Ali Wilkinson

Navigating the Drunkard’s Path

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The online curves class continues and this week we tackled precise curves using the classic Drunkard’s Path as our subject. I think I have said before that I have avoided curves as much as possible until now, but through this class I am finding my feet and gaining confidence though I think I still have a lot of practice to do before I can call myself competent!

This week’s project was to make a pot holder using the DP pattern. Rachel demonstrated several techniques and offered a number of tips, the best of which have to be to use starch to reduce bias stretch, and to use tweezers to hold the last part of the quarter circle as it approaches the needle.

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As I rummaged in my scrap bin I noticed that my scraps tend to be strips no more than 2.5″ wide. I wonder how that happens? Perhaps I have so far been pretty good at using up fabric within the projects it was bought for. Who knows but I now realise a project made of strings has to be happening in my future!

Anyway, back to topic…. I was pleased to find the above fabrics amongst the few larger scraps I have, and was pleased to see that they work well together. That blue and lime fabric was part of a fat quarter bundle I won a while back and is by Prints Charming at Spotlight. I have no idea about the spots but have a feeling they might be Michael Miller, and the stripe is one of my favourite ever Tula Pink designs (from Saltwater).

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I decided to use the pinning method for this first attempt and you can perhaps tell that I was nervous and eager to make it work properly through the abundance of pins I used! (just as an aside I would like to draw attention to the pins which are from Clover and are the finest pins ever and so very, very useful).

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My first block was the one in the top left corner and you can see quite clearly that as I progressed clockwise around my technique has clearly improved! Luckily those creases you see are not puckers and I think are as a result of the starched fabric being pinched. I also realised after I had done the first two that I was sewing them together upside down (doh!). I had been sewing with the quarter circle on the top, and I noticed a huge improvement when I placed the quarter circle on the underside.

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I used InsulBright batting and quilted following Rachel’s suggested simple design. Binding is a shot cotton.

This was a pretty quick project to complete taking about 2 hours in total. I plan on making more, perhaps as thank you or hostess gifts, and I am sure that I will get quicker and perhaps even progress to sewing without pins! Now that’s something to aspire to!! LOL. The potholder finishes at 8″ square, so these were quite small DPs to work on for a first go. I have the book A Quilter’s Mixology which is entirely filled with quilts and cushions made with the DP block and presents many imaginative designs – see here for a book review and images of some of the fabulous quilts in the book. I am still inspired to make a modern quilt using the DP, and it will be added to my running wishlist of projects to do before I die.

Here’s the backing which I left plain:

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This is a finish for Quarter 1 of the 2015 Finish Along – hurrah!

Ali Wilkinson

Improv Curves


This week in Curves Class we learned about improvisational curves and how to sew them. The project I chose was a simple table runner called Rainbow Road, though in my case it is more like Coral Cruising. I had been feeling quite daunted by this project and saved it until the last day of the week to do at a sewing social I was set to attend today. I think my theory was that in front of other sexists I would have to fake it till I made it! (also I knew that if I got into strife I could ask one of the more experienced ladies there to provide some assistance)

I used left over fabric from a previous quilt and sewed random strips into four long pieces before cutting the improv curves and sewing those four strips together. I squared it up, spray basted it to a piece of home decor weight backing and quilted it with zig zags across the width. I decided not to use batting at all as I don’t want this to be anything other than a decorative table centre, and I thought if it was padded visitors might assume that it’s a heat mat and I don’t want hot pots placed on top of it.

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The backing was a piece of Koi swimming by Rashida Coleman-Hale and the binding is Kona White.

Now all that remains is to hand stitch the bidding down – which I confess is the job I procrastinate over the most!

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This is a finish for Quarter 1 of the 2015 Finish Along. Hurrah!