Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mission possible – replicate Mom’s Half Circle Hot Pad

I was cooking the other day and reached for my most favorite hot pads (or “pot holders” to some). My mom made them for me a long time ago and they are the best hot pads ever. What makes them so special? Shape and flexibility, and of course, my mom.

Anyway, the hot pads are crocheted semicircles, 8 inches at the widest and 4 inches top to bottom. They are in bad shape, having been washed a kabillion times, set on fire a few times, dropped in the chili pot, and generally abused. I decided to knit replicas – how hard could it be?

I first did a pretty extensive search on the web and found no knit patterns that were like these hot pad gems. I can make up a pattern, I thought. No problem. After all, I am The Inquisitive Knitter!

I can hear some of you say, why not ask your mom to crotchet some more. Or crochet them yourself? Good questions – I wanted to knit replicas as a tribute to my mom and I don’t like to crochet. And I’m a bit stubborn, umm, I mean persistent.

I rummaged in the stash and came up with some Peaches and Cream worsted cotton. I tried two strands together on size 7 needles but the stitches were so tight I could hardly knit. Made my hands hurt.

Back to one strand, the size 7 needles made it too loose. I moved down to size 5s. The density was better so I knit away. I cast on 8 stitches, put 4 each on a circular needle and joined ala Cat Bordhi’s instructions in
Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. I LOVE this knitting-in-the-round technique and use it often. I HATE dpns.

So I knit away, adding stitches every other row until I get a circle big enough to fold in half to test the thickness. I give my mom’s hot pad and my folded over, in-the-rough hot pad to my engineer husband for the thickness test. Was mine the same as mom’s? If it’s too thick, it’s hard to use. Too thin and I get burned. The verdict? Mine was too thin. Just by a bit, but still too thin. I trust the man’s abilities so I ripped out.

How could I make it thicker? I got out the new
Harmony Knit and Purl stitch guide and trolled for a stitch pattern that would be thicker but still flexible. Maybe plain old garter? Using a moss stitch or something similar just seemed too complicated with the increasing.

So I started again using garter stitch. This time I started with a big circle and decreased instead of increasing. It seemed smoother. Here’s prototype #1. Pretty sad looking. Too small, too misshapen.
By this time I was in Ft Myers visiting the Ohio pals (same trip as in this post ) and we discussed and deliberated my next attempt. Ohio D generously gave me her extra ball of Sugar and Cream to use. Prototype #2 was better in size but I miscalculated and had an odd number of sections. The whole folding-in-half thing didn’t work, as you can see. But great colors!!!
Back home, I dug out a ball of Peaches and Cream and tried again. I think I’m satisfied with the pattern but I’m not so crazy about the color.
I don't know how to post the pattern as a separate download on this blog but I'd be more than happy to send it to you, free for the taking. Just send me an email at inquisitiveknitter@comcast.net
I’m going to try again with different yarn and if I make any changes, I’ll let you know.

1 comment:

beverlyanne said...

Marie, I would love to get this pattern. I just posted a pattern on my blog (and on Ravelry) by typing it into Google Pages. Then you can link to it from your blog. It seems to work. Using Google Pages is a lot like using Blogger, maybe even easier.