The traditional Tumbling Blocks pattern is simultaneously classic and current. Even 19th century examples look eerily modern with their simple construction and complex optical trickery.
But while Tumbling Blocks are an easily solved puzzle, they are not so easily sewn. However, our Tumbling Blocks Coasters + Trivets are made out of our thickest Wool Felt, and they couldn’t be simpler. In fact, the Coasters require no sewing at all!
Like playing with Colorforms on a grand scale, arranging these Coasters is a pure joy. I imagine a cocktail table full of them at a wedding… wouldn’t that be cool? You also can pick a few of your favorite combinations to sew together into beautiful Trivets. Tumbling Blocks made easy… Coasters + Trivets made fun! -Molly
- 5 pieces of Wollfilz’s 5mm Precut Wool Felt. We used one piece of the following five colors: Lemon Yellow, Bronze, Terra-Cotta, Anthracite, Light Gray, and Ecru.
- A spool of Gutermann’s Invisible Thread in White
- A free Tumbling Blocks Coasters + Trivets template, printed and cut out
You will also need…
These are enough materials to make 30 Coasters or 10 Trivets or a bunch of both!
Coaster: 4 ¼ x 7 ¼ inches, measuring from opposite corner to opposite corner
Trivet: 8 ½ x 7 ¼ inches
Using the rotary cutter and rotary cutting ruler, cut a piece of felt into three 3 5/8 x 12-inch strips. You will have a 1 1 /8 x 12-inch strip left over which you can discard or save for another purpose.
Trace the template twice onto one of the strips, as shown above. Each strip will yield two parallelograms.
Using the rotary cutter and ruler, cut out these two shapes carefully. (Discard or save for another purpose the two pieces left over.)
These parallelograms are now your Coasters. Cut out several from all the other colors and have fun arranging and using them!
If you want to sew a few of them into a Trivet read on…
Pick out three different colored parallelograms and arrange them as shown above. Since they have each been cut by hand, you may have to flip them around a bit to find the sides that match up the most neatly.
You will be sewing the pieces flush together using the invisible thread and a wide zigzag stitch. This is very thick felt, and the invisible thread has a tendency to break, so this step can take some patience. If you have a hard time, here are some troubleshooting ideas:
- Re-thread the top of the machine and/or the bobbin.
- Change the machine’s needle.
- Try sewing either faster or slower than you usually do. I had good results both going very slow and very fast.
- If you realize that a few stitches didn’t quite catch both sides of the seam or didn’t catch at all, don’t despair; just sew over the seam again. That’s a big advantage of using invisible thread: you can barely see it!
You will sew the pieces together with two seams, as illustrated above. Start with Seam 1, which begins at the bottom corner, pivots in the middle and finishes at the top left corner, and then sew Seam 2, which starts in the middle and ends at the right corner. Here’s how…
Hold the two bottom pieces flush together. Place their bottom corner (the start of Seam 1 in the photo above) in the machine so that the center mark of the foot is directly on top of where the felt pieces meet.
Using a wide zigzag stitch that catches both pieces as you sew, backstitch at the beginning of the seam and then sew to the end of the side.
Leave the needle down in the right-hand piece and pick up the foot. Do not cut the thread.
Add the third parallelogram and pivot all three pieces so you are new sewing this newly added piece to the piece that is now on your right. Sew until you reach the end of the side, backstitch and cut the thread.
Sew Seam 2 in the same manner, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
The Tumbling Block Trivet is complete!