The Plus Sign
I love the simplicity of a plain, plus sign. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe I’m seeing the icon more and more lately. Or maybe I’m digging the Scandinavian look more. Or, maybe I just want to see a few more when I log into my bank account 😊 — not sure. But what I am sure about is that I’ve been seeing this shape everywhere and I’m loving it.
Deciding What to Create with the +
I initially had grand plans to make a quilt or some throw cushion covers but decided on a quicker win — potholders. Side note: I actually have every intention of making a simple, two-tone quilt with this pattern but needed to make a small gift for someone special and this fit the bill!
After a bit of trial and error to get the measurements just right, I came up with the size I liked best for my potholders.
The two different dimensions used were:
- 2 inch by 2 inch squares (6)
- 2 inch by 4 3/8 inch strips (1)
I needed just four completed plus-squares to make up each potholder with the addition of white strips dividing each square. Or black strips for the contrasting pot holder (shown below…a little farther).
My seam allowances weren’t the typical 1/4 inch; instead I used a 3/8 inch allowance. This made for less fuss when it came time to steam open the seams.
And as you can see, I went with the typical white (cream) and black colour combo because the contrast pops nicely.
Kitty Break: High 5 for Contrasting Colours
Four layers make up this potholder: A top layer, crunchy-heat-resistant-layer, batting layer and the backing. I’m not sure why you need the additional batting layer but I followed instructions from this fantastic vid tutorial on CreativeBug. I sometimes do as I’m told.
Where to find these fabrics:
- Black fabric is from The Cloth Shop.
- Cream fabric is scraps from Bed.
- Fabric backing is from Spoonflower*.
- Crunchy-heat-resistant-layer and batting is from Dressew.
*This is from my ‘shop’. I sheepishly provide this detail as it is sparse and unloved. I WILL HAVE TIME TO DESIGN FABRIC ANOTHER DAY.
Quilting the Layers
First and foremost, do as the instructor suggests and baste stitch the outside of the quilt sandwich before you start stitching the layers together. Or, at least pin it really well. I unstitched a lot of lines on the first potholder due to the fact that as I got closer to the edges, the backing gradually bunched up a bit from all the previous lines of stitches and at the end, wasn’t the same size as the top layer. #learnedthehardway #hardknocklife
As suggested in the vid tutorial, I also went with an easy diagonal stitch across the whole potholder in both directions. I didn’t measure the width of each line but instead gauged it with my presser foot. I don’t really like things perfectly-perfect and this made for swifter work. If you are of the Type A variety, you could always mark out your lines with a water soluble pen to ensure an even width.
I should also note, before I added the binding, I squared up my project with my ruler and rotary cutter. I cut off about 1/8 of an inch off each side of the potholder. The final holder measured in at about 9 inches by 9 inches — a little larger than a store-bought one but all the more room to put those big pots of steaming chicken soup on or to grab that hot apple pie dish from the oven. Mmmm, apple pie.
The Binding/Bias Tape Bout
There are a couple options you can do to finish off your mini-quilt: Create your own binding or buy some bias tape. I opted to use a loooong strip of my free Bed fabric to create my own binding over the store-bought bias tape. I find the store-bought stuff is low in quality, as far as the weight of the fabric, and that didn’t feel on par with the care I put in to create my potholder.
For the white pluses on black, I went with a traditional quilting technique of sewing one side of the 2.5 inch binding to the top of the sandwich and then hand-stitched it to the back of the potholder. After, a separate loop was created and sewn on.
For the black pluses on white, I decided to try and sew the 2 inch binding like bias tape and then continued the binding to form a loop at the end of the pot holder.
The traditional method yields a more flawless result but is more time consuming. The bias-tape-route is faster but not quite as perfect. Whatever you have time for/whether you have that perfection-itch.
Ready to save yourself or your friends from burns of the hand-sort and the eye-sort? Then here is your answer, my friends. Sew some Positive Potholders. They will save human flesh + they’re pretty to look at.
Black pluses and white pluses, side by side. Why is it so easy to spot the black pluses but when I look for the white ones, all I see is a creature from a video game?
Thinking this might be the first item to make the Etsy store. But what will I charge? Suggestions?