Circa 1985

My dear and oldest friend Amanda sent me this photo of her “heirloom” Anne (Parker) Weil original ornament circa 1985! She knew me at the height of my creative production – I used to crank out ornaments, paperweights, wall hangings, book marks, pillows – you name it. If etsy had existed, I would have been rich at 12. I think about those gifts now and have to be grateful for the gracious response of many of the recipients. For example, her parents, gorgeous import antique sellers, received from me what I thought was a very mature gift of two scottie dogs on a maroon (so sophisticated!) pillow canvas in a faux wood (read: cheap, plastic) frame. They expressed their thanks with magnanimous enthusiasm. I love them.

This got me thinking about those gifts I used to make and wondering if I could revamp any of them to make them more modern and current. I believe I could update a number of them, but I started thinking specifically about something that my Grandmother taught me to make. I know now that my grandmother was very talented with hand work. I wish I had realized and understood the value of those skills and their importance sooner. I wish I had learned more from her. But, thanks to her, she did teach me how to make the much maligned, and I must say, for the most part, poorly produced, crocheted potholder.

Laugh all you want, but let me tell you, these potholders rock! – at least the ones my grandmother taught me to make. They are sturdy, washable and incredible at blocking out the heat from even the hottest of pots and pans. They are stitched on a hook two gauges smaller than the yarn calls for and are a solid three layers. The crocheted fabric is doubled for the part that holds the pot and then there is another layer to protect the top of your hand (which I burn all the time if I don’t use these!) Am I the only one? Here is my updated version. I added a bit of embroidery with twine! This is my new favorite thing, by the way. I think an embroidered letter for personalization would be a nice motif as well.

I’ve posted a pattern separately so you can make your own potholder presents. You can never have enough of these, I say. And, they don’t look too grandmotherly! I did manage to get one of these done late on the evening of the 24th for my brother and his wife who are in the middle of their newlywed year – congratulations to them – may this potholder protect many a productive hand in the kitchen!

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