A while ago I had my 111st post and I’d decided to do a secret giveaway, where anyone who commented would be entered into a draw and the winner was going to win something handmade by me, something probably kind of silly, but hopefully useful, I’d said. The winner was Carly at CitricSugar, and I figure it’s probably time I talk about what I sent her, because the package did arrive earlier this week.
Apple potholder/hot pads!
The pattern for these apples was adapted, kind of, from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book which came out earlier this year. I think a lot of you have probably read it – it’s been kind of big on the craft blog scene, which makes sense because it’s a cute book, with lots of fun little projects in it. It’s nice that everything in it is do DOABLE, but also so cute and useful while they’re at it. There are quite a few things in this book that I would like to make, which is more than I can saw for a lot of craft/quilting books. I’d decided a while ago to quit buying craft books and start borrowing them from the library first and this is the only book I’ve bought since then without reading it for free first. By and large I wasn’t disappointed by that choice, though I often find the pattern directions slightly mystifying – for instance, when you sew things right sides together, it usually if not always recommends sewing the entire way around, then unpicking part of the stitches to turn it right side out, which… why? – and I mentioned some time ago being frustrated by not being able to easily print the patterns (trying to get them onto a photocopier so that I could eventually blow up the pattern – by 143%, of all the ridiculous amounts) and how eventually I just ripped a page out of the book:
The pattern I ripped out of the book was NOT the apple pattern, but a pattern for a hexagon potholder. Which I never did make. In the book, the apples are actually bibs, but as I have no use for apple bibs (and didn’t think Carly did either), but still wanted to make this ridiculously cute pattern, I converted them to potholders/hot pads.
I made the green hotpad first, and it’s truest to the book – it’s the same size as the bib, with the leaf made as suggested. You stitch together a front and back with right sides together, then flip it right-side out, and stitch it down. It was hard to do. I think I stitched around the outside of the leaf three times before I got it close enough to the edge to look good and not super jerky (because I was using a quarter inch foot and couldn’t really see where my stitches were going on that tiny space). So for the next two potholders, I decided to do a lazily embroidered leaf, rather than stitching one down:
Not that those leaves are perfect either – I didn’t switch over to a darning foot/FMQ foot, so I had a really hard time making smooth curves with the machine. It was more successful than unsuccessful, but yeah. Not perfect.
For the second and third potholders, I upped the size a little. The green one is big enough to put a small pot on, or a coffee pot or something, but it is a little bit small for a hot pad, so I made the next two a little larger. They only ended up about 1/4-inch bigger all around, but they are a slightly nicer size for a pot holder.
By and large, I really enjoyed making these. I was glad to have an excuse to use some of that apple fabric (in all three shades I own!) and it can be really satisfying to make small things (quicker turn around, and I’m far more likely actually to finish them!) and I love giving things away and I got to practise a new technique.
The new technique being bias binding. I’ve made projects before that should have used bias binding and I very stubbornly tried to do them with straight-grain binding (and naturally it looked like crap), but this time I decided to suck it up, princess and get on with it. It was really not so hard to work with, although I had varying levels of success with the dip in the top of the apple. It was great going around curves, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that dip look good. I think they all came out pretty well despite my lack of experience. I had to smush a lot of fabric up under the binding at that point, but it looks pretty smooth I think.
Inside of each potholder is a layer of Insulbrite and a layer of batting underneath that. They feel impossibly thin and I barely thought they’d actually function as potholders, but I put a hot casserole dish on one of them for a quite a while, and the counter top stayed cool, so it must have reflected the heat back up as it was suppose to.
Anyway, I think it’s as pretty fun thing to make, and a great way to mod the bib pattern, if you haven’t got little kids to put cute apple bibs on. (I do recommend making them larger than the bib size – add about half an inch all around and it should be big enough to use with most pots.)