Sunday, July 24, 2011

Go! Drunkard’s Path

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. 

Drunkard's Path 1

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!!


  1. Whew!! I can certainly understand being driven to drink, but it is an amazing block!!

  2. I'm afraid I have great trepidation when it comes to sewing DP blocks!! Your perserverance paid off and the results are wonderul, love the new runner!!! I really should face my demons too, and try a DP block!!!!

  3. I haven't tried that yet, but I want to. Thanks for the tips. Your little quilt is awesome!

  4. Boy, I love that block. It looks so nice!

  5. Next time, try sewing with the L-shape on the bottom and the pie wedge on the top.

  6. I loved your play by play of sewing that block into submission. You are the victor! A glass of wine surely was the spoils at the end!

  7. You will love a little tool known as a curvemaster that fits on your sewing machine. You can sew those without any pins

    Louisville, Ky

  8. Your new table topper looks fabulous! I have the DP die for my GO but I haven't been brave enough to try it yet. I suppose if you can do it, maybe I can too. LOL

  9. Lovely result. Great block even if it does drive one to drink.