Today’s pattern is an easy crochet potholder. As I mentioned in my last journal post, I recently got a big bag of cotton yarn with the intent of making assorted homeware out of it, and started immediately on potholders, following a pattern that one of the folks at a local needlework club showed me. The pattern is quite clever, but doesn’t really belong to me; anyway, it makes double-layer squares on the diagonal, shown at right. I made four before getting a little tired of doing the same thing; instead of just putting the overall project to the side, I decided to work out a similar pattern, with a double-layer and easy color changes, but in a different shape. What could be easier, I thought, than a circle?
I’m posting this primarily to save y’all the trouble of finding out. Those of you who have done much crochet will know that circles that neither wave out or crimp up into bowls are actually a pain (as, indeed, I knew going into this, or at least should have known). I’d done some granny squares recently that started with 18 tc on a magic ring, with successive rows of (basically) dc adding 18 dc in every ring, so I thought this would be a good starting point. Unfortunately, this sucker started waving wildly (made a noticeably hyperbolic surface) at about the fourth row, so I ripped it out and tried with 16 as the magic number. Much better—this time it didn’t start waving much until about row 6, and could be made to lie flat with some effort, so I could not be bothered to rip it out. My next one, I started with 15 tc, but it was still a little wavy, so my third and final one, which actually lies flat without effort, starts with 14 tc.
You will need two different, coordinating colors of a worsted-weight cotton yarn, one ounce/46 yards (28 g/42 m) each, and a G6/4mm hook (or, size down one from the hook recommended on the yarn sleeve). This will make an 8.5″ (21 cm) diameter circle, or close to it.
You will need to know dc (double crochet), tc (treble/triple crochet), sc (single crochet), slip stitch, chain, and magic ring; if you don’t know magic ring, there are lots of tutorials around including one I made in the first steps of this pattern: granny_slippers.
- With one of your yarns (yarn A), magic ring, chain 4, and make 13 tc (chain acts as 14th tc), slip stitch into top of chain 4
- Chain 3, dc in same top of chain 4, 2dc in each of next 13 ts, slip stitch into top of chain 3
- Chain 3, dc in same top of chain 3, (dc in next dc, 2dc in next dc) around, dc in remaining dc, slip to close
- Chain 3, dc in next dc, (2 dc in next dc, dc in next two dc) around, 2dc in next dc, slip to close
- Set this piece (piece A) aside and repeat from step 1 with the other yarn (yarn B, making piece B)
- Tie the two pieces together at their centers using the tails of the magic loops, making sure the right sides (the side facing you as you work) are facing outwards
- Rotate the two pieces so that the loose ends of yarn are at the same place; slip stitch yarn A into piece B in the last dc you made, and slip stitch yarn B into piece A in the last dc you made on that piece
- With piece B facing you, chain 3 in yarn A, dc in top of chain 3, (2dc in next dc, dc in next 3 dc) around, 2dc in next dc, dc in next dc, slip to close
- Still with yarn A in piece B, chain 3, dc in same top of chain 3, (dc in next 4 dc, 2dc in next dc) around, dc in next 4dc, slip to close
- Repeat steps 8&9 with yarn B in piece A
- Slip yarn A back into piece A and yarn B back into piece B, lining up the pieces however they want to lie
- With yarn A on piece A, chain 3, dc in next 4 dc (counting the chain-3 as a dc), (2dc in next dc, dc in next 5 dc) around, 2dc in remaining dc, and slip to close
- Repeat step 12 with yarn B on piece B
- Decide which yarn(s) to make your binding with—whichever one is longer is a good choice, or you can use both, or a third color of yarn if that’s how you roll. At any rate, with one yarn, chain one and sc around, catching the top loops of the next dc on both piece A and piece B into one stitch. If you are using both yarns, sc halfway around the circle with one, then go back and do the other half with the other, turning the other piece to face you.
Note: At a higher level of abstraction, this pattern is just a set of rows, each of which is 14 stitches longer than the row before it; the increases are evenly spaced, and line up between (not on top of) the increases in the previous row. If you can’t see the forest for the individual stitches, just keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.
Note the second: While you work on it this potholder will be a bit wibbledy—at first it will try to form a bowl, and later it will try to form waves in the outer edge. It does come together as you bind it with the last row and lies quite flat when finished. If it’s too wibbledy as you work, though, and you’re getting nervous, I won’t be offended if you rip it out and try a different number of stitches; 13 or 15 may work better with your individual crafting idiom.
Note the third: The potholder is two layers primarily so that it will provide better protection—crochet stitches leave fairly large gaps in the fabric, which the second layer will fill. The pattern will also work for a single-layer circle, if that’s something you want, but don’t use it as a potholder. Also, don’t use synthetic fibers for potholders, as they melt—usually I am all for changing up yarns, but cotton is what you want for kitchenware as it cleans better than wool and handles heat better than synthetic.
Note the fourth: The two sides of the potholder will both be equally presentable, depending on your yarn choices; note that the two potholders in the image at right are made the same in terms of colors, and I have put one facing “up” and the other “down” to show both sides.
Note the fifth and final: You can also use these as trivets/coasters, dishcloths, etc., although as with anything I make by hand I would be careful not to use them on anything that will stain.
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