Monday, November 30, 2015

Pot Holders - The Perfect Project for Orphan Blocks

Our pot holders were starting to look a bit worn and dirty. It was time for some new ones. Normally, I break out my scrap bin to whip up a few improv pot holders but this time I decided to dig into my bin of orphan blocks. That bin is getting a bit full and I thought it would be faster to start with something that was already pieced.

I'm not sure it was any faster because I was having a good time going through all the pieces and parts from other projects.

I eventually culled it down to some reasonable possibilities. A couple of things I have learned is that light fabrics are not the best for pot holders. Maybe that is obvious to most of you but I had to learn that the hard way.  I tried to stick with medium to dark colors for these.

Sometimes it was just a matter of cutting a larger block into a square.

Eventually, these four tops were ready to go.

Then I had to choose backs for each one. While I was looking for backs, I ran across the Amy Butler print in the upper right. I love that print so a fussy cut square became the fifth pot holder in the set.

Here they are all layered up and ready to quilt. I just finished the last lesson of my Craftsy Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot class so  I decided these would be a great way to practice those skills.

When I make a pot holder, there are either five or six layers. From left to right: the backing fabric is face down, then a layer of Therma-Flec shiny side down, then a layer of batting, then another layer of Therma-Flec shiny side up, then the top fabric face up. If there is a sixth layer, that means I have used two layers of batting in the middle. I decided to just go with one this time.

Before I share the finished pot holders with you, I just want to say it was not a great binding day. So please don't judge me for my bad binding. Even with that, I think these are super cute and I'm looking forward to using them.
One of the suggestions for quilting from the class is to echo quilt in each shape of the quilt. That is what I did with this one, and it was fun. I can't imagine doing that much rotating with a large quilt, but it is perfect for something small.
The quilting just blends into the back of this one, although I love this fabric.
Here's a better look at the quilting. Note that this pot holder is the only one with a hanging loop. I've done loops before, but this one gave me a really hard time. You might notice a bit of angry quilting making sure it was well secured. I have never hung my pot holders anyway so I skipped the loop for all the rest.
This one demonstrates radiating lines from a single focal point. I used painters tape to mark each line one at at time so they were evenly spaced and stayed nice and straight.

Some of these look better from the back than the front. This is one of them.
Here's a closer look at the quilting.
This one is quilted with wavy lines. They are hard to see on the front.
It was easy to be inspired by this backing fabric. At first, I thought I would try to follow the lines in the fabric but decided it would be easier to quilt down the middle of some of the stripes.
Here is a closer look at the quilting.
These were some orphan strips that I stitched together to make a square. They were never intended to be perfect rows with matching points. I wasn't sure this orange peel style of quilting would work with their wonkiness but I gave it a try anyway. I like the result.
Here is the back. Owls!
Here is a better look at the quilting.
I think this one might be my favorite. It is quilted with a spiral. And I may be just a bit taken with that Amy Butler fabric.

The spiral shows up better on the back.
Here's a closer look at the quilting from the front.
This is all of them from the back.
And one more time from the front. I had the best time making these. I used up some orphan blocks, practiced some quilting skills, and now have a bright, colorful set of pot holders to cheer up my kitchen.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times and Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt. Also linking up with Sew Darn Crafty at Sew Many Ways and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.


  1. These are fabulous. I can use some new potholder so myself. Maybe I'll try some like these after the holidays. I really like the spiral you did on the last one. Amazing.

  2. Those are so cute and an easy way to practice FMQ. Looks like some great Christmas gifts too.

  3. Your potholders are so fun!!! I will try this too. Thanks fo sharing.

  4. These are super fun. And I finally figured out why my potholders make funny noises. I haven't been putting a layer of batting between my insulbrite layers. Silly me.


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