Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Making Drunkard's Path Blocks. . .

I am continuing work on my art quilt turned traditional which I am calling "Circles and Squares" for now.  Here is the Drunkard's Path block.  As I continue to design the center panel of  this quilt which was began last week (click here to see) I decided to build 10 Drunkard's Path blocks.  This would give me enough blocks to lay out and allow me to decide the sizes of filler fabric blocks needed.  I do play with pencil and paper when I begin a design as this, however, I find that actually working with fabric helps me get a better picture of how the quilt wants to progress (yes, it does have a mind of its own :)).
Curved blocks are not necessarily difficult to do, especially as in this 9" block where the curve is gentle.  The sewing just requires a small amount of prep and willingness to stitch slowly.  Using a plastic template and rotary cutter, I cut out the two block pieces:  the 1/4 circle and outside edge, or concave, piece.  The sewing prep begins by pressing both pieces in half,
and then in half again.  Here is the 1/4 circle piece and,
here is the concave piece, both pressed in half, and half again.

The two pieces are now marked and ready to be pinned together.  Please be aware that this marking can be done with chalk or a pencil, or whatever your preferred way is.  This is my marking preference.
Lay the concave piece on top of the 1/4 circle and pin where marked with pressed lines.
The recommended stitch length for this is 1.8 to 2.2.  My sewing machine is set at 2.2.  Dividing the piece into sections allows the layers to be eased in as sewn.  Take a deep breath and sew slowly.  Rushing will bring about poor results.  This piecing technique requires a lot of fabric handling while sewing to ease the layers through the presser foot.  Because both pieces are cut on the bias, be careful not to pull too much or stretching will occur.
Here is the sewn piece before pressing.  I hope you can see the stitching.  I should have used a contrasting thread for ease of seeing.  Sorry :(.
When pressing, because of the gentle arc, clipping the seam was not necessary for the seam to lie flat.  Here is the backside of my pressed block.  
There is no wrong or right side to press to.  It is a matter of personal choice as to whether you want the impact of the circle to come forward or recede.  I choose to press my seam out.  I like the crispness of the seam (although difficult to make out in the photo).  I can now continue on with my quilt design.  Keep watching for more.

Until next time,

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