July 20, 2015

Drunkard's Path QAL: Block 7

I'm checking in with block #7 for the Drunkard's Path QAL. It feels so good to be making monthly progress on my Christmas quilt without feeling like I have to get it all done at once.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again . . . making one block a month can really make a project feel doable rather than overwhelming. If you've never worked this way, give it a try. Even if you're working on other things, one block a month is a great way to create forward momentum on a project. Especially something special that might be on your bucket list. It feels sooo good to see progress without a huge time commitment. This is my 7th Drunkard's Path block. Just two more to go.

Now I'd like to talk just a little about technique. A Drunkard's Path block isn't hard. Sewing curves isn't hard. There are several different techniques for sewing curves that are worth exploring. In my tutorial,
I recommend pinning the pieces with three pins. Others prefer lots of pins. Esther of ipatchandquilt uses glue. This month I decided to try a no-pin method I came across in this video tutorial. It actually worked quite well. But after making a few units without pins, I decided the pinning method worked better
for me and actually took less time. So pinning it is. Try different methods. See what works for you.

Same goes for pressing methods. I generally prefer pressing to the side so my seams will nest, but if pressing open works better for a particular block or quilt, then I press open. For this tutorial I press the curved seam toward the circle. That first seam really needs to be pressed toward the circle or it will end up in the seam allowance when the units are sewn together. How the rest of the seams are pressed can be a matter of personal choice. I found that pressing the rest of the seams open worked best for me. It distributes the bulk and lays flatter. Esther found better success with a different method and blogged about here. Try both and see what works for you.

The point I'm making is this . . . explore different methods and techniques when you sew. Just because a teacher shows her way doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Just because I tell you how I do it doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Do what works for you.

My last thought for today is about perfection. Accurate cutting and sewing skills are certainly something you should strive for as a quilter. Better skills will come with patience and practice. But don't beat yourself up over points that don't match perfectly or curves that don't come together just right.

The way these Drunkard's Path blocks come together is different that the traditional Drunkard's Path block. The curve comes right into the seam allowance as the units are joined. This detail makes joining units a bit more challenging but is worth learning. Just don't let perfection stand in your way. My curves don't all come together perfectly but in the bigger scheme of the finished quilt no one will notice.

Perfect curve joints . . . I'm striving for these nice smooth curves with each block I make.

Not so perfect curve joints . . .
In reality, I have some of these less-than-perfect curves and I'm just not going to worry about it.   : )

I hope this post has encouraged you to try new methods. Be willing to find what works for you.

I'm linking this WIP up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.



  1. Thanks for your kind words about not achieving perfection when sewing these points. I have sewed many a sleeve into a body pattern and I am great at it. Haven't tried this pattern yet, but you have give me some encouragement so I will. I like the idea of just one block a month, I can do that !

  2. I am still so inspired by this QAL, this block looks amazing. Thanks for all the different tutorials for curves, so far I've tried with pins and without. I think pins win for accuracy!

  3. What wise words Anne! I often think about technique as I sew and wonder whether what I am doing is the same as others! But all that matters, I guess, is using what works for me! I also agree that making a block a month is totally do-able! I made a paper pieced Mariners Compass quilt that way once, and it certainly wasn't a big deal!

  4. Beautiful block! I feel the same way about pinning in three places after trying the other methods! :)

  5. I'm an open seams gal, but I think that has to do with the fact that I have been sewing for twenty years before I started to quilt. When I do paper piecing projects and need to press to the side it just seems a little odd. After I get through my current batch of WIP's, a drunkard's path is next on my list.

    This looks so nice... looking forward to the completion!


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