Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Microwave bowl mitts

Microwave mitts made with "Garden Project" fabric designed by Tim & Beck for Moda

I learned how to make these bowl-shaped potholders at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan this September. The potholders are meant to be used with bowls inside the microwave to keep diners from burning their hands on crockery filled with hot liquids. The microwave mitt is made entirely of cotton materials because polyester might melt in the microwave. I think it would also work well to cook a potato in the microwave. If packaged with a covered soup bowl and dry soup-mix, this mitt would make a thoughtful holiday gift.

Please read and print the WARNING at bottom of this post. If used as gifts, include a copy of the warning with each gift.


  • 2 10-inch squares of 100% cotton fabric in coordinating colors (I used "Garden Project" layer-cake precuts by Tim & Beck for Moda.)
  • 2 10-inch squares of Pellon Wrap-n-Zap Tator batting (or other 100% cotton batting)
  • 100% cotton thread
  • You will also need a "walking foot" to assemble your microwave mitt.


Begin by marking both batting squares according to the template, below. Instructions for marking the lines follow after picture.

1. Draw an X through the center of your batting.
2. Mark the center of each side and connect marks to create a diamond shape.
3. Mark a dot 3.5-inches from each center mark toward the center of the batting
4. Mark a dot 3/4-inches to the left and right of the center dot on each side.
5. Connect the side dots to the dot marked near the center of the batting.
6. These V-shapes are the sewing line for the darts that create the bowl shape.

Layer one pre-marked 10-inch batting piece to the wrong side of one 10-inch fabric piece; repeat for the second pair.

Using 100% cotton thread and a walking foot, stitch one piece of fabric and one piece of batting together along the marked lines that create the X and diamond shapes. 

Fold with right sides of one fabric/batting piece together on the center of the dart, matching dart markings. Sew from the point of the dart to the edge of the square -- sewing along the marked line on the batting. Repeat for each of four darts.

Clip center of each dart, cutting 1/4-inch from sewing line.

This is how your work will look after sewing all the darts.

Repeat for second piece of batting and fabric. 

When both pieces are sewn and darted, layer both pieces with right sides together and stitch around all four sides a scant half-inch from the edges of the fabric. 

Leave a four-inch opening on one side of the mitt; reinforce the ends of your stitching by sewing back and forth. Clip corners.

Turn the mitt right side out by pulling the inside through the hole until the entire right side is turned out. Push out corners with blunt utensil.

Stitch opening closed, close to edge of mitt. Topstitch around all four sides of the mitt. (See top photo for topstitch detail.)

Warning from Pellon:
When working with products intended for use in a microwave, certain precautions should be taken.  Use only 100% Cotton batting, thread and fabric.  Wrap-N-Zap® is made of 100% Cotton fibers without any additives. It is not fire retardant or flame proof. For this reason, we suggest cooking in 2 minute intervals for a maximum of 8 minutes. Never leave the microwave unattended.  Do not use in a Convection/Microwave oven. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ann Arbor quilters donate 347 quilts to Safehouse in 2015

GAAQG members stack 89 quilts donated at Nov. 21 meeting from a 2015 total
 of 347 handmade quilts donated to Safehouse Center in Ann Arbor.
Safehouse quilts
When victims of domestic violence arrive at Safehouse Center in Ann Arbor, a handmade quilt covers each bed; and when they depart, their quilt goes with them.

Yesterday at the Nov. 21 meeting of the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild , Safehouse director Barbara Niess-May thanked guild members for the 347 quilts donated to Safehouse in 2015. Niess-May also accepted a check from the guild for $3324 in support of the work at Safehouse.

"I am blown away by the thoughtfulness, love, and compassion that have gone into making these quilts," Niess-May said. "Your quilts are part of something bigger -- it's because of all the things we do along the way that allow people to believe things can be better. You are part of that -- your quilt is the first message we get to send that says 'We care.' I can't thank you enough."

When fiber artist Pat Pauly of Rochester, New York took the stage to deliver her lecture on "Traditional Meets Contemporary" quilting, she first expressed her admiration for the the beauty of the guild's donated quilts. 
Fiber artist Pat Pauly at GAAQG meeting in Towsley Auditorium,
Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor MI Nov. 21, 2015
Fiber artist Pat Pauly
The iconoclastic Pauly delighted the audience with her lighthearted determination to follow her own artistic inclination. She also taught a "Slash and Burn" design class to several GAAQG members at the Morris Lawrence Building of Washtenaw Community College on Friday and is teaching a freezer-paper template class today, November 22, 2015. See more about Pauly's Ann Arbor trip on her blog: Pieces and Resistance. You can also see her work in the Oct/Nov 2015 issue of Quilting Arts magazine. Download the digital edition here:
Pauly's students share works-in-progress from "Slash and Burn" class held at WCC on
Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. GAAQG president Sonja Hagen on the left.
Quilts 2016 Kirtland, OH
Pauly will be the featured artist at "Quilts 2016" at Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland, Ohio. Pauly will lecture and teach several classes from March 8-12, 2016. The entire event runs February 13- March 23 includes classes by local teachers and a quilt show. Deadline for show entries is Jan. 5, 2016. Registration begins tomorrow, Nov. 23, at 8 a.m. -- registration links at
Kathy Schmidt's beading primer at GAAQG, Nov. 21, 2015
Beading on fabric
Before and after the guild meeting, members offer 15-minute how-to sessions in areas of interest. The November meeting featured GAAQG member Kathy Schmidt sharing basic beading techniques. Schmidt recommends Larkin Van Horn's Beading on Fabric as an excellent primer on the topic. See Schmidt's work on her weblog Quirks, Ltd.