Potholder Fun

At nearly every meeting of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild there’s some kind of a swap. Sometimes it’s fabric, but lots of times it’s a finished item, like a mug rug, tote bag or, as was the case for the September meeting, a pot holder!

Before the September meeting, I dove into the world of pot holder tutorials and soon realized that, no matter what kind of pot holder I made, I’d need to get some Insul-Bright.

Insul-Bright, made by the Warm Company, is an insulating material with one shiny metal side (on the left of the photo above) that reflects heat or cold, depending on what you make. In the case of pot holders, it reflects the heat of the bowl away from the wearer. But you can use Insul-Bright to make just about anything you want to be warm or insulated; coats, outdoor stadium cushions, and window shades are just a few examples given on the label. Wooed by the list of uses, I ended up getting a yard of it at my local Joann’s—after the pot holders, who knows what I will want to make! (Or I may just make more pot holders.)

With my Insul-Bright at the ready, I decided to make microwave mitts, small pot holders that are large enough just for your fingers, so you can get into tight spots, like a microwave.

Here’s a link to the microwave mitt tutorial I followed from a blog titled Bits and Pieces.  I was feeling just anxious enough about making these that I decided to make a pair for myself first. Those are the mitts shown above and at the top of this post.

The instructions direct you to stack the layers of the mitt and sew the edges, leaving an opening for turning. Because I am really bad at visual-spacial thinking, it took me a couple of tries to figure out where to put the Insul-Bright so the shiny side would be toward the hot thing. But after that, they came together pretty well, although my “rounded” edges leave a good bit to be desired. I also added the loops to the sides, since I like to keep my pot holders hanging nearby.

Once I had my prototype done—and knew that it worked—I made the pair above for the quilt guild swap. As luck would have it, Kayla, the guild member who ended up with my pot holders, made the pot holder I received.

Her pot holder is similar in style to the ones I made, but she added a bit of quilting and raw edge applique to the front and back with her embroidery machine. I really like the way the quilting looks, especially on the side without the finger covers. Because of the turning method of construction, I need to do a bit of thinking on which layers make sense to quilt and when is best to quilt them. I feel some more pot holder prototypes in my future…

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