Updated: Jun 16, 2020
I was both incredibly excited and sooooo nervous for this project. My fear of the Drunkard's Path block is the whole reason I signed up for Rachel's Curves Class at Stitched in Color! Well that, and my love of my mom...
Back when I started quilting (4 years ago), my mom told me that her favorite quilt block was the Drunkard's Path. I knew, then, that I wanted to make her a quilt using that block. The cool thing about Drunkard's Path is that is lends itself to SO much flexibility when it comes to your final quilt design. Search for Drunkard's Path quilts on Pinterest, and you'll find such a variety that it will be almost unbelievable that they're all using the same basic block. I was immediately enchanted by the possibilities, and picked up a copy of Quilter's Mixology to get started. As it turns out, though, sometimes books aren't the best way for me to learn, especially if I'm nervous. It's too easy to just stick the book back on the shelf, take it out to drool and dream over every once in awhile, and then get intimidated and stick it back on the shelf again.
But I was still determined to conquer my fear. I happened across the Stitched in Color blog when I was looking for the pattern for the Starbright quilt when I came across it on Pinterest, and started following the blog because I loved her sense of color and her use of scraps to make gorgeous finished pieces. Lucky me, right around the time I started following her blog, she announced her upcoming Curves class. Naturally, I had to sign up. I was thrilled when I saw that the Drunkard's Path block would be one of our week 3 projects. Conveniently, my mom happened to be on the hunt for new potholders, so they became her mother's day present. She sent me a photo of her new oven mitts, so I could try to match them.
I had a yellow and aqua floral fabric from a scrap pack I bought recently, and I matched it up with some yellows and aquas from my fabric stash. Since my mom's kitchen is green, I also included some green. I enjoy color schemes that are a little atypical, and these are another great example of the way I like to use color. I tend to like bold, bright, and graphic. Jewel tones are always a favorite, so this was a bit of a departure from my usual palette. I was surprised that I ended up liking them so much that I am making a matching pot holder for myself.
The best part of this project was how it solidified my confidence with sewing curves. I had a much easier time with the Drunkard's Path blocks than I anticipated. I ended up with a couple of pinches, but overall I was very pleased. I found pinning my curves to be the best way for me to get precise results with my sewing. It's slower, but I am better able to navigate the curves with the pins in. There were two other tips that helped me immensely: spray starch, and folding.
I was skeptical about the spray starch at first, because I've never used it and it seemed overly fussy. But it's really useful when sewing curves, because it helps prevent you from stretching your fabric in order to get the edges to match. Store-bought spray starches have too many chemicals in them, so I made my own from cornstarch and water (another post on that later.) I'm glad I decided to give it a try, because I was definitely inclined to stretch the fabric left to my own devices.
The folding tip came from the Quilter's Mixology book. Because you want to pin the center of your convex and concave curves together, you want to match the middles of your curves as closely as possible. Folding them each in half and making a crease at the center fold allows you to then match up the creased centers when you start pinning. That was an incredibly useful technique. Turned out that a few things absorbed during that book's trips on and off the bookshelf.
I feel so much more prepared now to make a drunkard's path quilt for my mom after this project. I'm still going to finish the other projects for the class, although I'm running a little behind at this point. Thankfully Rachel leaves the blog classroom open for a couple of weeks after the class officially ends, so I'll have a bit of time to catch up.
For now, though, I have a couple of great potholders as gifts for my mom for Mother's Day. They're arriving a little late, but my mom knows my heart is in the right place even if my timing isn't.