Sunday, July 3, 2016

A FAL 2016 Tutorial: Modern Labyrinth Trivet

Today I am going to share my tutorial to make a Modern Labyrinth Trivet. This trivet utilizes a modern twist on a traditional log cabin block.

I have played with the idea of making a labyrinth with log cabin blocks before, you can read about my wall quilt called Labyrinth here.

This tutorial originally ran in August 2013 as part of the Kona Club Challenge over at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop and I have been waiting for a good opportunity to share it here. 

I chose this fabulous pink solids bundle - Kona pomegranate, candy pink, bright pink, and rich red - and added another pink, Kona pale flesh (the one on the bottom left) as the neutral. I was looking for a number of shades and values of the same colour and this project will work with any similar monochrome selection. It also works with prints, or a rainbow of colours, as you like.


You will need the following materials for the trivet:

  • A bundle of five or more fat quarters or any number of scraps (this is a great scrappy block) - I used Kona pomegranate, candy pink, bright pink, and rich red. You will have lots left over to for other projects, or more trivets.
  • A piece of insulated heat resistant batting - I used Insul-Bright but any batting designed to protect from heat will work. If you cannot find insulated batting, then use two layers of cotton quilt batting. If you are not going to use your trivet for putting hot pots and dishes on, you can just use one layer of regular batting.
  • Thread for quilting - I used a cream coloured King Tut thread made by Superior Threads.

The steps to make the Trivet

Before you begin, I recommend that you take a minute to read all the instructions first. 

We are going to make a traditional log cabin block but colour it in a manner that turns it into a labyrinth. 

First cut three strips that are 1.5" wide from the Kona pale flesh, which I am going to refer to as the lightest pink. Then cut two or three strips that are 1.5" from the remaining colours. I used three strips of each colour and had a lot left over.

Then sub cut all your strips except the lightest pink. Take your rotary cutter and trim the strips to varying lengths, with the smallest size being about a 1.5" square and going up to about 3 or 3.5". Don't measure these cuts.

Put the cut up pieces on your table and mess them up so that you can pick them at random. Chain piece two pieces together. I made sure that the two pieces did not match but otherwise just sewed them together randomly.

Once you have paired all the pieces, then pair the pairs, then pair the groups of four, and so on.

When you are finished you will have one long strip that resembles this one. Press, and I just pressed the seams to one side.

Cut off a 1.5" square from lightest pink strip - this is the home piece. Lay it beside the long bright pink strip just as you would plan the first log of a log cabin block. Sew the pieces together.

Cut the sewn part from the long strip, press it open and trim with your ruler and rotary cutter. Larger log cabin blocks get out of square very easily, so I advise trimming and squaring each log up with your ruler as you go.

Lay the trimmed unit next to the long strip to prepare for the second log. Sew these together.

Press and trim the second log. Remember that the centre of the log cabin is the lightest pink square.

Here is the trick to making the labyrinth. Instead of carrying on with your pink round of logs, you need to go back and start piecing the second round of logs. The third log will use one of the lightest pink strips and lay it and the pieced unit out as shown, adjacent to the home piece and log one. Sew together, press and trim.

Next, position, sew, press and trim log four. Take a look at the picture above, you position log four next to log one.

For log five, use the darker pink strip again. Position it as shown. This position is right where you would have put the third log if we had not paused to add the lightest pink logs. Log five goes adjacent to log one. Sew, press and trim.

Position log six as shown. It is adjacent to log four but also where the next log after log five would normally go on a log cabin. 

In essence what happens is that you are building two levels of logs at the same time, a pink level and a lightest pink level. Every two logs you change colours.

For log seven, go back to the lightest pink and position this log adjacent to log two. It is also right where you would normally place the next log after log four if you had carried on with the lightest pink round. I have numbered the logs in this picture and the next to help to understand the process. Carry on placing your logs.

You can make this trivet any size you like. I stopped when it was about 12" square which finished at about 11.5" square. 

You will see that by using the strip of randomly pieced darker pinks, you get a more modern improv look to the trivet without having to do anything but build a traditional log cabin block. 

Give your top a good pressing and square it up.

For the back, I cut a 7.5" square from four of the fabrics. Sew them together into a four patch and press. You can use any other block for the back or a single colour instead, if you prefer.

Layer the trivet like a quilt. Cut a piece of Insul-Bright or batting in a 14" square. Place the back with right side to the table, place the Insul-Bright so that the shiny side of the middle foil layer is facing up (you have to peel back the batting on both sides to ascertain which side is the shiny side), and put the trivet top facing up. The top should be about an inch or more smaller than the back and batting.

Baste the top in place. I just place a few pins but you can spray baste if you prefer. Do smooth out the top and bottom a couple of times before you finish basting. 

Quilt as desired and then trim off the excess batting and backing. 

To quilt my trivet I started in the middle home log and straight line quilted, using my walking foot. My first line was along or close to the ditch of the light pink level of the labyrinth. When I got to the end, I turned around and quilted back, stitching very close to the first quilting line, about 1/8" or less. When I got back to the home log I turned again and went back. I continued this way until I was able to quilt in the ditch on the other side of the light pink level. 

Any kind of dense quilting in only one of the colour levels of the labyrinth makes the other level puff up. It makes the piece look modern and makes it hard to see the underlying log cabin block. I should mention that this style of quilting does not involve perfectly straight lines or equal distances between them. 

I use a narrow single fold binding on small quilts, as then the binding is light, narrower and does not overpower the small piece. Cut a couple of 1.25" strips of one colour - I used the darkest one - and sew them together. Attach them to the side of the trimmed top, just as you would a double fold binding. Start about half way down a side, leave about 4" not sewn, and then sew the binding right side facing the quilt top, stitching 1/4" from the edge.

I have to confess to forgetting to take a couple of important pictures, so I went back after the trivet was finished to create them for you. Please pretend that you are looking at the binding being attached to the trivet with raw edges, not with the binding already in place. 

Sew the single fold binding strip until you are 1/4" from the corner, stop, backstitch and cut your thread. 

Fold the binding at a 45 degree angle off the trivet, as shown.

Keeping that fold in place, fold parallel to the next edge of the trivet. Start stitching from that folded corner, 1/4" from the outside edge of the trivet, backstitch a couple of stitches and then sew to the next corner. Repeat.

When you get back to the beginning of the binding, stop about 2" or 3" from where you started sewing the binding down. If you like to make angled joins to your binding, go ahead and finish this the same way as you regularly do. I make a straight line join. To do that, cut your thread, take the piece out of the machine and fold the binding in place so that the folds just touch. Finger press the folds.

Fold the piece and match the fold lines. Pin in place and sew down that line.

Trim and check that the binding now fits snugly. If it is not snug, sew the join again. Finish stitching the binding to the trivet top.

Once the binding is in place, with the right side up, press the binding away from the top. Turn the piece over and then press the single thickness binding so that when it is folded it meets the raw edge of the quilted piece. The fold should be about 1/4" wide.

Hand stitch the binding on the back. You lift the folded part of the binding over the raw edge and stitch on the other side of the stitching line from attaching the binding to the front. You can use clips if you like, but I never bother, I just position it as I go. To miter the corners, fold the binding in place just as you would a double fold binding and stitch them down. This might seem tricky the first time, keep the fold in place and just take your time - it is really the same as folding a regular double fold binding in the end.

 Here is the finished top of the Modern Labyrinth Trivet.

And the back is interesting enough to get by with should you spill soup on the top.

I hope you enjoy this project. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

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Don't forget to link up your Q2 2016 FAL finishes before the end of July 7 - go here - and also to check out the other FAL tutorials this week. Here is the schedule:




Kathy E. said...

What a fun little project! I like to have an assortment of hot pads/trivets in my kitchen for switching out as the seasons change (or my mood shifts). This one would be a great one for my scraps! Thank you!

Jo said...

That's such a fun block! Thanks for sharing. I love the dense quilting, makes the pink pop out.

Lisa J. said...

Very nice!

Charlotta said...

This is so lovely! So simple, and so pretty! I'm just starting a pink project, which will leave me with quite a bit of left-over pink solids in several different shades and tints. Perfect timing!

Susan said...

Lovely idea! And I like how you named that centre block the 'home' block...Makes good sense while stitching!

Rosemary B❤️ said...

Leanne, this is beautiful! It looks so classy too. Great to make quickly for a gift or just someone you love a lot :-)
Thank you so much for sharing your creativity

Edith said...

Very pretty, I really like how you quilted this.

Rosa said...

So beautiful and great tuto.I have to try it.Fantastic way to make a little prohect.Thanks for sharing!!

Nicky said...

Love the dense stitching and those popping pinks!

AmsterdamQuilting said...

Great block!!! Thanks forshariing!!

Shona Barbour said...

Thank you for this information! I forgot about this project/piece of yours and I remember liking your green version of this so much. Great technique.


Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

This is adorable! Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial.

Nikki Schreiner said...

This is cute and I love how you only quilted the white parts, looks so cool on the back!