Design by Crispina ffrench.
Excerpted from The Sweater Chop Shop © 2009 by Crispina ffrench, with permission from Storey Publishing, LLC. Photography by © Kevin Kennefick and Mars Vilaubi. Illustrations by © Crispina ffrench and © Marguerite Sauvage, incorporating photographs by © Kevin Kennefick.
What you'll need:
- Felted wool sweater
- Rotary cutter and cutting pad
- One 7-inch square of woven cotton fabric
- One 1x6-inch strip of cotton jersey
- Extra-long straight pins
- Size 16 yarn darner needle
- Persian wool or embroidery floss
Back your pot holders with fun fabric found around the house -- look through your old clothes, tablecloths, or other items no longer being used -- or at a thrift shop. Avoid polyester or another synthetic that can melt with prolonged heat exposure.
- For each pot holder, cut a 7-inch square from both the felted sweater and the woven cotton fabric. If the felt is thin, cut two or three squares to increase the thickness of the finished pot holder.
- Place the wool and cotton squares wrong sides together with the cotton fabric on top. If you are using more than one wool square, stack them, carefully matching edges, and add the cotton square to the pile, right side up.
- To make a loop for hanging the pot holder, fold the 1x6-inch rectangle of cotton jersey in half, short ends together. Insert 1-1/2 inches of the two short ends in one corner between the layered squares.
- Pin all four corners in place, being careful that you have caught both ends of the hanging loop.
- Thread your needle with a 2-yard length of Persian wool or embroidery floss. Beginning at the corner with the hanging loop, insert your needle under the cotton top layer and push down through the hanger and the wool bottom layers of fabric. Pull yarn through the bottom of the pot holder, concealing the knot under the top layer.
- Make a reinforced X stitch through the hanger and all layers in that corner. Stitches should be neat and strong and can show on both sides of the pot holder. This stitch will anchor the hanger and keep the layers in place.
- Finish your X stitch with thread coming out of the fabric about 1/2 inch in from the cut edges of the layers, and begin to blanket stitch around the edges of the pot holder. Be sure you are catching all the layers with each stitch. Keep your corners neat and square by double stitching the first and last stitches of each side seam.
- When you are back to where you started, tie an overhand knot close to the surface of the material. Run the needle and yarn between the layers about 1 inch to conceal it. Snip the yarn off at the surface of the pot holder.
- Iron the finished pot holder with lots of steam to make it flat.
Once you've mastered the single-square pot holder, you can create a playful look by patching together a variety of fabrics. Begin with four 7-inch squares. Cut one of the 7-inch squares into four shapes and use these as your patterns to cut the others. Now mix and match your pieces to get a patchwork look, and form a completed square. Join the pieces with either a ladder stitch variation or edge-to-edge X stitch to make a new set of four pot holder tops. Complete the pot holders by finishing steps 2 though 9 again.