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Monday, April 12, 2021

I was needing a new potholder . . .

If you remember, a couple of years ago I patched my oven mitts. That fix lasted a good two years. So, I'm satisfied with the work done then. However, my oven mitts have now developed actual holes (not just thin spots as before) right where my fingers need to be when I grab a hot baking pan out of the oven. In fact, I got a sharp surprise about a month ago when grabbing the pizza out of the oven. Ouch!

Anyway, I've been looking at oven mitts in stores and online for a few weeks. Most of what I find in the stores are all made in other countries. As I'm still trying to buy from my preferred countries, this left me with shopping through Etsy. As we all know, Etsy can be a bit expensive.

One afternoon, I just thought, "utilitarian items don't need to be pretty. It's okay with me if utilitarian items look utilitarian." Thinking in this way gave me the freedom to just sit down and sew a potholder, using some of my fabric scraps.

If you're practiced at making over blue jeans, you know that you wind up with lots of denim pieces like lower jean legs (jean shorts anyone?). A cut off lower leg of a pair of jeans is just the type of thing that a packrat like me will hold onto for years. Because, well, you know, you just might need that piece of denim. 

I used one denim leg (along with other scraps as an insulating layer) to make this denim potholder.  Using scraps that I had on hand meant little risk should it not turn out and no expense. The whole project took less than an hour and was ready to use that very night when making dinner.

It's nothing special to look at. But it is a utilitarian item, after all. Why am I telling you about my new potholder made from blue jean scraps? I know that sometimes I have a hard time beginning a project because of fear of failure. In sewing projects, that failure might be not turning out as well as my mind envisions. In these cases, I have to give myself permission to fail before I even begin. Using scraps that were free to me is just such "permission." Nothing at risk, but a lot to gain -- makes me think of the Nike slogan, "Just do it."

Now that I've actually made this one (and solved our potholder problem), I'm wishing I'd done this several weeks ago. Having a usable potholder would have saved my family members a burn or two. 


  1. I know all too well the thinking process of not starting something if I think I can't do it right or don't have all of the pieces in place. For a while now, I have been trying to reprogram myself to not do this with some success. I am also a lot better at accepting the mistakes I do make, but it's still a work in progress.

    I haven't looked for potholders for a while, but I can imagine that it would be hard to find ones made in the US. You solved that problem quite nicely. You have a potholder, economically made, in the US. That's a good lesson for all of us.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I think we're all works in progress. Good for you for making these changes. It's certainly not easy to do.

      Yep -- all good results on the potholder!

  2. I think your potholder looks great! Most of mine are decades old and have been handmade. My MIL gave me some that she quilted. I felt kinda guilty about using them for awhile but then realized that she gave them to me to use, not to admire. (we all have our quirks, and that's one of mine).

    My daughter made me a neck pillow out of the leg of one of the jeans she had outgrown. I use it on road trips--it was a super simple project for her (this was when she was around 11 or 12) and it suits its purpose well. I thought of that when you mentioned your jean scraps.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I do the same thing as you were doing with your MIL's gifted potholders -- I save them as some sort of artifact. We have a quilt that my husband's grandmother made about 60 years ago or so. It had been "on display" but not in use until my husband decided to use it last week. These useful things were meant to be used. And I think we can still take good care of them while putting them to use.

      How sweet of your daughter. That's a great use for a jean pant leg!


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