Patchwork heart-shaped kitchen helpers have homespun appeal. The pot holders are pieced together from quilting fabric and trimmed with bias tape; pockets keep the hands protected from hot pots and pans.
For the most heat-resistant pot holder, choose the best-quality batting you can find. Washable wools and sturdy cottons have natural insulating qualities and make for wonderfully soft holders. Or skip the batting and use quilted heat-resistant fabric, the kind used to cover ironing boards. Sew one of these winsome sets from pieces of fabric in the same pattern or use various designs in complementary colors. The appeal of pot holders is timeless, so stitch up more than a few: They're sure to make much-appreciated gifts on Valentine's Day.
If you give a pair to a friend, enclose your favorite romantic dinner recipe along with the present. Whether you make them for someone else or for yourself, you'll find there's no better way to warm up a kitchen than with fabric hearts bound together—forever—with thread.
Before you begin, enlarge the pot holder template by 200 percent, print, and cut out as indicated.
Cut one along the solid line for the fabric hearts, one along the inner dotted line for the batting, and the third along the diagonal line for the fabric pockets. Stack three layers of cotton batting and fold them in half; align the batting template's straight edge with the fold, and cut it out. Fold three stacked 12-inch squares of cotton fabric in half; align heart template's straight side with the fold; pin, and cut out. Lay the pocket template on one folded fabric heart; cut on the diagonal line.
Layer the pieces, starting with a fabric heart (face down), batting, another fabric heart (face up), and pockets (face up); pin. Sew along the outside edge, leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance. Trim the edge as close to the stitching as possible.
Put a handmade heart on display: Use it instead of a trivet, and protect your tabletop from the heat. Make the pot holder with pockets from pieces of fabric in the same pattern, as we did here, or use various designs that have complementary colors. The pockets make grasping dishes a breeze.