Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Potholder Meltdown

Last summer, in the midst of the Buy Nothing Year, I had a minor melt-down over my potholders, which are gross and disgusting food-encrusted charred things that, if ever I had a celebrity chef (I'm talking to you, Rick Bayless!) over to make dinner, would horrify him right out of my house.

Exhibit A.

Of course my meltdown wasn't really about the potholders, they were just a metaphor for my shabby-ass life that in the moment of feeling completely overwhelmed by life in general, made me feel like I had zero control over anything, and that if only I could just get my hands on one of those lovely striped Guatemalan potholders, everything would be OK. I didn't rush out and buy a Guatemalan potholder, mostly because it was late on a Sunday evening, when nothing in the entire state of Maine is open, and by Monday morning I had gained a little more perspective (I did eventually buy one of those potholders, but to assuage any guilt, I put it in C's Christmas stocking!)

I still have the three really yucky potholders, however. It recently struck me that I could just make new ones, and I initially had every intention of just making new covers to go over the old pot holders, to avoid having to buy heat-resistant fabric. But the more I considered it, the more I was just way too grossed out by them, and concerned that maybe they are releasing fire retardant chemicals into our food every time we use them. Additionally, they don't even work all that well (the plaid one has a hole in the middle through which I burn myself every time I use it).
I found a piece of strawberry material my mom gave me, and some red that matched. I put it all off for some time because i didn't want to deal with making biased tape and that little loop in the corner, until I had the brilliant realization that I NEVER hang my pot holders, so i don't NEED a little loop.

Finally, Sunday morning, between the disastrous Earth Scouts adventure and going to The Passion of the Hausfrau (which you REALLY need to go see, unless you're too far away from Portland, in which case pre-order the book at your local indie book store), I set to work and made potholders, without loops, using just two layers of cotton batting and no heat-resistant fabric (I finished the first one just in time to take scones out of the oven and it seemed to work fine).

As I may have mentioned, I've been in a kind of dark place lately, and as I sewed I was feeling quite despondent that I've come to a place in my life where sewing pot holders has become a satisfying weekend activity, and that the realization that I don't need a loop on my pot holders qualifies as a "brilliant revelation." This is really not where I planned to be in life. As it turns out, new potholders were not the panacea I hoped them to be (and they already are getting burnt bagel soot and melted cheese on them).

And The Winner (of the fabulous zine give-away) is: Sara (of the great mom of three boys--including twins--and Bakfiets-love blog, Full Hands)! Sara--send me an email and let me know if you want me to send it directly to you or to a gift recipient!

And for those of you who did not win, but still want to get your hands on a copy of GEMINI, it's only $3 for a single issue--email me at andreaelani at yahoo dot com and get your very own copy!


  1. oooo oooo I'll take Curtis Stone, Take Home Chef!!!

  2. I still vote for having the kids weave them. I love having daughter-made potholders. Your oldest could totally master it.

  3. They are really pretty! bagel soot or no.

  4. i aspire to sew. ok, maybe not potholders but still i really, really want to sew. i got a machine from my in-laws for christmas. it is still packed away in the box (next to the piles of MY kids' artwork). what does this say about me???? our apt. is in need of a major, major overhaul & clean-out. i am just not sure just when i can summon the energy (time) to make it happen.

    yay! about gemini. would love it sent here. i am envious that you saw the hausfrau on stage.


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