A potholder is used to protect a surface against a hot pot or used to hold heated pots to avoid burning your hands. Weaving potholders is a popular craft that also has a rich history.
Weaving is a craft used for thousands of years for making clothes as well as nets for catching fish. DNA analysis of woven cloth found in Turkey has dated back to 7000 and 8000BC. Today, many people weave potholders because it is an easy, useful and fun hobby.
Early weavers looped threads around a tree branch to create a natural type of loom. Nowadays, companies such as Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire manufacture looms for personal and commercial use. Harrisville Designs is based in one America's original weaving communities, dating back to 1790. The company has modified a traditional loom especially for weaving potholders.
The Industrial Revolution during the 1800s contributed to innovation in the textiles industry, including the creation of man-made fibres. In 1910, rayon became the first man-made textile to be patented. This led to commercial production of synthetic materials. This in turn has enabled weavers to have a wide selection of fibres to select from when crafting potholders.