Saturday, March 9, 2013

Crocheted Vintage Diamond Potholders

I like to have something to keep my hands busy in the evenings, especially in the winter. We heat with a woodstove in the living room, which leaves the rest of the house a bit cool. So we're just like in the days of yesteryear, when families had to gather 'round the fire. My husband watches tv while the pets stretch out on the rug with their bellies to the warmth. Sometimes, I'm totally uninterested in what Aries is watching, and then I'll read. But other times, I'll want to catch a bit of the show but then get bored during the commercials. So I like having some kind of handwork - crochet, embroidery, mending - I can work on sporadically without too much concentration involved.

I just finished up with a new pair of crocheted potholders. I inherited a lot of old crochet pattern booklets - the oldest published in 1921. This particular pattern is in a 1941 booklet entitled The Magic of Crochet, that has lots of placemat sets, glass cozies, and other little household and fashion goodies.

This pattern is so easy! It's worked all in one piece, in rounds of double-crochet instead of turning. So once you get the first round onto the hanging loop, there's no counting or placekeeping needed. When you're satisfied with the size you just match up the sides, work a row joining them together, and then make one last turn to finish with a decorative scalloped edge. The double layer of crochet is thick enough without the need for added padding that so many of the potholders from that era need.

You can see that I've scribbled up the pattern a bit. The first time I made this pattern, maybe 25 years ago (the golden ones), I was almost finished with the first one (top left) when I realized a typo in the pattern made the diamond shape lopsided. I corrected it for the second one. That set still lives in my camping gear.

It's a really sturdy pattern, too - just make sure to use cotton or wool (acrylic blends can melt). The middle set I made about 20 years ago. After daily use in my kitchen, they've just now worn through enough to burn my fingers if I'm not careful. I tossed those when I completed the new set, on the right. Since they're all cotton, they will shrink and the crochet tighten up a bit, the first time I run those through the washer and dryer. Even though a set of six was suggested for the housewives of the 1940's, two are sufficient for me.

I hope you are able to read the pattern, with my correction and adaptation for a crocheted hanger loop instead of covered bone or plastic ring (once those break, or melt, there's no way of fixing them). Let me know if I need to make a link to a pdf file of that page. Or as a last resort (and I'd really rather not bother), I can type out the pattern as I've adapted it. My potholders are a hanging loop of 30 dc worked over a chain of 15 joined into a ring, 16 rows of green dc, 2 of white, 2 more of green, then the joining single crochet and the edging - about 6 inches square. I know crocheting string can be really tedious for some folks, so I'm thinking about adapting this pattern for cotton yarn too.


Annodear said...

Nice work!! I didn't realize you'd made the "originals" :-)

Tami said...

Thank you for this post and especially the picture. Without it I don't think I would of figured out this pattern. I couldn't make out your original pattern but was delighted to also find it on ravelry. I like your tip for the circle instead of the bone ring too. I'll be giving it a try tomorrow.