DYI – Crochet a Potholder

Ready to make your own beautiful potholder?  Begin by making a shopping list:

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Next, make sure you know how to single crochet and make the basic chain stitch.  The entire potholder is made with one crochet stitch!  Easy, easy, EASY!  No?  Jump over to YouTube for a quick tutorial about single crochet.  If you don’t know how to make a chain stitch, check this out.

OK!  Let’s get started.  Chain 40 stitches to make the “back bone” of the potholder.  In the photo below, the pink yarn shows the “back bone” with 40 chain stitches.  Next to it is a completed blue and white potholder.  Imagine placing the pink on top of the blue and you will see the foundation of this easy pattern.

IMG_1118-Edit-Edit-1The next two steps are THE most important and most difficult steps of the entire pattern but do not worry!  If you goof up like I did, you can easily rip it out and start over again until it works.  I promise.  You will goof up the first time and like me you will laugh out loud when you see how easy it is.  Goofing up is OK!  Ripping out and starting over again – OK!

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At the end of the chain, with one chain stich on the hook, go back to the third chain and make a single crochet.

IMG_1120This image is out of focus but it does show you how to hold the yarn and place the hook into the third chain stitch to make the first single crochet.

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It may feel a bit awkward getting the first row in, but don’t let that stop or discourage you.  Keep crocheting!  It will work our just fine, I promise!

At the end of the first row, the last single crochet will be near the knot from the beginning chain.  Next, you will add two more single crochets into the same space as the last one (total of three).

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Then you will turn around the end in a clockwise motion and make a single crochet in the top of the second (or bottom side) row.  Note – this is different than traditional crocheting patterns where you turn or flip the row over.  In this pattern, we will keep going in the same direction, never reversing back and forth, but going around and around and around. For the first few times around, at the end the stitches will be very close together, forming the points of the corners of the potholder.  Keep rotating counter clock-wise, and soon the ends will spread out.

In the image below, you can see the first two rows that form the “backbone” of the potholder.  The crochet hook is ready to start the third row.  From now on, I will never add any more extra stitches and will singel crochet in the same direction, round and round and round!  It is so easy!

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See how the ends “pucker” at then ends?  They will make the corners of the potholder as one row builds on top of the next, getting bigger….
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and bigger…

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Here’s another view of a potholder, laying it flat and in a rectangular shape.  It remindes me of the flat Army garrison cap or those funny paper hats soda jerks wore back in the 1950s.

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Then pulled into a square shape.  See how the working edges are getting closer together?  IMG_1271-Edit-1

Again, looking at it in rectangular shape, this time it is almost done!

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The working edges are almost touching.  Just a few more single crochet stitches and it will be done!

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Figuring out when it is done takes a bit of fiddling and looking at the working edges to see if they are close enough to join together.  When it lays flat and the working edges are side-by-side, it is done.  Next,  find the last single crochet and pull out a little loop to tie off.  I leave 12 inches of extra yarn at the end to tie a knot and have enough yearn left over to sew up the middle seam.

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Thread the end of the yarn into a yarn needle, one that has a dull point and an eye that is large enough for the diameter of the yarn.  To start closing the middle opening, bring the needle up from the inside of the double crochet and pull so that the knot disappears to the inside of the potholder.

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I like to loosely pull the middle joint together using a simple stitch to pull together two single crochet stitches together.  Don’t pull it too tight or a big ridge will form at the joint.  The joining stitch needs to be snug enough to hold the seam together but not too tight, or as Momma Bear says in Goldilocks, “Just right!”

IMG_1202-Edit-1At the end of the seam, tie another knot in a discrete location and then pull the tail end into the middle of the potholder to hide it.

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Done!  Each potholder takes me about an hour or two to complete.  The first one may take a bit longer to rip out mistakes as you figure out how to get it going, but after that brief learning curve, I predict you will zip through each one you make and be very pleased with the results!

This blog post is dedicated to my young Dutch oven friend Amanda, and her grandmother, Deborah, who share the joy of crocheting and outdoor cooking.  We had a great time yesterday at the Lewisville Armadillos DOG.  After we put hot coals on our Dutch ovens, we had time to sit and chat and share stories of learning to crochet.  Amanda, a leftie, learned to crochet from her grandmother, a rightie, which pretty amazing IMHO!  For her Christmas gift to her dad, Amanda made a granny-sqare quilt and has plans to make a lot more. Deborah’s Christmas gift to her grandaughter was a kit to crochet Wizard of Oz characters.  Amanda quickly had the Tin Man done and will soon have the entire cast of characters completed.  Both Amanda and Deborah were kind to ask lots of questions about the potholder and helped me to think more clearly about explaining how to make this simple yet fun project.  Thank you Amanda and Deborah!

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