Or, How I Fought the Curves and I Won
Though winning took some perseverance, bullheadedness, and a slightly weird relationship to inanimate objects. To begin, I had always thought that the name of the Drunkard’s Path block was a humorous description of the staggering steps of a drunk.
After a couple of hours in my sewing room, it occurred to me that the block got its name from its ability to drive an otherwise sober quilter to drink . . . hard drink . . . staggering blind drunk kind of drink.
It goes like this . . .
Since I just added the 3 1//2" finished Drunkard’s Path to my Go! die collection, I pulled out a charm pack I’ve been saving and ran it (lickedy spit) through the Go! (Very nice the way this die works perfectly with 5 inch charms leaving only a little waste.)
I did a little online browsing and came across a few different tutorials on making the block. A number suggested using only three pins: one in the middle and then one on each end. Sure, I thought, I can do this. And, honestly, I was already composing a blog entry in my head about how this block was so much easier than I thought it would be. Etc. Etc.
Oh, I wish. The three pin method and I were not user friendly. I would sew ever so carefully, with the L-shape on top and using a stiletto to help things along. No. That little quarter circle on the bottom was quite gleefully living a life of its own. There were so many pleats, puckers, and fold overs, you’d think I was sewing a christening gown.
I don’t remember ever using a seam ripper as often as I did sewing up those blocks. Let’s say two out of every three needed a little redo. Holy moly. I was not a happy camper.
I was feeling a wee bit stubborn, however. I kept trying. I thought, A little practice, that’s all I need. Any block now, it will all just come together.
Uh-huh. Rip. Rip. Rip.
Still, I think anyone trying this little block should give the three pin method a try. It looked good. It clearly works for lots of sewers. I may simply be Drunkard’s Path challenged.
But this is where that slightly weird relationship to inanimate objects I mentioned comes in. It began to be personal, between me and the those curved patches. I gritted my teeth. No little scrap of fabric is going to get the better of me! Seriously. Not a pretty picture.
In any case, I finally gave up the three pin goal. I decided to use more pins and finally those little blocks started sewing up like the little dream I just knew they could be. This is what worked for me:
The Go! die very nicely has a little notch in the curve for lining up the two pieces. I used that and first lined up the blocks from the reverse side, so that I could see that the quarter circle was centered.
Then I flipped the patches over and pinned the holy heck out of it. I pinned the center first, then the two sides, and then a couple pins to each side of the center. Like this:
And then I went over and sewed the seam. Things just moved right along, no puckers, no seam ripper. A very happy quilter. And finally, a nice little stack of blocks to play with!
There was a purpose behind all this madness. The chest in my office has a table topper that is at least ten years old. Perhaps older. It is pretty enough but hardly au courant!
I wanted something new. So I played with my little quarter circles, trying out different layouts till I finally got the one that made my heart say Ah!
Or, from this angle:
Oh, yes. Now that makes me happy.
I have more plans for that little Go! die – particularly now that I have a method that works for me.
I’ll see tomorrow if I can get a better picture of the mat. And because one thing leads to another . . . I’m about to paint the office and then make another wall quilt (because that wall quilt, while quite nice, has been up there for quite a while . . . I’m thinking something new is in order).
So, here’s to perseverance. And, boy, do I love what short work the Go! made of cutting those curves!!