Saturday, February 9, 2008

A 'Log Cabin' Trivet

Level: Moderate

This colorful block of fabrics can be made in many colors and used for many things - a quilt block, a pot holder, table decoration, a pad for a flower pot, or a trivet. And when the holidays approach, I like to have an extra gift on hand just in case. I prefer to give a home-made gift so I try to have many small things on hand to wrap for the season.

These log cabin blocks can be made in quantity by assembling them all at once. Follow these easy new quilting techniques and you will be very pleased with the results. I like to use squares of old cotton-filled mattress pads as the inside padding because it insulates better than polyester batting. Sometimes it is possible to buy a silver metallic fabric that is designed just for pot holders. It better protects your table and hands from hot things from the oven.


1/8 yd. of 7 fabrics. For example: 1 yellow, 3 red, and 3 green
Neutral sewing thread
Batting or insulated fabric
16-inch square of backing fabric (color of choice)


1. Purchase fabric. In the figures below, we use 3 red fabrics, 3 green fabrics, and 1 bright yellow fabric. Amount of fabric depends on how many blocks you plan to make. One strip of each fabric will make two log cabin blocks.

2. Cut 2 1/2-inch strips from each color of the fabric from selvage to selvage. If you are using a rotary cutter stack the fabrics and cut three or four of them at the same time. Using a rotary cutter makes the strips very accurate and precisely cut. If scissors are used carefully mark and then cut the strips.

3. Two or many more log cabin blocks can be made using this method, so determine how many blocks you want to make and then begin. It is a sew-and-cut method so it's different than the traditional log cabin construction.

4. Begin sewing by laying the red strip right side up on the sewing machine. Lay the right side of the yellow strip face down on the red strip and sew along the right hand edge using a �-in. seam allowance. Sew the whole length of the strips together if you intend to make many blocks - sew only 6 inches of the strips together if you intend to make two blocks. Carefully cut the unopened and unpressed strip into 2 �-inch lengths. If you sewed the whole length together you will get about 17 pieces. If you sewed only 6 inches of the strips, you will have two pieces that will be the log cabin centers. Now, open this piece and press the seam allowances toward the red fabric. Add this piece to all the other strips in the following steps.

5. Place another strip of red fabric face up on the sewing machine. The pieces you sewed and cut from step 4 will be placed face down on the red strip with the yellow fabric at the bottom, seam the pieces to the strip along the right hand edge. The raw edges between the pieces will be butted against each other as they are attached to the red strip. After the sewing is complete you will cut between these raw edges before opening and pressing. The small center now has one yellow fabric and two red fabrics.

6. Place a green strip face up on the sewing machine and place the small center block right side down to the green strip and sew along the right hand edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. The red fabric that you last added is toward the top of the strip. Butt the edges against each other and sew until all the pieces are attached. Cut between the pieces before opening and pressing, and now you have a center yellow with two red pieces and one green piece attached. Press the seam away from the center.

7. Place another green strip face up on the machine and place the opened block from step 6, right side down with the green fabric at the top and sew these pieces to the new green strip.

8. Continue in this manner - adding red strips twice and then green strips twice until you have a 15-inch square. If you want a smaller block either make the strips narrower or add fewer strips.

9. To finish this block and make a trivet, or potholder, place a layer of cotton batting or insulated fabric on the backside of the block. Cut a square of fabric for the backing slightly larger than the block. With the right sides together sew around the four sides leaving a small 4- to 5-inch opening for turning right side out.

10. Before turning, trim all the seams and corners to reduce bulk. Use a pointed object to poke out the corners and then top stitch around the four edges to flatten and to also close the area that was used in turning right side out.

Make your fabulous log cabin square into a pillow with a 3-inch ruffled edge.

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