Many of us have fond childhood memories of happy hours spent weaving potholders with colorful loops of stretchy fabric on a little square peg loom. But potholder looms didn’t start out as toys. They were invented as a way for sock factories to use up waste cut from socks and hosiery during the manufacturing process. The looms were packaged with the waste fabric "loopers" and sold to Depression-era housewives who used the kits to make potholders and hot pads.
Over time, the potholder loom became more popular with children than their mothers, and by the 1950's, it was seen mainly as a toy. But in recent years, talented adult weavers have reclaimed the humble potholder loom as a valuable weaving tool. Check out Noreen Crone-Findlay's great video tutorials on stretching the boundaries of these little looms, and take a look at this article where Syne Mitchell shows how potholder looms make a great tool for experimenting with color effects.