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3 Tips for Making Potholders

June 16th, 2011

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Potholders are like the “beach books” of yarncrafting. They’re quick to finish, require little concentration, and — with all the possibilities for color and shape — super fun! But if you don’t choose your materials and design carefully, that potholder could become a pot-sticker – or worse, fail to protect your hands from the heat. Read on for our tips on how to make potholders that will have a place in your kitchen for years to come. (To access the pattern for the potholders shown at left, click the picture.)

Choose fibers that can stand the heat. Yarns with 100% natural fibers, such as Lion Cotton® and Lion® Wool, have a natural ability to withstand high temperatures. (In fact, wool is naturally flame-retardant!) Plus, cotton and felted wool are both machine-washable. If you’re unsure whether your yarn will work as a potholder, check the label — if it’s able to be ironed, it’s perfect.

Thick fabrics make happy hands. A thin knit may be flexible, but it may allow heat to transfer through too easily. Choose a knit or crochet stitch with thickness, like a cushy garter stitch or a sturdy single crochet. If you’re working with wool, try felting your work: felting shrinks the stitches together, making the fabric thicker and more solid.

Stay closely stitched. Using an open stitch is an absolute no-no! If you are a loose knitter or crocheter, try trading in the hook or needle size you would normally use for something two (or more) sizes smaller. This way, your stitches will sit closer together, eliminating any gaps in your work.

Do you have any potholder-making tips or stories that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/juli.spurlock Juli Williams

    tunisian stitch and potholders go together like milk and cookies

  • Rita

    Diagonally crochet pot holders are easy and double thick, make great coasters too! I didn’t know that wool was naturally flame-retardent! Will certainly crochet pot holders with it…….

    • Vickialter

      I made those with a friend long ago but didn’t have a pattern and cannot remember how to do it.  Do you have the pattern to share?

  • Rafaella13

    I make thick crocheted potholders by making two and rotating them so the worked rows on each side are perpendicular (one goes up & down, the other sideways) and chaining them together. This closes up any work holes that may just be in a single potholder and gives a nice sturdy trivet as well. Oh, and I don’t use acrylic anymore! learned that the hard way. :-)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafaella13/2401976619/in/set-72157605286940690/

    • Hazelbitsnaturals

      These are absolutely inspirational!!!   Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea-made-real!  

  • Jachase21

    I like to make 2 squares of the same size/pattern (in a sc or hdc) and slip stitch them together. 

  • http://twitter.com/Vicden Vicden

    My first attempts at potholders were also my first attempts at any project on the knitting loom, and open stitches are definitely not the way to go (fortunately the lesson bore no scars) I had also gone overboard on size, so I simply folded in half and sewed up the edges. When I got a burn on one side,I cut the stitching, turned it inside out, and resewed the edges, viola’ new potholder.

  • Bombay Granny

    When I finally started crocheting ago after many years’ absence, I started with a potholder to refresh my memory. Without regard for gauge, I merrily crocheted away until I became alarmed at the size the “potholder” was becoming. My daughter happened to be visiting and mentioned that if it were a little bigger, I could make a matching twin and she’d use them as washer and dryer covers to protect from scratches. That was about 15 years ago, and I’ve made her W&D covers ever since. With one pair I tried broomstick lace, with another I included yarn left from her grandmother’s stash, one set was bright yellow with deep dark green and it really lit up her whole laundryroom/entryway. Other potholders became dishcloths, some became doilies; no matter what size they turned out to be, there’s always a place to put them.

  • Weisewords

    I double knit my cotton potholders and they really work great. No heat comes through and it’s so easy once you know how. They make great gifts!! Does anyone else do this?

    • Tss81

      I’ve wanted to learn to do double knitting and recently bought a book on this subject.  Potholders seem like a great application for this technique.  Thanks for the tip!

  • Giacopuzzil

    when i clicked onto one of your tips another screen popped up from Lion Brand telling me i was an instant winner. the last time i responded to one of these free offers i ended up having my credit card charged for something that was supposed to be a  gift. if this is indeed an offer from lion brand please take me off of your email list as i do not want to have anything to do with such dishonesty. if you are not a part of these scams maybe you should look into prosecuting companies for coming thru the backdoor using your good name. thank you

    • Christina

      Hello,

      I’m sorry to hear about that. I can can assure you that Lion Brand does not use such software. (I encourage you to review our data security policy on LionBrand.com.)

      If you’re using a personal computer, I would suggest running a virus scan. If you’re in an office, talk to your network administrator.

      I hope that helps!

      -Christina

  • mjh@ky

    I always use three strands of yarn for a potholder.  Makes it thick enough so you don’t get burned.

  • Afghanbunny

    I just watched a video on double-knitting.  A potholder will be the perfect project!  Thank you for the idea.

  • Vickyrex84

    My favorite way to make pot holder or table protector is to try new stitches.  If the pattern is holey I just put a back or middle in the mix.  For example:   granny squares are naturally holey.  If I make 2 to go on the outsides, I would make a middle in single crochet and sew every thing together.  You get a fancy look, and a potholder that won’t burn fingers. And every new stitch needs to be tried before your final project.  Pot holders are the perfect size to figure out your hook size for gauge. And if they are truly to holey they can be used as hot pads for the dishes on the table, or if you used cotton as  dishcloths.

  • Dennis37

    Do you have a knitting pattern for these pot holders. Thanks

  • Linda

    I have made several using two strands of yarn. They turn out thick but still flexible.
    (Lion cotton)

  • Sandi

    I make potholders out of left-over yarns from various projects, since most don’t have to stay within a particular color scheme.  They can be of a single color, various stripes, whatever.  Also, eons ago, I purchased a circular pattern for them in three different sizes.  Most times now, I make the largest one (about 8-9″ across), as a ‘pot-sitter’ for the counter, then two potholders to pick a pan up with.  Also, I’ve just make one side, folded it over, and made a smaller one for the little one cup pan or so, lessening the danger of having the holder reach the flame if one forgets to turn it off first.  Also, these semi-circle kind are great for the microwave to handle a cup, plate, bowl, or . . . ?, and remove such safely.

  • Antiesusy

    If your project isn’t thick enough to protect from heat, just make a second one and stitch them back to back, then add loop for hanging.

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