Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Weaving Potholders From Loops - Lessons Learned From a Potholder

Ah, the woes of a hand woven pot holder business. Includes videos showing how to get accustomed to a basic potholder loom kit, potholder loops and lace edged variations, and other pot holder loom details:

By Sandra J Carter   
My daughter-in-law is battling thyroid cancer. Because my youngest grandson Jake is not dealing with it very well, I went to spend some time with him while his mother was away. As I sought to occupy him with activities that would keep his mind focused on more pleasant thoughts, I planned a trip to a local hobby store. He likes creative endeavors, and there he could feast his imagination on the myriad of projects designed to awaken the artist in anyone.

As I browsed the aisles, I spotted....Wow! cotton loops to make potholders! How long had it been since I had seen these in a store? As I looked closer, I also found the loom for sale. The loops were sold in a pound bag for $5.00 and the loom was about $7...much more expensive than when I was a child. Unlike my old metal loom, the new model was made of plastic.

I was very tempted to purchase a bag of loops with the possibility of finding my old loom, especially since the potholders that my boys and I had made years ago were getting rather shabby and threadbare from years of constant use.

When I returned home, I asked my husband if he knew where my loom was. Quite surprisingly, he did. He had seen it in his storage room in an old Charles Chips can (remember those?) while he was searching for another "lost" item. After more than 20 years of hiding, the loom was finally retrieved. Also tucked away in the Charles Chips treasure chest were several bags of loops, ranging from 47 cents to 57 cents each, and two crochet needles.

As I sorted through the contents of the Charles Chips can, memories from the days of my childhood came flooding back--those days when I was home alone during the summer while my mother and father were away at work. Life was quiet and uncomplicated for me on the family farm, and I had to entertain myself by sewing, drawing, reading, listening to the radio or my 45's or even by weaving potholders. Ever so subtly, long hidden in the catacombs of my brain, the process for creating this timeless craft slowly began to surface, and I began to recall the steps I have mastered so long ago.

Before the weaving could begin, there had to be a plan involving colors, pattern, and materials. Colors had to be matched and coordinated into the desired pattern, and there had to be enough loops of each color to complete the task. If, after many potholders were completed, there were only odd loop colors left, a random-patterned potholder involving less planning could be made from the "scraps." These potholders lacked the aesthetic appeal of those which had definite colors and pattern, but in those days nothing was wasted.

Once these preliminary steps were completed, the base loops were attached to the loom in the order of the selected colors. Then the actual weaving process began. Using the long metal hook, the first loop was carefully threaded through the base loops using a slight up and down motion to navigate the spaces between each loop. This process was repeated until the loom was filled with color and the entire design was complete.

To finish the project took more skill and agility that the tasks before it. Until I was old enough to master this technique, my mother would lend a hand at this point and complete the potholder. This step required that each loop be removed from the loom separately and pulled through the adjoining loop, making sure that each loop did not stray from its original woven path. This was a simple process when finishing the first two sides, but the process became much more difficult when the weaving was only attached to the loom on two remaining sides. At this point, all remaining loops had a tendency to slide off causing the weaving to unravel. Employing creative handiwork using the palm and forearm of the hand wielding the crochet needle kept the remaining loops in place until they could be fastened. Once this process was complete and all loops had been pulled through each other securely, the last loop was stretched and a knot tied about an inch below the end, forming a loop from which the potholder could be proudly displayed.

The best part came when it was time to decide what to do with this latest creation-keep it for yourself, stash is away in a hope chest, or give it to someone special as a gift. The most satisfying option was to give it to someone who would "ooh" and "aah" over it and hang it proudly in her kitchen.

Since I am an older and wiser woman today, reflecting on this childhood memory makes me realize that this simple craft led me to many understandings about life--life lessons woven into those the lowly potholders many years ago.

Potholders are like people, when you weave together many different colors, the result is a beautiful creation.
Vivid personalities mixed with subdued ones complement each other.
When life has raveled edges, they have to be secured or the whole thing will come apart.
Patience and skill are needed to create anything of value.
Unless you have a plan, you are leaving the outcome to chance.
Use your talents to give someone a gift.
Ask for help if you need it; an extra hand can make the difference in creating success or experiencing failure.
Never underestimate the value of a simple thing.
The joy of having something beautiful is sharing it with someone you love.
Random, loose experiences weave the continuous fabric of life.

Article Source: 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Feds, Consumer Groups Go After Credit Scams

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today filed two complaints and proposed final judgments in federal court against four California-based credit repair companies and three individuals for misleading consumers and charging illegal fees. The Bureau alleges that the companies not only charged illegal advance fees for credit repair services, but also misrepresented their ability to repair consumers’ credit scores. Under a proposed final judgment, Prime Credit, LLC, IMC Capital, LLC, Commercial Credit Consultants, Blake Johnson, and Eric Schlegel would pay a civil money penalty of more than $1.5 million. Under a second proposed final judgment, Park View Law, known formerly as Prime Law Experts, Inc., and its owner Arthur Barens would pay $500,000 in relinquished funds to the U.S. Treasury.

“Today, the Bureau is taking action against companies that charged illegal fees and misled consumers about their ability to fix their credit,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We will remain vigilant about protecting consumers from companies that mislead them to turn a dishonest profit.”

Commercial Credit Consultants is a Wyoming corporation with a principal place of business in Los Angeles, Calif., that has also operated under the name Accurise. It offered and sold credit repair services to consumers from the summer of 2009 until the summer of 2012. Prime Credit, also known as Prime Marketing, LLC and Prime Credit Consultants, is a Los Angeles-based company that offered similar credit repair services from the summer of 2012 through the fall of 2014. IMC Capital is a Los Angeles-based company that provided credit repair services in 2012. Johnson was the founder and majority owner of Commercial Credit Consultants, Prime Credit, and IMC Capital, while Schlegel was the president and a minority shareholder of Commercial Credit Consultants and Prime Credit.

Arthur Barens owned Prime Credit’s business partner, Park View Law, based in Los Angeles. From March 2013 through September 2014, Prime Credit marketed and sold credit repair services to consumers using Park View Law’s name, and provided credit repair services to consumers who entered into contracts with Park View Law. Park View Law continued to offer and provide credit repair services through a similar arrangement until as late as June 2015.

In complaints filed with the proposed final judgments, the CFPB alleges that the defendants made misleading, unsubstantiated claims that they could remove virtually any negative information from consumers’ credit reports and could boost consumers’ credit scores by significant amounts. The companies attracted thousands of customers through sales calls and their websites, at times targeting consumers who had recently sought to obtain a mortgage, loan, refinancing, or other extension of credit. The CFPB alleges that the companies charged these consumers millions of dollars in illegal advance fees for their services. The Bureau alleges that these practices violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Specifically, the CFPB alleges that the defendants:

Charged illegal advance fees: Federal law bars telemarketers and certain companies from requesting or collecting fees for credit repair services until certain conditions are met about the delivery of those services. The companies charged a variety of fees for their services before demonstrating that the promised results had been achieved as required by law. Specifically, the companies charged consumers fees for an initial consultation to review a consumer’s credit report. The company also charged set-up fees totaling hundreds of dollars and monthly fees that often equaled $89.99 per month.
Failed to disclose limits on “money-back guarantees”: The companies offered a money-back guarantee for certain services. However, they failed to disclose that the guarantee had significant limits, including that the consumer must pay for at least six months of the service to be eligible for the guarantee.
Misled consumers about the benefits of their services: The companies misrepresented that their credit repair services would result in the removal of negative entries on consumers’ credit reports. The companies also misrepresented to customers that their credit repair services would, or likely would, result in a substantial increase to consumers’ credit scores. The companies lacked a reasonable basis for making these claims.

In addition to paying the amounts contained in the proposed final judgments, all defendants would be prohibited from doing business within the credit repair industry for five years and permanently prohibited from violating the Dodd-Frank Act or the Telemarketing Sales Rule. They have been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and they are only effective if approved by the presiding judge.

In September 2016, the CFPB filed a lawsuit alleging similar violations of federal law against Prime Marketing Holdings, a credit repair company that partnered with Park View Law from September 2014 to June 2015. That litigation is ongoing.

The Bureau also issued a consumer advisory  in September 2016 to alert consumers
about companies that engage in potentially misleading credit repair services.

A copy of the complaint filed in federal district court against Prime Credit, IMC Capital, Commercial Credit Consultants, Blake Johnson, and Eric Schlegel can be found at: 

A copy of the proposed final judgement filed in federal district court against Prime Credit, IMC Capital, Commercial Credit Consultants, Blake Johnson, and Eric Schlegel can be found at: 

A copy of the complaint filed in federal district court against Park View Law and Arthur Barens can be found at: 

A copy of the proposed final judgement filed in federal district court against Park View Law and Arthur Barens can be found at: 


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit

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