Published on July 28th, 2009 | by Julie Finn2
Crafty Green Book Review: Pretty Little Potholders
As part of the Pretty Little series, Pretty Little Potholders has step-by-step instructions and some patterns for several very different kinds of potholders.
Since I won’t be wearing any of these potholders, this crafty green book review, unlike my review of Weekend Sewing or The Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing, doesn’t have to think about whether or not the patterns are appropriate for my body. Instead, I’ll look at whether the patterns look like something I would actually want to make for myself or for gifts.
I’m also interested, in this review, in how amenable the patterns and instructions are to the use of natural or recycled materials. Are natural or recycled materials asked for, or, even if they’re not, can I easily see places in which they could be substituted?
Here, then, is what I decided about Pretty Little Potholders.
The huge variety of potholder styles is, I suppose, what saves this book. There really has to be something for everyone here. And so, even though I would never in my wildest dreams ever even think about making the potholder that looks exactly like a miniature sweater, including the child’s hanger with which to hang it from a doorknob, or the potholder that looks like a house or the one that has the stitched lotus blossoms or the one that has the doily, I would totally make the potholder shaped like a bunny or the potholder designed to fit on a pot handle for my own kitchen, and most of the potholders that incorporate patchwork and are either square or mitt-shaped for myself or as gifts. In fact, I found this book most useful for sewing for family members for holidays.
I’m also a really big fan of the tutorial section at the front of this book. Since I’m a self-taught sewer, I enjoy reading different instructions for skills, even if I already know those skills, and I found the illustrated tutorials for all kinds of sewing with bias tape terrific. The tutorial for sewing with rickrack, however, left me more confused than I was before.
Since these are sewing projects that are designed to keep people safe, I would have preferred a more detailed analysis of the types of insulation a person could choose here. The materials show a preference for cotton batting or ironing cover insulation, and felt or fleece in a pinch, but in order to decide if I really can use the bedspread I found dumpster-diving, or if I need to spring for that shiny silver fabric, I would have liked to see some numbers, or at least estimates, or, barring that, comparisons, about how well these materials insulated heat, minimum thicknesses for insulating certain temperatures, etc. That’s the only real disappointment in the book, primarily because I don’t want to give someone a gift that then gives them a second-degree burn, you know?
Otherwise, since the projects are so small, they’re mostly very amenable to the usage of either recycled or stash materials. Several projects could be used to re-use even very small pieces of stach quilting cotton, and other recycled materials, such as terrycloth toweling or felted wool, are specifically called for in the instructions.