They don’t write ’em like that anymore


Pattern: Stir Me Up Potholders by Minty Fresh

  • Warm tones version: Pisgah Peaches & Creme (100% cotton), colorways Sunburst and Red; Lily Sugar’n Creme (100% cotton), colorways Camo Pink and Light Blue
  • Cool tones version: Lily Sugar’n Creme (100% cotton), colorways Dark Pine, Light Blue, Soft Teal, Camo Pink
  • Hook: U.S. H/5.0 mm

    Potholders, Noel said. That’s what his mom wanted for Christmas. Is that something you can make, he said.

    Of course. The only question: what technique to use. I’d been wanting to learn double-knitting on a potholder, but with less than two weeks to go before Christmas, would I be able to learn it and churn out more than one specimen? Or should I indulge instead my yen to improve my crochet skills, with a pattern whose mesmerizing spiral has been beckoning me from my Ravelry favorites for months?


    The complicating factor was the need to choose several colors for each potholder. These are for a woman whose ability to choose magically complementary fabric in her quilting fills me with awe. I am worse than a neophyte in colorful thinking. I am ignorant — so clueless that I can’t even trust my own eye. Do those colors look good together? I don’t even know. Resolved for 2011: get some minimal training in color theory.


    I winged it with the only rule I knew, picked up while contemplating what colors I would use for a striped girl’s top. Try three cool and one hot together, the pattern suggested, or vice versa. And while the results don’t have the stunning op-art look of some versions of these potholders I’ve seen, they’ve grown on me. I didn’t screw it up too badly.


    The actual crocheting was easy times four (meaning that I had to make two identical sides for each potholder), with each one taking about an evening. I did my very first crochet seams around the outside to join the two sides, then threw them in the wash on hot and the dryer on high to tighten and shrink them. (It also caused the red around the outside of the hot version to bleed a little into the white, but only on one side; I suggest my mother-in-law hang the potholders in the kitchen with that side facing the cabinets.) Then I ironed them. Yes, I ironed. I never iron. But I wanted these to look professional.

    And I have to say — it was worth it. They have retro charm and perfect functionality. If the colors were a bit more designer-approved, you’d be buying them in your local Restoration Hardware. May they long grace Libby’s kitchen and be put to good use lifting the covers off of Dutch ovens and holding casseroles safely off tabletops.

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