Friday, September 30, 2011

Drunkard's Path Block Tutorial

While it's not the usual order to start a quilt-along with the block tutorial before the fabric requirements and other design info, since Kristie and I are each using a different block construction approach, we thought it made sense to show you the choices before you committed to one way or the other by buying fabric.  I also know that some folks are intimidated by sewing curves so I wanted to be sure that you had a chance to try it out and see that it isn't that hard!

Kristie is using the Go! Baby cutter to cut her drunkard's path pieces, and I am using templates that I designed.  The technique with my templates is actually pretty similar to how I made my wonky drunkard's path blocks - you don't have to worry as much about cutting and sewing the pieces perfectly exactly, and then you trim them to the correct size.  If you'd like to use another approach such as more precise templates, wonky blocks, or anything else, you are free to go for that too!

I am also psyched that the templates I made use 5" squares - that's right, this means you can easily use charm squares and avoid a whole bunch of fabric cutting if you want!  Maybe you have some charms you have been looking to put to use?  You can also cut your own 5" squares for some or all of the blocks, of course.

Download the template HERE - I suggest saving it to your computer, then when you print be sure to set page scaling to none.  There is a 1" box on there for you to check the scale - make sure it measures 1" and you are good to go.  I'll go into this more in a later post, but if you are making a design where you will have equal numbers of the inner and outer curve pieces from each pattern, you will only need to use the inner curve template piece - just ignore the outer curve template piece.  (This is what I did for my central park drunkard's path).

Here's how to make the blocks:

Drunkards Path 1

Start with 2 contrasting 5" fabric squares.  Put the inner curve template piece down on the squares, with the corners aligned.

Drunkard's Path 2

Cut around the curve of the template.  Note: when I made my quilt, I cut the first using the template and then used one of the cut out inner curve fabric pieces as the guide to cut the rest.  You can also mark with a fabric pen and cut along the line, or you can use a rotary cutter (and possibly use template plastic to make the template more durable).  I found that I could cut 4-5 pieces of fabric at once and so it went pretty quickly!

Drunkard's Path 3

After you have cut the inner curve piece, trim the 3/8" off the ends of the outer curve pieces as shown above (I usually just eyeballed it and used my scissors, but you could measure and/or use a rotary cutter if you prefer).

Drunkard's Path 4

Put the inner curve piece facing up with the corner facing to the upper left, and then place the outer curve piece facing down on top, with the corner facing to the lower left, as shown above.  Align pieces so that your needle is 1/4" in from the curved edge.

Drunkard's Path 5

You can basically sew straight for the first 1/4"-1/2", until the pieces start to curve away from each other.

Drunkard's Path 6

After the first bit, you will need to pull the top (outer curve) piece to the left so that it stays lined up on top of the lower (inner curve) piece as you sew around the edge.  I just pull the top piece into place gently, and don't pull the bottom piece at all - the goal is the keep the edges lined up and avoid any puckers in your seam, without stretching the fabric too much.  Continue sewing with a 1/4" seam, adjusting as you go - it doesn't take too long once you get into the hang of it.

Drunkard's Path 7

As you get towards the end, continue to pull the pieces into place so the edges are aligned - you should basically be able to sew straight for the last little bit too.

Drunkard's Path 8

This is what it should look like after you sew the seam.

Drunkard's Path 9

Press the seam flat in whichever direction you feel like.  If you wanted to you could clip the curve inside the seam allowance before you press but I didn't have any problems getting it to lay flat without clipping and it seems like it will be more durable if you don't clip it.

Drunkard's Path 10

Now, to trim the block, place the block with the inner curve facing to the lower left corner as shown above.  Take a square ruler and line up the 1" lines with the edges of the curve on both the left and lower sides (red arrows above), then trim off the edges.  The final trimmed size of the block will be 4.25" so you may want to check that the block isn't going to be too small by making sure the fabric goes past the 4.25" lines (green arrows above); you may have to rotate the ruler slightly to get it to fit.  (note: I slightly modified the template after I took these photos - so you will have more to trim in this step and less to trim below, ie, the amount you trim in each step will be about equal).

Drunkard's Path 11

After you trim the first two sides, flip the block around so that the inner curve faces towards the upper right corner, and line up the just-trimmed edges with the 4.25" lines (green arrows), then trim the other two edges.

Drunkard's Path 12

And then check it out - since you lined up the circles with the 1" line when you trimmed, your blocks line up perfectly!!  And I promise, the trimming part gets quick as you do it, too. 

Let me know how your blocks turn out if you try this, or if you have any questions!

DONATE TO SUPPORT THIS TUTORIAL - this tutorial is provided free of charge, if you would like to show your appreciation and support the free patterns I provide here, you can donate here (or it helps if you click through to any of the amazon links on this site, whether you purchase that particular product or not!).  Thanks for your support!

{This post is part of the Drunkard's Path Quilt-Along that I am hosting with Kristie from OCD.  Check out my Drunkard's Path QAL page for the schedule and links to the posts so far, and feel free to join in any time!}

Friday, September 23, 2011

Announcing Drunkard's Path Quilt-Along!

If you've been reading here for a while, you may have noticed that I have gotten a bit obsessed with the drunkard's path quilt block...

From these wonky drunkard's path bee blocks that I made (and the tutorial I put together for them) -

Drunkard's Path bee blocks

to a whole bunch of drunkard's path design ideas and sketches -

Drunkard's Path Sketch - Path Blocks

to my Central Park drunkard's path quilt top, I have definitely had drunkard's path on the mind!

Drunkards Path Quilt Top

I have mentioned a few times here that I was hoping and planning to do a drunkard's path quilt-along this fall after I moved, and I was super excited when Kristie from OCD suggested that we collaborate and do a joint quilt-along!  Now that we have finally made it out to Portland and are a bit settled in, Kristie and I are ready to get the ball rolling on the QAL and I can't wait to get going.  If you need more motivation to jump in, check out Kristie's inspiration collage - there are so many awesome designs you can make with this block.

I'll be using rough templates that I designed when I made my central park quilt, where you sew the curve and then trim the block to size - which I actually found to be easier because you don't have to worry so much about being as precise in cutting your initial pieces or in sewing the curved seam.  Kristie will be making her blocks using the Go! Baby cutter which will make the precise cutting a snap for her - but you are welcome to join in using any drunkard's path template, ruler, or other approach that you like!

Even better, Kristie has a giveaway for a Go! Baby cutter going on now, so you have a chance to win one and use it in the QAL. We'll also have some great prizes for folks that link up finished quilt tops by the end of the QAL - a $40 gift card from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics and a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's Prince Charming fabric from Fabric Shoppe!

We'll be posting more info on each of our techniques, and the fabric requirements, in the next two weeks and we'll start cutting on October 21.  For the full schedule and all the details on prizes and more, and to grab our button and link up if you are joining in, check out my Drunkard's Path QAL page.  I'll be updating this page with links to all the posts and info throughout the QAL so make sure to bookmark it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm back!

Hi friends!  We actually made it to our (temporary) new home in Portland two weeks ago, and I have been meaning to put up a post but things have been really hectic to say the least.  I didn't even open the box that had my laptop in it until we had been here more than a week!  We both started new jobs just a few days after we got to town, so we still aren't totally unpacked, but we are starting to get into more of a routine and are enjoying our new neighborhood.  I am carpooling to work some days (and working in a different office that I can take the bus to some other days) - so it seems like I will have lots of good crafting time on my commute.  I see knitting in my future - and maybe some handsewing and embroidery projects!

I'm so glad we got to have a relaxing trip to Hawaii after packing up our house - I can't even imagine how much more frazzled we would be right now if we hadn't had that nice R&R time before we got here.  Here's a few more shots from our trip - and I promise to be back with actual crafts and cooking posts soon!

Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls, Big Island

Sunset picnic
Sunset Picnic on the Beach

Lava road closure
"Road Closed due to Lava Flow" - Volcanoes National Park

Black sand
Volcanic Black Sand Beach

Volcanic crater
Inactive volcanic crater that we hiked across (Kilauea Iki)

Salt Pond Beach
There were tons of beautiful beaches, of course

Hawaiian Monk Seal
We saw lots of cool creatures, including endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals!

Sea turtle
And we saw tons of Sea Turtles!

Sea cave
Sea Cave (on boat tour) - Kaua'i

Na Pali coast, Kaua'i
Na Pali Coast on Kaua'i (also from boat - which is why the pic is crooked)

We saw tons of dolphins on that boat tour, so cool!

Ahh, I am feeling much more relaxed now :)
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