February 2, 2015

Quilt Along 2015, Time to Get Started

I've been teasing you with my first two posts about the Drunkard's Path Quilt Along 2015. Now it's time to actually get started. You can read the intro here, and I really suggest checking out the second post here, which shows optional fabric choices. Just because my quilt is meant to be a Christmas quilt certainly doesn't mean yours has to be. There are sooo many other possibilities.

The design is based on a Drunkard's Path block with a slight variation. A traditional Drunkard's Path block would look like the small block shown below in the upper left corner. 

Notice how the quarter circle does not come all the way out to the corners of the square. The result is a leg that breaks up the design giving a staggered appearance when several blocks are put together. This style of Drunkard's Path block creates a lot of interesting designs. Just search for Drunkard's Path quilt designs and you'll find several.

However for the purposes of my design, I wanted the quarter circle to come all the way to the corner of the square and flow unbroken into the next block. This variation feels more modern to me and lends itself to many wonderful possibilities. I might even have new designs to show you down the road.

Quilt Basics:

  • Each Drunkard's path unit made up of 1 quarter circle and 1 leg finishes at 4"x 4" 
  • There are 16 units per block for this design.
  • Each block finishes at 16" x 16"
  • A quilt of 9 blocks set in 3 rows of 3 blocks will be 48" x 48" without borders. 
I haven't decided yet about borders. I've sketched up the quilt both ways but am taking a wait-and-see approach. Most of my quilts do not have borders and I like it that way. In this case, I may want them if I feel they complete the design better, plus they would also make the quilt a bit bigger. But I'll be using my quilt as a wall hanging for the holidays so a bigger size isn't so much of an issue. I'll take a look at borders in a future post and show you some options.

Go here to download a PDF of the templates. Be sure to print at 100% to get the correct size. I have included a 1" scale box on the template for reference. All printers are different. For some reason, I need to print at 98% to get a true 100% on my printer. Go figure.

I recommend using quilter's plastic available at most quilt and craft stores to cut your templates. It's more durable than cardboard and easy to cut. If you don't have plastic, any stiff cardboard like cereal boxes will do just as well. The easiest way to cut the templates is to glue the printed copy directly to your chosen template substrate and then cut out with an exacto or sharp paper scissors. Just be accurate.

NOTE: The leg template is drawn to include an extra 1/4" on the two outside straight sides. That's why they measure 4 3/4" while the quarter circles are 4 1/2" along the straight sides. I did this because the end of the leg only needs to be 1/2" wide but this can be a little tricky to cut and sew since it's so narrow.  I prefer to leave the leg a bit wider and trim after the pieces are sewn. It's much easier to work with and more accurate in the long run. The quarter circle templates are the exact size. More on trimming will be in the next post. Just don't forget it before you start sewing the pieced units together or you'll end up with a traditional style Drunkard's Path.


Yardage will vary depending on what size quilt and type of design you decide to go with. The cutting info below lists how many pieces you can get from various fabric cuts.

For each full block of the Christmas version like I'm doing you will need: 
  1. 8 red quarter circles  (2 each of 4 different prints per block)
  2. 8 green quarter circles  (2 each of 4 different prints per block)
  3. 4 green leg pieces  (1 each of the same 4 green prints from step 2)
  4. 12 background leg pieces  (I am using 4 each of 3 different light green on white prints) 
For the 9 blocks total that I'm making I will need:
  1. 72 red quarter circles  (2 each of an assortment of prints, feel free to duplicate prints, just remember they need to be in pairs of two)
  2. 72 green quarter circles  (2 each of an assortment of prints, duplicate prints in pairs of 2)
  3. 36 green leg pieces  (1 each to match each pair from step 2)
  4. 108 background leg pieces  (I'm using 36 each of 3 light green on white prints but you could just as easily use all the same fabric in the background.) 


For quarter circle:
Cut strips 4 1/2" wide. Use the quarter circle template to trace and cut the number of pieces needed per fabric. The most economical way is to flip the template back and forth to get the most pieces from each strip. You should be able to get approximately 8-9 quarter circles from one width of fabric strip or at least 16 from a fat quarter if the templates are tucked in. If you're using scraps you'll need pieces at least 4 1/2" x 8 1/4" for each pair of quarter circles.

For leg pieces:
Cut strips 4 3/4" wide. Use the template to trace and cut the number of pieces needed per fabric. You should be able to get approximately 12 leg pieces from one width of fabric strip or about 24 from a fat quarter if the templates are tucked in. If you're using scraps, one 4 3/4" x 5 3/4" rectangle will give you two leg pieces. 


I decided to cut all the pieces for all 9 blocks at one time. I find it easier and more time efficient to cut all at once while I have all the fabrics pulled out. I even placed them on my design wall to see which fabrics I wanted to repeat and how to distribute them around the quilt. You can see below that I repeated several fabrics but generally no more than three times. I also grouped darker fabrics so that some of the blocks would be darker overall than others. The middle block in the top row is the first one sewn together so it looks smaller.

Once I liked the layout, I took a digital photographs of the overall layout AND each individual block for future reference. Then I removed the pieces from the wall one unit at a time, placing the leg piece on top of the correct quarter circle. I stacked all the units for that block and placed each stack in individual ziplock baggies labeled with row and block numbers. Now all I have to do is pull a baggie and sew when I have time. My plan is to sew blocks on guild sew days throughout the year. A project all ready to go. I really like that.   : )

Now you have the info you need to print your templates and get started with the cutting. Perhaps you'll opt to cut one block at a time rather than do them all at once like I did. Whatever works for you.

I'll be back in a few more days with the piecing instructions. See you then.


    1. ahhh, now I see why your version of the DP appealed to me, while others did not. What a great idea to photograph, and put each block in individual baggies!

    2. Gosh Anne. This is fantastic! You've put so much thought into it... and oh, how I'd love to participate. I love piecing little curves like this, though the last time I did so was by hand. I'm not sure I can be as accurate using the sewing machine. In any case, I'll be closely watching activity here. It's marvelous! Thanks for sharing your skills with all of us!

    3. Thanks for sharing this pattern!

    4. Can't wait to get started. I love this pattern. I was always afraid of the drunkards path but with your encouragement and direction I realized just how easy it is. :)


    WaHoo!!! You're leaving me a comment. Thanks for stopping by and do come back again. Quilt on, Anne.