Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Becky's Fiestaware Potholder

Another month, another potholder for a member of our Dazzling Dozen potholder swap group. That sounded kind of perfunctory, but I mean it joyfully! This month, it is Becky's turn. Each month I try to tailor the potholder for the featured person's tastes.

When asked about color and theme preferences, Becky posted this photo of her dishes with us at our thread.

I decided that I wanted to make a potholder featuring a turquoise mug and a burnt orange plate/saucer, like the ones in the picture. Affirming that these were Fiestaware dishes from Becky via a message, I started a little online research to look at the construction of the handles of the mugs. Then I incubated for a week or two about ideas. I needed some additional graphic element to complete the picture but didn't know what exactly. I finally came up with an idea that suited the colors and satisfied the sense of balance of the whole: a slice of lemon and a tea bag—or at least the label and string.

Here is the sketch I drew of my idea to serve as a template. I also added some notes to myself, like "turquoise blue" on the mug and "burnt orange" on the plate. [That diagonal crease is from my having folded the paper to produce a square. Also, I am an incurable uphill writer, as you can see with my later notations in ink.]

Next I had to find the right color yarns. I found that turquoise and burnt orange are not common colors in cotton yarns. I found one small skein of turquoise in a different brand at my local yarn store (LYS, we it them on ravelry) but it was both expensive (even on sale) and dull and I wanted something with a bit of a sheen, like the ceramic glaze on the dishes. I was stumped for a few days until I thought of DMC cotton. I found both the turquoise and the burnt orange in little hanks and bought enough of each of the colors I needed. In addition to the turquoise, I also bought some yellows for the lemon, and white and black for the tea bag label and string.

Wow! What a great idea these little DMC hanks turned out to be for several reasons. They are cheap: they only cost about 35¢ when not on sale so you don't have to spend a lot for colors you might not ordinarily use. They come in many colors: in fact hundreds of colors! They are 100 percent cotton: a must for making potholders that won't burn or melt. They are easy to use: you just crochet all six strands at once and the density is similar to size 3 crochet thread. My creative and crochet world just expanded!

I set to work on the potholder, first crocheting the background (size F hook) as if there was a table on which the items would sit with a wall beyond. I wanted these background colors to be neutral so I chose beige (Tahki cotton classic) and cream (Omega Sinfonia). The lower half (table) is comprised of rows of hdc's; the upper half (wall) was done in a stitch called "Petite Shells." [I'll reference this and another stitch from the same book at the end of this blog page.]

After the background was done, I crocheted the larger graphic elements (cup and saucer) using a size 2 hook and DMC cotton. After placing and attaching these elements, I crocheted the lemon wedge and the tea bag label. I stitched on "MINT" and "TEA" to the little label and attached both. Finally I added the tea bag string by embroidering an outline stitch from the label up and over the top rim of the mug.

Here's the picture of both the front and back sides of the potholder for Becky. [This is as big as the blog will allow me to make this photo. Wish it were bigger.]

I was able to use the turquoise cotton yarn that I bought initially at my LYS for the back. Again using the same cream and beige from the front, I included the turquoise in a three color stitch called "Clever Blocks"* to form a checkerboard effect. I used the DMC cotton to join both sides together to create a scalloped edging. Using a plastic curtain ring, I completed the potholder with the same burnt orange color and a buttonhole or blanket stitch.

This "Clever Blocks" stitch and the "Petite Shell" stitch are from a book titled, The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Margaret Hubert.

I have checked out many crochet books from the library and also look at several whenever I go to bookstores. Of all the books, I liked this one the best and ordered it from Amazon.com to keep as a resource. I like to try new stitches and create new effects, always stretching and flexing my crochet skill muscles.


  1. your work is absolutely beautiful! i cant wait to see mine!

  2. It turned out awesome. Your work is really amazing.

    I have that same book, and never tried any of the patterns yet.

  3. Beautiful! You are so creative and you do such a good job.