Stash Busting Pot Holders

I have plenty of scraps and plenty of short lengths of fabric that I’ve bought on sale, some as holiday souvenirs. Pot holders are a perfect way to use up the scraps. Christmas will be upon us before we know and I actually could use a couple of new pot holders for myself. Remember the saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes?

Until now I’ve based my pot holders on traditional 9 inch blocks, my absolute favourite being the churn dash. However, after measuring a much loved (and almost worn out) pot holder from my own kitchen I decided an 8 inch block will work fine.

About.com Quilting has these cutting instructions for an 8 inch block called Sarah’s Choice.

Light Neutral Background
Four 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares
Four 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles

Dark Print
Two 2-7/8″ x 2-7/8″ squares
Four 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares

Medium Print
Two 2-7/8″ x 2-7/8″ squares
Four 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares

Sarah's Choice Pot Holder

Sarah's Choice

It’s a pretty block. Just wish my points had come out a bit sharper. I’m not entirely convinced I made the right fabric choices either.

Another idea to use up scraps is piecing some strips together. This tutorial at Fresh Lemon Quilts is a great stash-busting idea that uses a seven inch block. The tutorial provides a pattern but I would take a more improvisational approach, using string piecing on a foundation block. I do wonder if a seven inch block is big enough. My hands aren’t big but I do want them to get a good amount of protection when dealing with heavy objects that are hot from the oven.

The Sawtooth Star block let me showcase this cute heart print.

Sawtooth Star with Heart Print Centre

Sawtooth Star

Leah’s Star is another block I considered. This pattern is from Quilt in a Day. She has you sew the half square triangles over-sized and trim them down after pressing them open. That’s a new approach for me. I see the benefits of ending up with a perfectly sized square, but I am also reminded of a lesson shared by an expert photographer, back in the days when that was a passion of mine. He said, “There’s only one exposure, the right exposure.” To me, the wastefulness of deliberately making an oversized block goes against the frugal tradition of quilting. The idea doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

I’m just a little too pressed for time to consider binding a pot holder just at the moment but I do concede that it gives a lovely, professional finish. Fellow blogger supermom kindly shared her very useful instructions for making hanging loops. The instructions are in the comments the follow her post about completing three hot pads. I will definitely give her method a try at some stage in the future.

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2 responses to “Stash Busting Pot Holders

  1. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the “Slow Food” movement or not, but I’m starting to wonder if there ought to be a “Slow Quilt” movement. Preserving the patterns of our quilting tradition is great, but what are we really doing if we’re losing the frugal hand-crafting of our heritage?

    As quilters, we’re spending an awful lot of time figuring out how to fake a handmade, frugal look. Our shops perpetuate this “Little House on the Prairie” image while teaching us how to make machined things look handmade and make giant blocks to make points pretty. Maybe it’s time for a few mindful folks like you and I to slow down! Great blog!

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