Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Many Paths

It seems that I'll never get away from making variations of the Drunkard's Path quilt pattern. Ever since, as a young quilter, I vowed I'd never need to conquer curved piecing 
             *never say never*
have remained perversely attracted to the bisected-circle pattern. I thought perhaps I'd gotten it out of my system when I wrote a book about Drunkard's Path 20+ years ago. The book was Happy Trails subtitled Variations on the Classic Drunkard's Path Pattern. C&T Publishing, bless them, did two print runs of the original and then I bought the rights to the book back. And promptly turned around and sold the rights to the book to Dover Publishing. Whereupon Dover revamped the cover and came out with 65 Drunkard's Path Quilt Variations. The same book but a different cover. "Vintage" copies of both of these come up frequently on line at Aamazon and Ebay.

Dover went through their supply and decided not to re-publish two years ago. And then a couple of months ago, I got an email from Dover--65 Drunkard's Path Quilt Variations was back in print! And can be yours again for $11.95.

In the meantime, the Drunkard's Path pattern still exerted a huge influence on my work and I have a notebook filled with more and as yet unsewn DP variations. But what was most exciting is that I saw that the basic unit of the Drunkard's Path pattern--a quarter-circle and its wing-shaped remainder within a square--could be used to good effect when combined with other quilt patterns entirely. Oh boy. 

Eclipse, the scrap quilt from the center of the original book, still gets fan mail.

The same quilt was used as inspiration for Earlene Fowler's first book in her Bennie Harper quilt mystery series called Fool's Puzzle. The artist's rendition of Eclipse is on the left in back of the broken jar. More recently, a Drunkard's Path variation called The Road Home became the symbol of Elaine Gray Dumler's book of the same name about the challenges military
families face when their loved ones come home from deployment.

That subject is near and dear to my heart so I designed and with friends' help (Mary Henris and Mary Frankle) made a Road Home quilt. Here's the quilt in pieces up on the design wall with Mary Henris 'auditioning' fabrics.

The quilt grew and got a lovely center as Elaine sent me a photo of 
of a poignant homecoming of an Air Force pilot and his family.

The quilt top is shown here lower right still unquilted but believe me, the quilt is done! You can still download the pattern and the directions from my website here Road Home . 

What's up with Drunkard's Path today? The pattern still evolves. A pillowcase from Ikea bought at a Denver Goodwill store yielded exactly the right fabric to showcase the Drunkard's Path as a bridge to other blocks.

A treasured fabric, a '50's decorator chintz with a playing cards motif, turned into new Meteor Shower. 

Here's a close-up of the Star+Drunkard's Path unit. And another of the card fabric (right).

Obviously I can't stop making this pattern. And neither can my students. 



Vicki Lane said...

Oh, wow! I've never tried DP -- afraid of the curves. I did hand piece a World Without End wall hanging but some of your recent variations have me drooling and thinking it might be time to try this..

Carol Sc said...

I really like these new DP quilts --- may be another one in my future. I even saw the log cabin DP quilt, that I quilted oh so many years ago, in the background cover of the Bennie Harper book.
Glad this pattern is making a comeback.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I loved the DP overview as I love making DP too. The way the pattern can wind.... I love the way you've combined it with other patterns. Now I have new ideas to play with! The old Happy Trails book cover made me smile. ;-D

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have your 65 Drunkard's Path book -love it

Anonymous said...

Last year, I found a copy of the original Happy Trails book and I am so happy I did! I conquered curved piecing and that makes me happy. I made a really nice top named "Take Out/Full Plate" and it is my next top to go in my frame. I have plans to make a Janis Joplin tribute quilt too - all because of this book. Thank you so much and take care, Byrd