log cabin potholder

February 2nd, 2012

log cabin potholder

The idea (and pattern and color scheme) for this potholder came from Martha Stewart. This whole potholer thing started because I needed to respect the work I do in my home. Martha Stewart seems to have abandoned that cause.

log cabin potholder

When I pick up her magazine these days, there is not a lot of substance in it. My back copies of Living have survived many basement clean ups–and subsequent trips to the dump. When I get one out to read I always discover some in depth article about cleaning cloths, or glue, or the mudroom. That is only a sampling from February back issues.  The magazine didn’t used to cater to hipster whims, but rather to a wide swath of people who would like their daily chores recast as an art they can refine. Granted Martha Stewart can get a little crazy, but all in all she has taken homemaking to a higher level of sophistication.

quilted log cabin potholder back

She may have failed me as a homemaking superstar, but she makes nice potholders. It is just a simple log cabin block, quilted. I eyeballed the measurement and it came out pretty nice.

I’d love to know your opinions about Martha and her empire, because I know you’ve got some.

Posted in sewing.

34 Responses to log cabin potholder

  1. Amanda says:

    I was a dedicated subscriber for many years, but abandoned the subscription after I had kids. However, I am an avid subscriber of Everyday Food and find that magazine to be a solid book of recipes every single month. I even buy back issues on eBay when I can and scour thrift shops for back issues. I still buy her Halloween issues (though last years was just a collection of previous issues!) and get some inspiration there.

    I remember reading an interview years ago after she came out of jail and she said she had plans to re-focus the magazine to be about crafts and food and easy projects that people can actually do. I think she did do that for awhile, but the magazine has lost its focus again and is just a pretty coffee table magazine at this point.

  2. I credit Martha as my sole influence while a young mother and wife in the early 90s. My own mom treated me like Cinderella and so I spent all of my youth cleaning, really feeling like housework was for the lowest of low. I got married in late 1989 and went on about life as a housewife. Discovering Martha Stewart really did make me feel smart about what I was doing, creative, and she challenged me to not just clean and cook, but to collect and craft and master all that I wished.

    Does that make any sense?

    I really do agree that she elevated homemaking.

  3. Peggy says:

    I have to agree about MSL…. although my mother definitely did elevate homemaking as well in our own home!! As a young girl I wasn’t interested in cooking but once I was out on my own that changed especially after getting married. I still have all yy back issues but dropped my subscription a few years ago. There have been so many skills I’ve learned from MSL but those days see to have gone by the wayside.

  4. amy says:

    LOVE that potholder, as I am a huge fan of log cabin in general, and neutrals in particular. Nice work!

    I’m with you on Martha. I really came to enjoy those earlier magazines. I’ve got mine boxed up in the basement as well. Now, when one comes in the mail, I tend to leaf through it like eye-candy. I don’t actually read any or much of it anymore. Good things has become good “finds” and it definitely feels more about clever consumerism than creative homemaking. I miss the Dessert of the Month and other features that have gone by the wayside. I don’t find the articles very substantive or even well-written, to be honest. And if you compare your issues with the same one from a few years back, you’ll find they get narrower and narrower. I still have an October issue from about 2000 I think; it’s almost 1/2″ thick, easy.

    • meg says:

      “…feels more about clever consumerism than creative homemaking.” You hit the nail on the head!

  5. WellFedSoul says:

    I’d like to thank you for honoring this thing we do, making a home, and its huge importance. I am digging on your potholders…and just may have to get one going! (Oh, and PS, in serious agreement on the Martha as Hipster viewpoint. I still refer to her site for inspiration fairly regularly, but do not love the magazines any more at all.)

  6. Helen says:

    hmmm…I still love to get them but for the reason that it’s a beautiful magazine and the recipes and crafts just really work. I do agree that homemaking has taken a backseat but I see that as inevitable when you have been discussing the topic for twenty years! I think another poster called it “eye candy” but in our reading pile loaded with serious, heavy and discouraging news of where the world is headed, sometimes a sparkly MSL arrival is a good thing indeed!

    • meg says:

      It is beautiful and the recipes can be quite good–her pastry especially. And you’re right, maybe with all that is gloom and doom I could lighten up a little. :)

  7. Kelley says:

    I am really enjoying all of your potholders! I have dabbled in MSL but never been an avid fan. I think like most, she is just a trademark.

  8. Rachel says:

    I actually cancelled my subscription when she went to jail and never picked it back up. Loved the old magazines. I still like ‘her’ recipes, but I agree that she is a Brand. The magazines now seem to be geared to high end shopping. Makeup and clothing in MSL? Those are really just advertising pages disguised as ‘good things’.

    • meg says:

      She is very much a brand, but that brand seemed to be on our side before. Now, like you say it’s just another brand getting us to buy more shit.

  9. Sarah says:

    I agree that Martha Stewart has elevated homemaking, but I think that oftentimes she elevates it so much as to make it out of reach for most of us. Admittedly I don’t have a long-term or deep familiarity with her empire, but I’m pretty disillusioned by her recipes, which I think are often unnecessarily complicated. Around Christmastime I contemplated making her recipe for Speculaas, which (among other ridonkulous steps) instructed me to place the cut-out cookies on cookie sheets in the freezer for an hour before baking. I mean! My freezer would not accommodate one cookie sheet, even if it were otherwise empty. In the end I found a different, much simpler Speculaas recipe, and the cookies were a huge hit. To me the real thrill is in finding ways to accomplish domestic tasks that are effective but also simple and attainable. You know, because one might want to have a little time left over to make awesome potholders! I love this series of projects you have been posting–the results are so beautiful and I love the thought or intention behind them.

  10. Carla says:

    I agree that Martha has lost a lot of her luster. Way to much shopping, not enough doing. I still enjoy the magazine and I actually really like the digital version but the art of homemaking does seem to be lacking. I also subscribe to whole living and while I like the articles it is starting to feel like one big advertisement as well. Regardless, for me Martha will always be the woman who elevated homemaking. A symbol that intelligent creative people can make beautiful homes and lives. I hope there is a return to that concept in MSL.
    P.S.- Did anyone else notice that the magazine ripped off a blogger’s idea of adding shelfs to the sides of a kids dresser?!?! That really bugged me, they could have given a tiny line of credit for the obvious inspiration.

  11. Wendy says:

    After taking a hiatus for many years, my parents bought me a subscription to her magazine again last year and I’ve really been enjoying it (especially on the iPad) but only up to a point. I still think the craft projects are top notch and I love the beautiful photography but there are a few things that really annoy me.

    First, the consumerism goes beyond feeling off to the point of ridiculousness. The clothes and beauty products are weird in that context, but the craziest thing I saw was an article referring to the “simple luxury” of $2000 bed sheets. NO TYPO! $200 bed sheets would be an extravagant indulgence for MOST of the people I’ve met in my lifetime. My mind still boggles.

    Also as Carla mentioned, the magazine is ripping off bloggers right and left. I recognize 3-5 ideas I’ve already seen on blogs months ago in every issue. Sometimes they give credit, but usually they change the project slightly and leave it at that. I know that there’s nothing new under the sun and we all pull inspiration from everywhere, blah, blah, blah, but I used to feel like I could count on the Martha staff for original projects and nice twists on the basics so this is disappointing to me. You know she’s got a big staff of crafters on board, so they should be able to come up with all original content instead of rehashing projects that made the rounds on pinterest last summer.

  12. Becky says:

    I have said since college someday she’s going to wish she was me. I think that day came & went while she was on that extended vacation (ahem), so perhaps I’ve not lived up to my grand ambitions. Oh well. She still inspires me, my daughter just about freaked out when she discovered that the books & magazines I have lying around also have a TV show, which resulted in my kindergartener (at the time), going on a huge Martha craft kick. Oh my.
    I’ve always thought she has a small army of gay men who are that uptight and have oodles of free time to do some of those things she has in her publications, but my perfectionist daughter keeps proving me wrong. Seems she can pull some of that stuff off and what I think is slightly insane, she thinks is genius. Go figure.

    I haven’t been keep up with her as much lately, although I do find myself watching her baking show while I get on the machines at the gym in the morning.

  13. Liz says:

    I’m really missing the hardcore art/craft-ness of MSL. I’ve kept all
    the ‘baby’ and ‘kid’ issues because who doesn’t need those? I will
    pick up a copy here and there but mostly I poach my MIL’s copy.

  14. freckled hen says:

    I used to love Martha, she was everything my mother wasn’t. My mother wore cutoffs and had a pottery wheel in the kitchen. Martha was the maternal homemaker to me. I lived in CT and my two sisters won a trip to see her home, etc. off the radio. They went and she was rude and obnoxious. It made me sad. Then she went to jail and it seemed along with her homespun scarves she pulled herself together. I suppose now 20 years or so later I think she is just just a partially unhappy woman who probably suffers with OCD and became rich because she knows how to sell glitter.
    PS I once saw your blog on her blog roll,,,maybe a year or two ago?

  15. Nan says:

    I enjoy leafing through handed down copies of her magazine, mostly to get color and design ideas, but I have never followed any instructions to the letter because it would be too expensive. In my opinion, MSL and other magazines like Real Simple are just ads in column format. I also find it beyond aggravating that she refers to herself as if SHE is doing everything when she has the paid staff to do everything for her.

    • meg says:

      it is the royal she :)

      • Katie says:

        I agree with Nan. I never subscribed to MSL, but whenever I leafed through it at the grocery store, I was turned off. The homes were beautiful, but it always looked to me like you’d have to spend hundreds of hours decorating and cleaning your house. And then where does taking your kids to the playground fit in? I always thought it was important not to go overboard on the “respecting” the homemaker’s responsibilities approach. Yes, it’s important, but women also have brains to use that the outside world desperately needs!

  16. Beth says:

    I have kept two types of scrapbooks for years now (pre-pinterest…) 1) ideas, how-to’s, “good things”, projects, inspiration 2) pretty things to look at.

    Pages from MSL used to go primarily into the first. Now they go into the latter. Telling!

    I usually pick up the magazine on holidays – valentines and Christmas, always the Halloween issue (even though the ideas are mostly recycled), but that’s it. HATE that she now has so much product and beauty info

    Love Everyday food though and buy it every month. Every month’s issue has several recipes that make it into my recipe files and become favourites.

  17. Its all pot holders all the time. Now you’re just making me feel bad I haven’t done any sewing this week! Love this pot holder te best so far.
    My thoughts on Martha are, yes, she may be a bit insane but who else is creating good, interesting content for this many years? I know she has a team behind her, but I still think you can’t write 75 books and have zero smarts!

  18. shelly says:

    Oh Martha Martha Martha. There were days when I walked away from one of her shows or articles and felt just awful about myself b/c she set the standard so high but other days I was inspired. Ironically, the theft seemed to start after she was released. lol
    Love the Potholder!

  19. shisomama says:

    I’ve lost interest in the magazine as well, though I still enjoy the styling and the photography when I receive my free copy. In defense of the magazine, though — for long-time readers like us, how much more new crafting/teaching is there to write about? Hasn’t so much of it been done already? It seems like after such a long time, there’s less and less fresh material to cover.

  20. erin says:

    love your potholders, meg.
    and i do still like MSL. i don’t keep back issues any longer – i got rid of them all in the last move and it was very liberating. if there is something i want to make or do, i tear out the article. but really, i use it mostly for visual inspiration and creative inspiration. sometimes just looking at the beauty makes me look around with a different eye, a different perspective. i never bought it for the home keeping information. it was always about the food, the crafts and the visuals. that said, i LOVE everyday food and the girls are constantly in the old kids’ issues. i wish they would go back to doing those.

  21. tessa says:

    Do you remember how the early MSL issues had a monthly story about an independent small business owner? Usually a craft-person, usually a woman. That was great. Also, so much of what has come to be identified as perfectionism seems to me to be about preservation/conservation. As a young feminist art student and hippie kid from a hippie family in a hippie town I loved that magazine… all the bread baking, how to get old pans re-tinned, articles about weavers… hippie bliss.

  22. tessa says:

    Oh, and yes, everyone teased me for reading it. Also, great pot holders!

  23. Jill says:

    Rock the potholders Meg!! What a wonderful gift idea!