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How to Make a Crochet Potholder (Potholder) with Scrap Yarn

Updated on September 13, 2012

Inexpensive and Original Gifts

Easy and fun to make, I have probably made over 1000 of these potholders, in a variety of ways. When my husband and I were traveling, a crochet hook and ball of yarn were my companions. Many times I would have a gift to give our hostess upon arrival, and no two have ever been the same.

Like many other women, I cook a lot, and all that moving things in and out of the oven makes me want to play it safe. I don't use tiny dishtowels folded over a half dozen times - too risky. No. I use my yarn crocheted potholders, which are great for grabbing hot items or using them to cushion your tablecloth for a hot pot or dish right off of the fire, in which case I turn them upside down to not disrupt their pretty "faces".

This Hub focuses on the circular potholders, which I think are more attractive and "fun" to make. I also make them in squares - just do rows (crochet or knitted). Somehow, the circle lends itself to more imagination and at one point or another - it takes on a life of its own! You feel like you are calling the shots - for awhile. And then it becomes an entity of its own and you will see - it shows you how it wants to be completed!

Anyone who has ever given my kids hand-me-downs or was especially thoughtful is a good candidate for these practical and absolutely inexpensive unique gifts. Many people either don't know how to make them, or haven't the time or the will to make them for themselves, so they are often truly appreciated as a mood enhancing, practical gift.

Working with yarn is also a good way to relax - like aromatherapy. It's nice to have something colorful and unique hanging in your kitchen that you created yourself!

Some have said that working with yarn is a good way to keep your hands out of the refrigerator. I don't know if that's true - but it does bring a certain satisfaction - and that can fill you up, too.

Below, you will see a photo by photo explanation.

The only thing to remember, they should be THICK. That means doubling the yarn (crocheting two strands of yarn at the same time) if it's too tiny by itself. Or you can make two identical ones and fasten them together on the outside ring. Tiny yarn or (heaven forbid) holes in the potholders means burnt hands, and every homemaker worth her salt has "golden hands" worth protecting.

Now, let's get started. . . . .

Your Finished Product Will Look Something Like This...

I gave this one to my landlord.  I used colors that looked manlier, and besides - he has a beige and dark brown dog!  Inspiration rules here - so have fun.  Tiny yarn needs to be doubled up to prevent burns.
I gave this one to my landlord. I used colors that looked manlier, and besides - he has a beige and dark brown dog! Inspiration rules here - so have fun. Tiny yarn needs to be doubled up to prevent burns.

First Make a chain

Chain Chain Chain... Chain of Foooools....

No fools here.  You are using up a resource and fanning the fire of your creativity.  All good stuff! 

Three or four crochet chain stitches and then join them.  It should be a pretty tight inner circle with no hole in the middle.

I say "about" because it depends on the thickness of your yarn and the size of your crochet hook.  Join the chain and make one more chain stitch.  Now it's time to start the circle.

Single Crochet, all the Way

Around and around it goes... only the potholder knows.

So you start single crocheting. If you forgot the technique, stab the crochet hook into the link of the chain (center of each stitch). Pulling from the back, draw in the yarn and pull through. Now there should be too loops on your crochet hook.  Yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops at once.  Voila! You have completed a single crochet stitch.

Continue.  Little by little, you will be gradually increasing as the potholder slowly begins to grow.  Along the way around your circle, it will seem that you are having to stretch your yarn too far from one link to another.  In these cases, stitch another stitch in the same link.  In this way, the potholder will just naturally begin to expand.

When it's time to change colors, break off the yarn, leaving an inch or inch and a half long tail. Tie the old and new pieces together, and continue making single crochet stitches. The new color will appear on your circle.  Let it happen -  a process of evolution.

Originality - Creativity

Sometimes I use a bunch of colors - other times I stick to one color or use two colors and keep changing the second one keeping the same "base color". You are the artist - and you have creative license. Just go with the flow, and you will be pleasantly surprised!

Americana with the Ring of Fire

Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow

Just keep going until you get to the desired size. Naturally, that means the size of your hand or a bit more. When you feel you are on the last row, make another chain (for a loop) and then join it. Knot your yarn - single crochet, cut the yarn and pull it through, carefully weaving any loose ends into your potholder to give it a clean and finished look. Congratulations - you've designed something homemade.

This particular potholder is two "sleeves" that I removed from a sweater!

How it All Began

My family took a trip across the country when we were little (ambitious of them!) and my mom - to kill boredom and to create gifts while my dad drove - started crocheting potholders.  I was old enough to try my hand at it and before we knew it we had two or three handmade gifts to give at every stop.  The hostesses always appreciated receiving them because it's the kind of thing that most people forget to buy at the store, and it is useful and home-made.

Try it - you might like it!  Be sure to keep some for yourself, as well!

Step 1 - a Chain

Step 2 - joining the chain

Rock around the Clock

"Show me the way"

Woolly Boolly

This particular potholder is like a Sheepdog. Very thick - even scratchy - and very good for grabbing a roast out of the oven.

If I use it on the table I flip it over so the "up" side stays attractive.

They are super easy to care for, too. Once they get a little dirty you can throw them into the washing machine. If they are too greasy or oily, for whatever reason, they should be soaked separately in detergent and rinsed well before washing with other non-greasy clothes.


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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 5 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thanks, Myfanwy and RTalloni for the comments and the votes.

      Yes, it's a win-win situation. Using up old, neglected yarn sitting around the house is a lot like recycling. I still can't believe how great a reaction I get from home makers when I gift them - and the best part is they cost absolutely nothing to make.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Nice project for reusing yarns.

      Voted up.

    • Myfanwy profile image

      Myfanwy 6 years ago from Tennessee, USA

      Great hub. Thanks for sharing. :)