Dictionary.com definition of pot holder: a thick piece of material, as a quilted or woven pad, used in handling hot pots and dishes, an insulated pad for holding hot pots.
These vintage pot holders make a total mockery of that definition. They aren't thick. They aren't insulated. I cannot even imagine pulling a hot pan out of the oven with these little dainties in each hand for protection. Yet in the 1930's, 40's and 50's, this was de rigueur (strictly required, as by etiquette, usage, or fashion.) for what we now call "retro" kitchens.
These "kitchy" linens were crocheted by the homemaker with heavy cotton thread. Oftentimes, they were a gift to her. Perhaps even a wedding shower gift or housewarming gift. They were crocheted with patterns for wee dresses, skirts and bloomers, attaching a small ring with which to hang them on a hook near the stove.
I was fortunate enough to inherit the ones you see here from the home of a 90 plus year old homemaker when she went to be with the Lord. I consider them most precious. Firstly, as a memorial to her to whom they first belonged and secondly to a simpler time gone by.
As you can see, I have given them a place of honor in my home (hanging above my kitchen sink - a place where I spend lots of time). I lovingly laundered them to get them pristine once more. Then I stretched them out on a mini "clothesline" of hemp cord, hung them with tiny clothespins, making of the collection a kitchen garland or banner. Perfect for my "shabby chic" décor.
Apologies for the gray day in the pictures. Nothing I could do to change that. I did give you a shadow of the lamp over my kitchen table, though - in this picture.