Thursday, October 30, 2014

Drunkard's Path Quilt

It all started with a stack of fabric right around a year ago. I set it on top of my fabric shelf and let it linger through the end of Fall and into the beginning of Winter, occasionally adding a piece or taking one away. And, over that time, a million quilt ideas came and went - maple leafs, churn dash, simple patchwork, stacked coins. And, then, right along with the New Year, I felt inspired to try something completely new and challenging...curves!

Making this quilt has been an exciting creative journey for me that has encompassed so much of what I've wanted to do as a quilter this year. And I'm so happy with the final product. As such, I've decided to share my quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I've entered it in the Small Quilts category. For years now, I've enjoyed following along with and being inspired by the other quilt bloggers through this Festival, so I'm super excited to participate this year! You should definitely go take a look around!

Never before had I really been drawn to curves in quilts. But, all of a sudden late one night, I decided this needed to be a Drunkard's Path quilt. I found this tutorial and template over on The Sometimes Crafter, printed it up and got started. There was, right off the bat, a fair amount of trial and error with learning to sew curves. It was discouraging, but I was determined for this quilt to have curves, and so I persisted to try and find a method that would work for me - and I did! For the record, if you scroll to the bottom of Christina's tutorial she describes an "alternative" method for piecing these blocks and squaring them up later - this is the method that worked for me!

This was a fun quilt to play with on my design wall. I squared off each curved piece at 6.5" square (to give a 6" finished block). I believe I started with 40 blocks with a low volume center and 40 with a bold center. I really had no idea how I wanted the pieces to go together, but in the end I came up with this concept. And, with this layout, I did have to make a few extra low volume blocks.

Oh, those raccoons! That print and several others from the Acacia collection by Tula Pink, were the basis for this palette and the reason I decided to make this quilt in the first place. The truth is, I really don't do a lot of pink. But, I happen to adore it paired with olive green...sigh. Such a lovely match, those two. So, Tula sold me on that gorgeous palette.  To it, I simply added a bunch of low volume prints, some black and brown, deep burgandy, one of my all-time favorite Joel Dewberry florals, and that fantastical paint splatter print by Jay McCarroll. And, perhaps a few more I'm missing.

Although not a dark quilt, the curves remind me of a dark moonlit night, with woodland animals peeking out through the glow. Filled with feathers, flowers, branches, and scripted text there is something very mysterious and soothing about this quilt.

For the quilting, I really wanted something wavy and somewhat abstract, reminiscent of the wind blowing through the night forest. I used this great tutorial for Ultra-Wavy Quilting by Janice of Better Off Thread. My friend, Valerie, introduced me to this method after she used it on this amazing quilt. It is such a fun design and I felt so happy with how it tied in with my whole concept for this quilt. Not to mention, it makes for a very squishy quilt.

I've been hoarding this Anna Maria Horner flannel to use as a quilt backing for so long. These are some of my favorites, people! But I couldn't deny how well they paired with the front of the quilt. And, yeah, they make the quilt extra soft too! I did have some puckering in spots on the back of the quilt. I think it was a combination of not basting enough and the shifting of the quilt that occurred with quilting this particular design. I was a bit disappointed, mainly because up to this point, this quilt was coming together so well. But, after ripping out and fixing some of the quilting I decided to just proceed. In the end, the few bad spots really aren't noticeable.

For the binding, I used this gorgeous tangerine dottie print from Cotton + Steel - with metallic gold, of course. I love how it just adds a bit more glow to the quilt.

I'm extremely proud of this quilt and I feel like it ties together a lot of things I've wanted to accomplish this year in quilting. I stepped out of my comfort zone with colors and design and came up with something that I love so, so much. And, that's truly the type of quilting that makes me happiest.

I told Maggie that this quilt could be her cozy couch quilt, although little sis is already trying to steal it. As am I! I'm just happy that it's staying with us!


  1. I am not into pink either, but the colours in this quilt are beautiful. I love the curves & the colours, also you have created so much interest with your use of different fabric patterns and the low volume fabric. Great quilt, well done!

  2. This turned out so beautiful. You have good reason to be proud.

  3. So gorgeous Laurel! I'm so glad you were able to sit with this and let it be such a great creative exercise for you. It's beautiful. Great work friend!

  4. Fantastic! I nominated this as one of the viewer's choice!:)

  5. I' m not a great lover of traditional quilt patterns, but this really caught my eye. I love your modern interpretation and your choice and use of fabric is inspirational. Great quilt!

  6. I love it Laurel! Amazing job - and the quilting turned out great too! I'm in love with that technique :)

  7. This is beautiful! I love your fabric choices!

  8. Visual feast! Brunch at your moms today. She showed me some of your work. Really inter

  9. Love this! You got one of my votes!

  10. Great work, Laurel! I love the color and the color combination and your quilting is great! I vote for you :)