Note: Steps 1-7 are for beginning crafters only; advanced crafters should skip ahead to #8.
1) Put the kettle on for tea.
2) Go read a really good book or start surfing the internet.
3) Realize that you’ve let the kettle boil dry.
4) The kettle will be piping hot, so put it on a hotpad to cool down and go back to what you were doing.
5) Occasionally remark to yourself about the funny smell. <shrug>
6) Go back to what you were doing.
7) Pick up kettle. <smack forehead> D’oh!
8) Purchase batting that has been specially treated for use in potholders. I used Insul-Bright brand; the side coated with a silvery film needs to face out, so for a potholder, use two squares back-to-back. (It’s good to use a double thickness regardless of what brand you use.) You may want to use heat-resistant fabric for the outside — I used plain cotton. Wool or linen would also work but don’t use any kind of polyester/polyester blend as poly has a tendency to melt when it comes in contact to heat. (ouch!) You should be able to make at least two potholders out of one fat quarter depending on the size of your potholders. (You can also use a skinny quarter, no worries!)
9) Cut out your batting and fabric. Since I wanted my potholders to be 7″ square, I cut out four 7″ squares from the batting and four 8″ squares from the fabric (to make two potholders).
10) If you don’t want a loop for hanging, skip ahead to the next step. Otherwise, cut two small (3″-3.5″) pieces from ribbon. (If you don’t have ribbon, you could use bias tape/binding or make your own with a leftover strip of your potholder fabric.) Mark the halfway point on one side of the fabric and stitch the loop down on the right side of the fabric as shown.
11) Put your fabric right sides together and stitch 1/4″ around the edge, leaving a 4″ gap at the bottom. (Marked with pins in this photo.)
12) Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, then insert the batting. You’ll need to fiddle with it a bit to get it to lie flat and centered. Then carefully stitch around the outside of the potholder, close enough to the edge to stitch the gap closed. Quilt as desired, but note that every line of stitching is a row of holes for the heat to sneak through. I kept my quilting to a minimum, just a second row of stitching around the outside.
13) Test out your new potholders by trying to make tea again. Try to pay more attention to the kettle this time.
14) Consider buying a kettle that whistles.