Who Remembers Loomed Pot Holders?

Do you have a well-loved one in your kitchen right now?

loomed potholders
Photo:

Caitlin Bensel

Some cooks love their seasoned cast-iron pans . My kitchen favorite tool is a well-seasoned…  loomed pot holder. Each loop holds memories of meals gripped in hot pans.

When I was a kid, my grandmother gifted me her heavy red metal pin loom and a bag of loops. I was hooked (or looped) and made pot holder after pot holder, weaving the brightly-colored material in and out into rainbow-colored squares. The pot holders became gifts for friends, family, and neighbors, and ultimately, my kitchen drawer staple.

Sure, I've received other pot holders and oven mitts as wedding and holiday gifts. However, my handmade loomed pot holder has survived over 40 years with muted hints of the original rainbow loops. It still protects my hands and when I look at it, I remember sitting with my grandmother, mother, and sister on cold Midwestern nights, looping brightly-colored cotton until a magically-woven pot holder emerged.

Someone in a Facebook nostalgia group recently posted their own loomed pot holder, which invoked fond memories from all and a slew of pot holder pictures. People remembered making pot holders with family, many still holding onto the sturdy and functional kitchen accessories.

What keeps me hanging onto this pot holder that's almost been tossed out several times? From the family connection to the nostalgia , there’s also a durability, and most of all, it looks happy.

With handmade crafts and a return to simplicity trending, pin loom pot holders are still a great way to try, with a small investment, an endless array of patterns. Whether there’s a loomed pot holder in your kitchen or you’ve started looping one with your kids or grandkids, the pin loom pot holder deserves its kitchen space.

What's the History of Pin Loom Pot Holders?

To get to the heart of the pot holder, I Googled what makes a pot holder loom different from a larger rug or fabric loom. The difference is simple. The "pins" on all four sides give the smaller square loom its signature name: pin loom.

loomed pot holders

Caitlin Bensel

Why pot holders on a loom and not just crocheted or knitted? In the Depression Era, pin looms started as a way to not waste. The looms were designed to help sock and hosiery companies use their scrap materials.

From flour sacks decorated with floral designs for dresses or brightly-colored pin looms and loops, companies tried to find ways to bring some joy to homes. The crafting aspect became secondary with looms and loops as an example of early textile sustainability.

Why Did Pin Looms Become Popular With Kid Crafters?

The original looms weren't made for kids' crafting; they were sold to women to create functional housewares. Kids watched their moms looping and eventually joined in.

I grew up with grandparents that lived through the Great Depression. Making the most with little was a life’s tenet. As they taught me to quilt, knit, and crochet, the pin loom pot holders were a natural crafting fit.

Additionally, the process of making pot holders on a pin loom served the same purpose of other early crafting or sewing projects , like embroidery samplers; kids helped their families but also learned basic skills while increasing their fine motor skills.

In times when televisions, computers, and mobile phones didn’t exist or were not as prevalent, making pin loom pot holders was also a way to combat boredom or fill cold winter days.

How Are Today's Loomed Pot Holders Different?

I was excited to share the art of making loomed pot holders with my daughter but found more modern looms aren't metal, and the loops are flimsy. We bought a plastic pin loom kit that didn’t work well and polyester loops that didn’t weave well, which was frustrating to both of us. The completed pot holders looked similar but were smaller and less sturdy.

I don’t have my metal pin loom anymore, so I went in search of a sturdier option. I found many options to buy the sturdier metal pin looms in happy bright colors like red with cotton loops. The good options are out there—you just need to search!

Weavers are also doing interesting things with pin loom patterns—unique colors and more complicated patterns, matching pot holders to collegiate colors or kitchen tiles and neutral color schemes. It’s a crafting resurgence with a twist of modernity, looped to the past.

Loomed Pot Holder Resources

Get Started

Stitched Modern: How-To Instructions
The Creative Folk: How to Finish a Loomed Potholder

Books

Potholder Loom Designs: 100 Colorful Patterns on Amazon
Lily Pot Holders and Oven Mitts Design Book, No. 59
on Amazon
Potholder Loom Weaving: Technique s on Amazon
30 Ways to Leave A Potholder: Color Patterns in Plain Weave for the Potholder Loom
on Amazon

Looms and Tools

Friendly Loom 10" PRO Size Black Potholder Metal Loom Kit on Amazon
Pepperell Weaving Loom Red Retro Craft Kit on Amazon
Friendly Loom Potholders
Schilling Metal Potholder Loom, Red
on Amazon
PRO 10" Metal Potholder Loom Kit
on Stitched Modern
Serenity Wood Potholder Loom on Etsy

Loops

Pepperell Loopers on Amazon
Aodaer 288 Pieces Loom Potholder Loop
s on Amazon
Potholder Weaving Loops for 10 Inch Loom on Etsy
10 Inch Pro Cotton Refill Loops on Etsy

Where To Buy Loomed Pot Holders

Handcrafted Fabric Loomed Potholder, Green on Etsy
PopsPotholders on Etsy (Lorton, Virginia)
CameronStreetDesigns on Etsy
TheRedDoorBarntique on Etsy (Tamaha, Oklahoma)

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