Friday, September 10, 2010

Suzy's SW Potholders

September 1, 2010: This is the fifth month of twelve in our Dazzling Dozen Potholder Swap group at This time it is Suzy's turn to be the recipient of eleven potholders made by the other eleven members of our group.

This is Suzy and she has granted
me permission to use her photo.

When asked about her preferences, Suzy posted, "I'm easy to please. But if it helps, my kitchen is decorated in a Southwestern theme. Colors are burgundy, gold and deep blue." When pressed for more information about her SW theme, she answered, "I love Native American art. On the shelf above my kitchen cabinets, I have about 50 different ceramic pots and chiminea. The rest of the kitchen is decorated with kokopelli, lizards and tons of suns. In fact, my husband had to put a halt to the sun purchasing."

I had no idea what Kokopelli meant and, being curious, I decided I would like to find out. Here is what I found at the Wikipedia site:

    "Kokopelli is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player.... He presides over childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music."
And here is the Kokopelli graphic Wikipedia uses to depict how this trickster god looks. I found a few more graphics which were all very similar.

Hmmmmm, this seemed like a fun element to use for Suzy's SW Potholder. Keying off of Suzy's three stated colors: gold, burgundy and deep blue, I decided to make a Ripple Potholder* using Lily's Sugar 'n Cream cotton and put a little Kokopelli embellishment in the center. I didn't find a sandy gold for what I imagine is Suzy's wall color and so I had to substitute a brighter yellow. The other two colors seemed like they were probably close. But then I took one look at these three bold colors together and experienced something new: color anxiety! Normally I don't shy away from color combining but WHEW! these were strong colors!!! I pondered softening their impact with rounds of ecru to separate them but then I had a good talking to myself about just throwing caution to the wind and "going for it."

After crocheting the main body of the potholder (both front and back sides), now I had to decide how to execute the graphic element of the Kokopelli. I was constrained by size: it could not be larger than 2 1/4 inches high to fit in the center of the potholder. There were too many finite parts to crochet it so embroidering it seemed the best way to capture the details.

Using a charcoal colored piece of cloth stretched on an embroidery hoop, I sketched out my version of a Kokopelli directly onto the fabric. Then, using three strands of DMC cotton embroidery floss, I stitched the outline all around. I completed the body using the satin stitch. When done, I secured the Kokopelli on the backside with a layer of washable, flexible fabric glue called Unique Stitch. The next day, after I was sure it had ample time to dry, I cut out the little figure close to the stitching line and glued it in place on the potholder using the same glue. After several additional hours of drying, I was ready to stitch the little hair protrusions directly on the potholder to finish up Mr. Kokopelli. To finish this project, I crocheted the two sides of the potholder together and completed it with a hanging loop.

Below (right) is the completed Kokopelli potholder.
You can see from this photo that there is a second potholder. I like to send something extra to each of our Dazzling Dozen members when it is their turn to be the featured recipient. Sometimes I send a sewn crochet hook pouch, other times a second potholder. A day or two after making the first potholder, I started a second one. This time I decided on a different embellishment—a ceramic pot. I crocheted the little pot using six strands of DMC cotton and a size 2 hook.

September 10, 2010:
Suzy received her two potholders today and so I can post this blog. Here is what Suzy had to say:

Hi Claudia!
I just wanted you to know that I received your beautiful potholders last night and they are just amazing!! The center stitching even brought gasps from my teenage daughter and let me tell you, that is a rarity.

The colors are perfect and match my kitchen to a tee. Thank you so much for such a wonderful addition to my kitchen!


Suzy, it was my pleasure.

*Instructions for making the Ripple Potholder can be found on this blog in a previous posting.

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