Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tutorial: T-Shirt Upcycle Project: Woven Potholder

So I've been cutting up lots of shirts for my t-shirt quilt (which is still a work-in-progress--I just have some blocks of interfaced shirts), and so I have lots of shirt left over. I used some for Christmas presents--specifically, potholders. I made two types: a woven one, and a knotted one. Both are nice and thick and perfect for protecting tables from heat! Even better, they require minimal sewing.

I'll devote this post to the woven potholder, which looks something like this:

 That one is currently in California, in the possession of one very lucky aunt ;) But no worries--I started another one in the winter that I just dug up today and added to:

And here's how I did it (I made mine with five strands, so these instructions will be for five, but this'll work with however many you wish.) :
1. Get five strands of t-yarn (see a tutorial here)
*For mine, I took the hem of a t-shirt, ripped out the seam, and cut it lengthwise. That provided me with more than enough t-yarn for one potholder.
2. Take a needle and thread (sad face) and stitch the five strands together.
3. Start weaving... take the right-most strand and go all the way to the left. The mantra is "over under over under." Then take the new right-most strand and go over under over under (the last under is the strand you just used to weave).
4. After the woven section is long enough to circle up flat (about ten to twelve stitches), start the magic that takes the place of needle and thread...
5. Before you weave with the next strand, find the loop from your first woven stitch (I'm pointing to it here, but I'm on the second time around. Same idea, though...) ...

6. ...and pull the next strand up through the loop...
7. ...then continue weaving.
(my thumb is not bleeding--I was experimenting with a bottle of nail polish and intended to wipe it off before it dried, but, well, it dried. I got it off later in the day :) )
8. Repeat steps 5-7 as you continue weaving. I put anywhere from one to three strands into a single loop before I move one--it depends how far the weave has gotten.
As you work, make sure to tug the strands tight and ensure that the pot holder is staying flat. If the sides start to curl up, loosen the edges a little.
When you reach the desired size, start weaving from the left to the right to taper the end circularly, then stitch the strands together and snip off any excess. You don't have to taper, but I don't like seeing an obvious break-off point.
So that's it! It's very easy once you get the feel of it. I hope you enjoy! (You can also make smaller versions as coasters, but considering the season, potholders might be of more use :) )

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