On our way home from Ikea Charlotte in February, I made this sketch of a graphic on their street sign. (Leave it to Ikea to ensure even their street signs are inspiring...)
Of course, it struck me as a charming quilt block. I could see drunkard's path curves put to good use to create something flowerlike with a Scandinavian flavor. Pretty tempting, no?
I like sewing curves, but am not as fond of cutting them. Fortunately, there's an Accuquilt cutting die that cuts the drunkard's path block. I procured one from Sew Vac Direct, my sewing machine and supplies sponsor and figured that, combined with my Go! baby cutter, this would make quick work of the job.
Well, it didn't go quite that easily. When I received the cutting die I realized that it wasn't an exact match to the block design. If you examine the sketch you'll see that the circle in the center fills out the center, with "background" only showing in the arched corners. Essentially, the curve goes right to the edge of the "blocks". The cutting die, by contrast, surrounds the curve with a good 1" of background at the thinnest points.
Earlier this week I worked out two possible versions of the block. The
version on the left uses the Accuquilt cutting die with no
modifications. You can see that the circle in the center of the block
is now cushioned by background. Also the outer petals of the flower are
spaced away from each other. The version on the right uses hand cut
drunkard's path shapes designed to have minimal background cushion
beyond the curves.
I shared these sketches on Instagram to get some feedback (thanks for that!). About 75% of responders preferred the block on the right. That didn't surprise me, since it is far more similar to the Ikea sign which originally caught my eye. But those who preferred the block on the left had a good point - the extra background allows the shape to breathe. Hmm...
Yesterday I made this test block. I used the Accuquilt cutting die, which greatly speeds the process, but trimmed the drunkard's paths before assembling to create a hybrid of my left vs. right versions.
In effect, this is version 3.0. But when I was finished my block, I was so disappointed I truly considered scrapping the whole idea. Just then my friend arrived for Thursday night yoga and gave me the push I needed to unpick and remake the block one more time.
I'm super excited about this final rendition! A bit more drunkard's path trimming yields a block with a shape almost identical to the street sign, but with background surrounding the whole flower to give it room to breathe. I think it brings together the best of my first two versions: shape, negative space and using the die cutter! The only minor drawback is that using the cutter creates some unnecessary fabric waste, but then again die cutters usually do. It's the price we sometimes pay for speed.
What do you think? I am hoping you like it because I plan to share this as a free pattern. I'll write instruction options for using the Accuquilt cutting die as well as a downloadable hand-cutting template for those who prefer it.
I'm planning to make a 9-block baby quilt with these Cool Melon fabrics. Short and sweet and finished in a jiffy. Want to join me?