An Adventure in Design

I learned most of what I know about the fiber arts from my mother and her mother. My mom was a wonderful teacher, patient and helpful, but holding a high standard for my work. I’m pretty sure she occasionally ripped out my knitting and reknit it without me knowing, not because my knitting was so poorly done, but because she wanted me to feel successful.

We were not poor, but my parents were always very careful with money. They did not buy on credit and saved all they could for “the future.” My brothers and I were given an allowance and taught to value working for what we wanted. I’m not sure how it started, but I decided I wanted to start a business and with the encouragement of my mom I created and sold potholders.

Now before you laugh, remember times were different. It was still safe to go door to door with my little box of creations and ask the lady of the house if she would like to make a purchase. I was also allowed to place my potholders and sales information in our neighbor’s beauty salon. That was a big boost for my developing business!

These are some of the potholders I made when I was about ten years old.

My father contributed to my enterprise, perhaps unknowingly. I used all of his old socks to make potholder loops! Judging from the photo, he must have had some crazy socks! I also used my profits to purchase cotton loops for my creations. It was a great way to learn about business, to be creative, to understand salesmanship, and to be a little more independent. I didn’t set the world on fire as a potholder salesperson, but I gained a great deal of self confidence!

Now the world has changed….a lot! I let my children do school sales door to door, but I would not want my grandchildren to do so. Creating potholders is still a viable fiber art, but looms and loops have definitely changed. Products are of much higher quality and readily available online. In the spirit of trying something different and with plenty of time to explore ideas and materials, I decided to revisit weaving potholders. Here are my first attempts.

I don’t plan to go door to door and sell these, but I had great fun making them. The larger looms and loops available now are wonderful. Loops are available in cotton and wool and the colors are fantastic. Weaving these little beauties is quick and addictive!

2 thoughts on “Blast From the Past

  1. Linda Coffey says:

    I used to make potholders too.

    When I was 8, I started making necklaces and keychains out of shells we found in the beach. I went door to door in the neighborhood and sold them. My dad drilled the holes in the shells for me.


    1. mdhamill says:

      Amazing!! You must know how this feels. What a fun childhood memory!


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