a whip stitch to sew the binding down on the back, which blended in nicely with some of the fabrics but showed on the others.  I switched to a running stitch next time I bound a quilt and I like that better.

Here are the finished pot holders for C, showing the fronts and the backs.  I think you can probably see the whip stitching on the bindings.

I apparently didn’t take pictures of the finished ones for J after I’d sewn down the binding.  (Sometimes I wonder why I take so many pictures of one thing and then forget to take a finished picture.)  I was quite happy with them!  My cousins liked them, too, and they were easy for them to pack and transport back to their homes.


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