Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Anatomy of a HotHolder

This entry will be a tour of sorts of my construction process when making HotHolders. But first, here are some cowboys and friends. My fav is the adorable little bull flying through the air in the upper left. He's being pursued by a fierce horse much bigger than him, but you can only see part of it's head underneath the loop. He has sweet long eyelashes. The three HH with white backgrounds are really nice vintage bark cloth. The colors are very rich.

This next picture is a HotHolder about to be swirled through the sewing machine. All those yellow balls on top are pin heads. I use quilting pins which are very long to get through all the layers. Between the top and bottom printed fabrics you can see 3 other layers: red sweatshirt, blue towel, buff sweatshirt. The top fabric is vintage bark cloth and the bottom is some high end hand block printed cotton from India. It might have been a tablecloth or big pillow cover.

Here are some all pinned together and hanging out near the sewing machine waiting to be quilted. The cup in the middle was given to me for my birthday when I was a little girl. I loved it! It has all these chaste flowery 1970s couples on it. Very romantic. Now I keep the quilting pins in it. I use the pencil to mark the spot where I'm going to start the starburst. When I wasn't doing this before, I tried to just identify with my eyes a spot that was in the center, and so many came out really lopsided!

Is it obvious what these are? Loops!

Another picture showing all the pins. This tour is not necessarily in chronological order, but I think I'm getting across the primary steps. Yeah? I think I'm at risk of giving away all my trade secrets here. I can't afford to copywrite my design so please don't go making a bunch of these yourself and selling them, okay? I'm a very nice person and you wouldn't want to do that to me. Besides, think of your karma.

Maybe this should have been the first picture. These are piles of fabric I've cut out and combined for HotHolders that I set out to sew for Boston's Bazaar Bizarre this weekend. In this picture I haven't layered in the filling yet. They are arranged in piles according to what color thread I will use. That's what those little slips of paper are on the piles - they have the colors written on them. I think I've managed to sew up about half of them since I took these pictures last week. Only two days left to prepare! That means I had better end this and start sewing!
Next entry will no doubt be about the BazBiz adventure. I'm very excited!

I have to go on about those 4-Way Entry Bags at some point, too. Until then...

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Those assertions I made

Hello. Thank you for visiting the Mountain Ash Design blog. That's the name of my little creative enterprise here. This is my first blog entry ever. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my creative process, but I have another task first. (Um, if you can't see any other text, keep scrolling down a bit.)

I said on my website that certain assertions would be elaborated on here so I'd better get down to it. I promise that more pretty pictures and philosophical essays will come later and it won’t just be about product, product, product.

You see, I make these potholders.

I call them HotHolderstm.

"Because you're not the only thing in the kitchen that's hot." TM

I made some claims about them on my website ( and I'm here to elaborate.

A HotHolder is a functional kitchen tool I came up with to satisfy my need to play with fabric, my need for a creative outlet, to make beautiful things that are also useful, and to express my sense of humor. And my friend Stuart came up with the name HotHolder. I came up with the slogan. Now to address these claims. HotHolders are

  • Visually Unique. They are all one-of-a-kind. I usually have only relatively small pieces of each fabric, and I am interested in combining each fabric with many others, not just the one that obviously works "the best." If I send a HH out into the world, I might make another using the same fabric combination, but the prints aren't going to line up the same way. Occasionally I will create a small line of HotHolders using the same fabrics, each one turning out a bit different. I am constantly striving to make the fabric combinations more dynamic. I have never seen potholders that look like mine.
  • Very Practical. They are very thick and sturdy, protecting your paws from the heat, yet pliable enough to easily wrap around the handle of your favorite cast iron frying pan. You can wash them in the washing machine. I put mine in the dryer, too, with no dramatic changes occurring. They are a bit smaller than other potholders, so they don't get in the way of the cookies on the cookie sheet or otherwise get into the food. The loop angles toward the center of the HH so it's out of the way. Plus you can hang them up (obviously).

  • Eco-Friendly. I use mostly post-consumer recycled materials when making HotHolders. Outer fabrics are often vintage or recycled (from clothing mostly), with a bit of new designer fabric mixed in at times. The 3 layers of batting are pre-loved sweatshirts and towels.

  • Celebratory! Hey, cooks deserved to have fun and lovely tools when they are whipping up nourishing food for themselves and others. Even if you are baking pre-fab cookie dough in the toaster oven, you should be cheered on and honored in the process. Pretty serving dishes, table linens, etc. have been used forever to show off the results of whatever happened in the kitchen. My hope is that HotHolders help make the act of preparing food more pleasurable in itself.

Hmm. I seem to have cookies on the brain. I wish I had some of that pre-fab dough. If you want to see more pictures or think you might want to buy a HotHolder, please go to my Etsy shop:

Next time: Anatomy of a HotHolder and maybe the story behind the 4-Way Entry Bagstm.