Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Project: Grandmommy's Potholders

The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.
Sam Levenson

As you may remember, my grandmother - with whom I am very close - asked me to make some potholders that she could give as Christmas gifts to her friends. This weekend, I bought enough fabric to make 6 pairs of potholders. I also spent some time playing around with patterns and sizes. I settled on this version (made with scrap fabric):

It is a 9 inch square (if sewn with 1/2 inch seam allowances). After assembly, the middle square is 5 x 5 inches and the border pieces are 2 inches wide. It is a bit larger than my store bought potholders, but I picked those dimensions because they led to a very simple cutting strategy - given the tools I had available - a rotary cutter and 6 x 12 inch ruler.

First, I cut 5 rectangles the same size as my ruler (6 x 12 inches).

Next, I cut one of those rectangles in half width-wise, to give me 2 center squares (6 x 6 inches before assembly).

I cut the other 4 rectangles in half length-wise, to give me the 8 border pieces (3 x 12 inches before assembly).

I did the same set of cuts for the coordinating fabric, and this gives me enough pieces to make two complete potholders, with alternating fabric placement. In other words, I get 2 of these:

And 2 of these:

You'll notice that some fabric is wasted (on two of the border pieces), but for me the savings in time associated with doing this easy set of consistent cuts is worth it.

I am going to make each potholder out of two contrasting squares, rather than making the front and back match. This way, the recipient has three different options for displaying them (both showing side A, both showing side B, or showing contrasting sides).

Here are the other 5 fabric pairs that I picked. There is a real skill to picking good pairs of fabric for quilted things, and I am definitely winging it! The one thing I tried to do was pick one busy print and one simple (primarily one color) print to go with it.

I cut all 120 pieces this morning! By the way, I bought 1/2 yard of each - after washing, drying and ripping the edges to find the grain line, it was just about the perfect amount. And I've ordered the Insul-Brite and cotton batting for the interior.

I hope my grandmother likes my choices! I'll be visiting her for a few days in mid-November, and I'm going to get these done before I go. :)


Wendi said...

I think you did an excellent job on fabric selection. I love all the fabric combos.