Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"What Was I Thinking?"

I confess...

...I have a stash of "what was I thinking?" fabric (hereafter referred to as "WWITF").  It's not a huge stash,  although I guess that depends on how you measure a stash.  Still, it's large enough to haunt me.

The WWITF's are neatly folded on my shelves...a sure sign that they haven't been used.  And I imagine their plaintive cries of "Take me!"  as I root around through piles of neighboring batiks.

The "whimsical" WWITF's are delightful in their colorful, light-hearted cheeriness -- like this one of exuberant crows dancing around cherries on a sunny yellow background.

It was an optimistic, wishful thinking purchase -- probably made on a cold,  gray winter day.  The thought process may have gone something like this:  "I love so-and-so's whimsical work.  Her pieces are charming and funky and fun.  And look at this fabric, it's funky and fun;  exactly the type of fabric that might inspire me to unleash my own inner whimsy."

Well, maybe not...the fabric is still charming, but it hasn't unleashed my inner whimsy - at least not over the past 2 or 3 years. 

What it has unleashed is a desire to do something with the fabric.  So, here they are...some funky, and hopefully fun, whimsical (and easy) potholders.

There are plenty of YouTube tutorials for making potholders, but the lack of a binding attracted me to this one.  I really don't know who originated the design -- if anyone does, please contact me and I'll happily give credit.   

These particular pieces finish off to a little more than 7"x7" -- but you can really make them any size that works for you.

I started each potholder with the following 8"x8" materials:
-  2 squares of black fabric (I didn't have enough WWITF to use here, so I went with black - but, by all means...rock it out with the WWITF if you have enough)
-  1 square of white flannel
-  1 square of the Insul-Bright (an insulating material by The Warm Company)

I layered them in the order shown above and sewed 2 diagonal seams (top left corner to bottom right;  top right corner to bottom left).  An 1/8" seam was sewn around the perimeter.

For each potholder, I cut 2 squares of the WWITF along with 2 squares  of solid fabric to coordinate with the dancing crows.  (2 squares of the red fabric for one of them, 2 squares of green for the before, all of the squares measure 8"x8")

The fabrics were folded in half (into rectangles)...  

...positioned in a basketweave pattern on the prepared sandwich of fabric and insulating material...
...and then butted up against each other (note, the folded edges are oriented towards the center / the raw edges towards the outside): 

 If you make a little handle, you can fold back the "woven" rectangles and position the handle in the corner.  The raw edge should be oriented towards the corner (to be caught in the final quarter inch seam allowance).  The folded end of handle is oriented towards the middle.  Leave off the handle and you have a choice between calling your creation a handle-less potholder or a whimsical hot-pad!  

With handle in place, I repositioned the folded-back fabrics, sewed a quarter inch seam around the perimeter, and trimmed off the points and some of the edges to reduce bulk: 

The final step was to turn the potholder inside out (or right-side in, depending on your perspective).  Essentially you're flipping the 4 rectangles that made up the basketweave to the other side of the potholder.  (Clear as mud, right?)

In the photo below, we're halfway through the little inside-out maneuver and you can see the handle as it's being revealed (not so easy to get a photo to illustrate -- but once you've made the item, it will be obvious).

My "friends" -- a trusty turning tool and a chopstick -- helped complete the turning process.  A little push here and a little smoothing there and VOILA (!) ... less whimsical WWITF in the stash -- and a holiday gift to boot.




  1. I've never made anything using this method, but now I've got to try! I have soooooo many WTBWIT (what the bleep was I thinking) fabrics...Maybe we should do a round robin, or exchange squares, to spread the awful wealth! Your bird fabric isn't even that awful, relatively. Why did I buy gnat fabric? Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. So glad that I have a fellow WWIT in you Cathy. I like the addition of the "bleep" -- so I may adopt it. My WWITF's fall into at least two categories: those that are actually nice (like the bird fabric), but just don't fit with my usual style. And those that are awful and ugly. Maybe I should call them WWTMT (what were the manufacturers thinking!). I'd definitely like to see the "gnat" fabric....

  2. A number of years ago, Annabell from Perth, sent a pattern for coasters for wine glasses done this way, to the Pomegranate Guild Paper Pomegranate. Many of us made sets with different fabrics to use for parties. The bottom of the wine glass sort of wiggles inside the coaster, so everyone takes their coaster with them. Love the idea of using my WWIT fabrics this way. Thanks, Debbie.

    1. Now that's cool Barbara...I went online and found a couple of tutorials. You're right, same basic idea.