Did you ever make potholders as a kid? If so, you were probably given a metal loom and a pile of multicolored loops and were taught the basics of weaving: over, under, over, under. Unfortunately, the completed project usually came out looking like rainbow barf. So it might come as a revelation that loom-woven potholders can actually look pretty profesh, as long as you follow some centuries-old weaving patterns. Make a set for yourself, or match a friend’s kitchen colors for a perfect housewarming gift.
For this project, we used a large, 10" metal loom (Pro Size Potholder Loom from Friendly Loom by Harrisville Designs, $32.95, harrisville.com) to make 8" x 8" potholders, but you could also use the traditional 7" size (which makes 6" x 6" potholders); these patterns will work fine on either one. You’ll also need one bag each of cotton loops in the right size for your loom in the colors powder blue and pewter ($8.95 – $16.95, also from Friendly Loom by Harrisville Designs).
1) Start by placing loops on each peg vertically, attaching them at the top and bottom of the loom. This is called the warp.
For the plaid design (top photo, top), from left to right, place 6 powder blue loops followed by 6 pewter loops and repeat this. When you get to the end and have less than 6 pegs left, just put however many loops you can fit of the color you are up to. (A)
For the weave design (top photo, bottom), place loops as follows, from left to right: 1 powder blue, 1 pewter, 1 powder blue, 1 pewter, 1 powder blue. Repeat this series of 5 loops all the way across (you will have two powder blue loops right next to each other at the end and beginning of each repeat), stopping wherever in the pattern it is that you run out of pegs. (B)
2) The loops that will be woven across the warp horizontally are called the weft. Beginning from the bottom, the order of the colored loops here will exactly mirror the order of your warp loops reading them from right to left (the opposite of how you placed them, above). So, if you ended your loop placement for the plaid design with 3 powder blue loops, you will begin by weaving in 3 powder blue loops. If you ended with 6 powder blue loops, you will begin with 6 powder blue loops, etc.
Weaving is done exactly like you think it is: pulling your loop from left to right, go over both strands of the first loop, then under both strands of the second loop, then over the third loop, continuing until the end. Push your loop down to the bottom and place both ends on a peg. (C) For the next loop, you’ll start by going under both strands of the first loop, then over both strands of the second loop, etc.
You can do this pretty easily with your fingers or with a hook, but when you get to the last few loops at the very top, things will be tight and you’ll have to use the long metal hook that came with your loom. Weave the hook over/under from right to left, grab a loop, then pull it carefully through all the way to the right. (see below).
3) To finish, starting in the upper right-hand corner, insert a crochet hook into the top loop and remove it from the peg. Insert the hook into the next loop, remove it from the peg, and pull the loop through the one on the hook.
Continue in this way to complete one entire side. When you are finished, pull one loop from that side back onto the loom just to keep the potholder stretched into shape while you continue. (F) Leave the last loop loose for hanging.
When you’re done, pull on the opposite corners of the potholder to pull it all back into shape.
Photos by Yudi Ela
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!