Thursday, January 12, 2017

Potholders: Then and Now

When I was little, I received one of those plastic potholder looms for Christmas or my birthday. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of you had one as well. I remember sitting with my mom and my grandmom, pulling those little nylon loops over and under, making what were surely the world's greatest potholders (out of a meltable substance, mind you--what were they thinking back then?). I, of course, bestowed these upon my mother, who hugged them to her chest and claimed as mothers do "I love them!!!! I can't believe you made these!" For reasons I now understand, she didn't use them often. Actually, I'm pretty sure she only used them when I was standing right there and said to her "Why don't you use the potholders I made you?" She would always say one of those mom things like "I don't want to mess them up" instead of telling you they'd be more useful in a gnome home than a human home.

Even then I had that "I'm pretty sure I messed up but I'm gonna just go with it" attitude. I remember doing the peach and mint combo because my mother loved it, and the blue and yellow because they were my school colors.

I even somehow made the same mistake on both...and still went with it. When you're between the ages of five and seven such things are expected and acceptable.

Fast forward too many years...every year my grandma insists on sending us a wee bit of money for Christmas, no matter how much we ask her to keep it and buy herself something nice. She refuses (as grandmothers do). I usually buy myself something crafty, so this year I put her gift towards the grown-up version of the much beloved potholder loom.

Ignore the part where it says it's a 'best toy for kids.' The term kid is relative. The standard sized loom produces about a five inch potholder; this one kicks them off at about eight inches (which is much more acceptable to someone like me who would wrap themselves in asbestos (if it was safe) just to take a tray of cookies out of the oven).

I stalked the mailman for the package and tore into it like a kid receiving something way cooler than a potholder loom.

I don't remember which my wee little loom came with, but it was either the crochet hook or the other hook (definitely not both). This loom is of nice, sturdy metal and the tools are perfect for the job. The loops even have been upgraded--they're now made out of cotton (which won't melt). The kit comes with a bag of loops, but I also ordered a bag of all white as I knew that I would want to use that as a main color.

I spent a happy morning over Christmas break looping and weaving and grinning.

I used Google Images for ideas on color layouts. I made two before my hands needed a break (as you get towards the end it becomes a bit more difficult to weave the loops through as things become quite tense).

The instructions say to just pull that last loop through and it's done, but I'm inherently distrustful of 'finishing' instructions like that, so I sewed a few stitches in there to keep things secure.

Wanna see the stark size difference? Remember--these recent makes finish at about eight inches square.

So I expected my poor mother to extract things from a very hot oven with these teeeeeeeny little things. The thing about moms, though--she saved these. Not in a box in the attic or in the closet or something, but in the drawer in the kitchen where she keeps her dishtowels and cloths and aprons. And I bet if I asked her she'd say she likes those old things better even though she doesn't use them (and even if she's lying, haha).

I'm going to mail these to my grandma with a note telling her the wherefore and whatnot. She can use them as potholders, trivets, mats for her potted plants, whatever she wants. I'm pretty sure she'll get a kick out of them.


  1. I only had one bag of loops for my little loom. So I kept making squares and taking them apart.
    Yours looks awesome and, obviously, you found a source of the loops.

  2. Those are so pretty! As a mother myself, I understand appreciating the itty-bitty ones that are chock-full of nostalgia over the new, more perfect ones. ;-)

  3. Those are lovely! It's posts like these that make me miss my oma so so badly. Have a good weekend! (PS. Any clues on the murder mystery quilt? Any chance we have to call in Benedict Cumberbatch to solve that one??)

    1. Oh, the quilt. Well, I was wrong. I fell for a red herring clue. And the quilt itself was really a map of the story. Which I didn't get how it applied to the chapters, sooooo...I'll be keeping my day job of NOT being a detective. I might make the squares into a playmat of sorts for my nephew and all of his cars and trucks--he has an excellent imagination so he'll make better use of it that way.

  4. Haha! Love your big ones! My mother mailed my granddaughter a loom last year. Of course, I have a few ' potholders' that I use as coasters. I don't think that the loops are even cotton......ill have to get my gd a big girl loom too!

  5. I bought a Harrisville small loom for my granddaughter this Christmas. Same size as the old ones. But I think she would have never finished a bigger one. (She's in kindergarten.) But had already given serious thought to another one--the bigger one. So I was glad to see the finished ones side by side.



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