Whatever our politics, I think we can all agree that America really lucked out in the flag department. Our flag just embodies great design. It’s bold and distinctive and jaunty. It’s happy, but not insipid; spunky, but not undignified. I think it perfectly suits us as a country.

This Fourth of July, I’m celebrating the fresh graphics of the American flag with some flag-inspired hot pads. Your Fourth of July barbeque may be an ideal place to debut them, but they’ll certainly fulfill their function year round! The striped hot pad is very easy, a great start for beginners.

These are based on Joelle’s Felted Hot Pads from her Last Minute Knitted Gifts book. They’re quick and fun to make, and a great dip into Intarsia Knitting if you’ve never done that before.

But the best, best thing about these hot pads for me has been the cheer they’ve added to my kitchen. I never knew hot pads could bring so much joy and good humor! I’m not sure a Fourth of July barbeque should be without them! -Whitney




3 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch

Finished Size

12 1/2 inches x 12 1/2 inches unfelted

9 1/2 x 9 1/2 felted


Striped Hot Pad

With the red yarn, cast on 45 stitches.

Knit 12 rows (6 ridges) with the red yarn.

Change to the white yarn and knit 12 rows.

Repeat these two stripes until there are 7 stripes total. Cast off.


Carrying Yarn Up the Side for Stripes

Instead of cutting the yarn at the end of each stripe, you can carry the color you’re not using up the side of the knitting. Here’s how:

When you’re knitting the first stitch of the new color, make sure the old color is caught up in front of the new color.

When you knit the first stitch, the old color will be neatly trapped along the edge.


Do this at the beginning of every odd numbered row. The right side selvedge will look like this:


Finishing the Edge

I love the clean, bubbly look of an attached I-cord, but I admit it is a rather labor intensive option. So if you don’t have the time or patience for an attached I-cord, a round or two of single crochet with a size J hook would also finish the hot pads off very nicely!

Please refer to our Attached I-cord Tutorial if you’ve never made one. Here’s how to make this one:

Cast 3 stitches onto a US #10.5 double pointed needle. Start at a corner:

Knit an attached I-cord around the entire edge of the hot pad. Pick up 45 stitches from the cast on and cast off edges, and 35 stitches up the sides.


Knit the attached I-cord right up to the corner.


Then knit 1 row of the I-cord without picking up a stitch (a row of unattached I-cord).


Then pick up a stitch right at the corner and attach the I-cord normally.


Knit another row of I-cord without picking up a stitch.


And then continue to knit the attached the normally. You should end up with nice rounded corners that don’t pull or distort the knitting.


Finish the attached I-cord with a crocheted loop

Knit the attached I-cord half way around the last corner.


Bind off the stitches so there is 1 stitch left on the needle.


Remove the needle and insert a size J crochet hook into the loop. Chain 18 stitches and attach the end of the chain with a slip stitch to the top of the beginning of the I-cord. Then use the tail to sew the beginning of the I-cord to the end of the I-cord.


Here’s what it all looks like:


Star Hot Pad

Cast on 45 stitches with the blue yarn.

Knit 8 rows (4 ridges).

Note: While making the star, knit the right side rows and k5, p35, k5 for the wrong side rows (forming a garter stitch edge and a stockinette middle).

To make the star, follow the chart below, starting at the right bottom corner with a right side row.

(If you’re new to intarsia knitting, please visit our Intarsia Knitting Tutorial for help.)


Knit 8 rows with the blue yarn and cast off.


Knit an Attached I-Cord around the edge in the same way you made the edging for the Sriped Hot Pad, except, instead of picking up 35 stitches along the sides, pick up 40.



The good news is you don’t really need a top loading washer for this project. I brought my hot pads to the laundromat and ran them through the hot cycle a couple of times. No problem! I put them in a pillowcase, threw a baseball hat in the machine for extra agitation, and also added a couple cups of white distilled vinegar (to ensure that the colors didn’t bleed). On the second cycle I washed the pads with some Soak handwahing soap, so they’d be fresh smelling (instead of vinegary!).

I’m amazed every time felting works, but it always does, like magic!