Quilting farmyard fun pot holders for the kitchen

Greetings from the farm.

This week, I’ll be making some adorable farm-themed pot holders. As I work through the process, I’ll be providing some tips on various supplies, tools, and techniques that I find helpful to get the job done right.

It’s a chance to dig into my scrap bins and that always gets me excited.

Let’s check out the pattern and gather our supplies. By the end of the week, you’ll be able to gift those pot holders or you’ll be using them in your own kitchen. They’re so cute, I bet you can’t make just one.

The pattern I’m using this week is by ellie mae designs. It’s called Barnyard Buddies.

Barnyard Buddies pattern by ellie mae designs


There are many different types of thread that can be used for applique. A lot depends on what type of stitch you choose and what end result you want. Experience and experimenting (are they the same thing?) can help to figure out what works best for what situation.

One of my favorite threads for satin stitch applique is a shiny thread. AHA – a new technical term for a thread. Technically, this shiny Gütermann thread is a 40 weight rayon thread that is used for machine embroidery. It’s amazing for all kinds of machine applique, in particular, satin stitching. I love that it comes in small spools, so it’s easy to get a variety of colors without breaking the bank.

A sample of colors available in the 40-weight rayon threads for machine embroidery or machine applique

It’s great to keep your threads organized by type. This neat little box holds up to 26 spools of thread which would provide you with a wide variety of colors. Do you see the imposter in that box? I tried to sort out the odd ones, but I missed one.

A handy plastic case holds 26 small spools of thread

I don’t use this thread in the bobbin. There’s no need to put the most costly thread in the bobbin where no one will see it. I use a lighter weight thread for the bobbin (60wt works well). If the tension on your sewing machine is functioning properly, there’s no need to put a matching thread in the bobbin. I like to use black for darker threads and white for the lighter threads.

A lighter weight (60 weight) thread to be used in the bobbin for machine applique

Let’s not forget the workhorse of threads. For quilters, that would be our piecing thread which is a 50wt thread. I like to use the 100% cotton which comes on the beige colored spools. It also comes in a wide variety of colors in small and large spools. Again that makes it super easy to get a wide range of colors without going broke.

This 50wt thread is also great for blanket stitch applique.

A sampling of the wide range of colors in 50wt 100% cotton thread

Stabilizers and fusible webbing

The pot holders are made using the fusible applique technique. This is the most durable applique technique and very practical for the pot holders. That means we need some fusible webbing and a stabilizer to prevent the applique stitches from bunching up. More on that later this week.

There are several different weights of fusible webbing. This type of project doesn’t necessarily require the lite version, but if I were making a bed quilt, I would use the lite version.

It’s strongly suggested that you don’t use the heaviest version if you’re going to stitch on the fused applique.

As for the stabilizer, again, there are many, many different stabilizers on the market. For fusible applique, the kind that tears away is the best. The satin stitches will perforate the product and it falls away easily after the stitching is complete. You’ll see what I mean later this week.

Tearaway stabilizer and lite version of fusible webbing


The pot holders are finished with a bound edge. I could make my own binding, but I thought I’d try a premade extra wide (⅝”) binding. It’s quite wide – maybe even a bit too wide, but for the number of layers that are going into the pot holders, I think it might just do the trick. It’s a polycotton blend, but for a pot holder that’s OK. You may not want to put it on your cotton quilt but there are other premade bindings if you don’t want to make your own binding. But I digress.

Premade extra wide (5/8″) binding


The key to successful and useful pot holders is an insulated fleece. You could use regular batting, but the heat will quickly penetrate through the batting which wouldn’t be a good thing. You’ll notice that this product is silver because it has heat resistant capabilities that will protect your hands when using the pot holders. Despite their cuteness, we want these pot holders to be used.

I see on the packaging some other interesting uses for this product. Hmm – a future project? You bet!

Insulated fleece


Next up, we need to choose some fabric to make the pot holders. I’ve chosen one base fabric for each of the animals. I don’t think I need to tell you which fabric is for which animal. It’s a great way to use up fat quarters. One fat quarter is enough to make a matching pair of pot holders.

Base fabric for three barnyard animal pot holders

The last thing I need is some scraps of fabric for all the bits of the animal’s faces. That’s the fun part. I dug out several boxes of scraps. This is something that I started years ago. I bought a number of clear plastic shoe boxes and started to sort my scraps by color and style (30’s, Asian, etc.)

This was the best thing I could ever have done. It’s made my scraps very accessible and I dig out these boxes all the time when I’m looking for something small.

You’ll notice that the lid on the yellow box is about to pop off. That means it’s time to make something YELLOW! That might be a good challenge (project for another day). It’s a lot of fun. But I digress.

Bins of scrap fabric sorted by color

I think that covers all the supplies that we need for our appliqued pot holders. We’re going to need a few tools, but we’ll be gathering those tomorrow and prepping our pattern.

Gather your supplies and I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.

Have a great day!


This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: 2 tips to make prepping a paper pattern much easier!

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Vickie November 5, 2018 - 4:11 pm
So cute especially the cow. My parents lives across from a dairy farm and huge pasture. For years the grands called them gramma and grandpa cows. LoL
Rebecca K September 5, 2018 - 2:39 pm
These are adorable!
Peggy July 17, 2018 - 2:29 pm
Oh my gosh Elaine - those are ridiculously cute!
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