A New Spin on the Drunkard’s Path {book}

I first heard about this book a year ago when I was chatting with John Kubiniec at Quilt Market and he mentioned he was working on a book devoted to the Drunkard’s Path block. Drunkard’s Path?! That’s one of my top five! I love love love this block and its million different combos. I pretty quickly begged him to let me get a sneak peek at the book and he agreed. Months and months down the road, the book was finished and I got a copy to review.

11182_frontcover-1John’s “A New Spin on the Drunkard’s Path” was just released from C&T Publishing and is available directly from John (and he’ll sign it!), as well through many fine shops (and I’d encourage to seek it out at an independent quilt shop or book seller near you).

It wasn’t until I’d started reading it that I realized I’d met John’s work long before I met him. Like many quilters, I’m always tearing patterns and inspiration from magazines. Back in 2013 I found a beautiful red and white Drunkard’s Path in McCall’s Quilting magazine. I tore out the picture and put it into my files, ready to inspire me again when I had the chance. Come to find out, that was John’s quilt design and it was his first foray into the Drunkard’s Path block! That block layout is the one he used on the cover and so, of course, it was the one I had to use, as well.

I started with a half-yard bundle of Indie from Art Gallery Fabrics. I’ve been holding onto it for three years, as well, so I figured it was a great fit. I kicked out a couple of the fabrics in the bundle, choosing eight to work with, then combined it with Kona White.

His advice for manageable bits is wonderful and exactly the reassurance you need to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed. You can do this, really, but take your time and John’s advice to make it a fun, productive process. As he suggests, I simply did the cutting on the first day. And then let it sit there in a pretty little pile for longer than I should have, but hey, at least it was a lovely addition to my view.

You’ll notice that I cut out my triangles. I did much of the construction slightly differently than John, but only because I’m very comfortable sewing curves the way I sew them and prefer trimming before I sew.

His tips on sewing the curves are great and I totally recommend them. You’ll learn ways that make it easier for you along the way.  John suggests you pin at the ends and in the middle. I don’t pin at all, but you can see that I don’t always get it right in the pic to the left.  I have one block that is perfect and another that ended being 3/16″ off. John’s method  But in the end, I had a whole big pile of Drunkard’s Path blocks to play with.

Drunkards Path blocks in Indie
I really like how they play together and create these little bow ties in there.

I love how the fabrics play together and am so glad I held on to the Indie bundle for all this time.The view from above. Right now it measures 48″ x 42″ (approx) and is great crib size quilt. I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep growing it though. 🙂 big-rig-quilting-bow-tiesIt’s fun to compare this quilt to what John originally designed in the red and white combo and what he shows in “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path” with the black background. And honestly, this is one of my favorite aspects of quilting–the never-ending ways you can put together the same thing. Same block, same construction, totally different look. It keeps quilting fresh and fun and intriguing to me.

In his book, John shows several variation of each quilt to give you some ideas, spark a little creativity in the reader, which is a much-loved feature for me. But I think the winning aspect of the book is his attention to detail and accuracy. It’s clear that John is a teacher who wants his students to succeed.  He walks the reader through each step with clear photos, tackling the curves and adding interesting details to the block.

If you’re nervous about sewing curves and need someone to hold your hand through it, John is there for you, explaining and reassuring you at each step. He shows you just how easy it really can be and then opens a whole new world of quilts for you with 12 beautiful variations of the Drunkard’s Path.

I’ll be giving away a copy of the book to inspire you to get started on your own curvy quilt. Just leave a comment here and tell me what has stopped you from taking on the Drunkard’s Path or if you have, what you love about it. We’ll pick a winner on October 9.

Congratulations to Lori Morton for winning her very own copy of John’s “A New Spin on Drunkard’s  Path” book!

65 Comments

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  1. 2
    Laura

    I’ve made drunkards path before. Practice definitely leads to progress for sewing curved seams. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

  2. 3
    Sindy

    I’ve been saving a bundle of red fabrics for just the right pattern. I love the cover of the book! My bundle is waiting for THIS pattern!

    • 5
      teresa

      Go on and give it a try! It’s not nearly as difficult as it seems like it might be. And these blocks are 6 1/2″ which makes it easier. Just pin like crazy and practice–soon you’ll be a pro!

    • 7
      teresa

      Nah, you can do it. Just take it slow and be patient with yourself. It all just takes some time to learn, but you’ll get there if you just keep on keeping on. 🙂

  3. 8
    Jittina

    I love the look of Drunkard’s Path, but I’m just afraid sewing those curved seams. This could be just the motivation to start a Drunkard’s Path quilt. The quilt with the black background is simply stunning.

  4. 9
    Allison Evrard

    Nothing is keeping me from making a Drunkard’s Path quilt except all those other quilts on my to-do list that are ahead of it!

  5. 15
    Kathy E.

    Using your Indie fabric was a great choice on that pattern! It’s perfect! I want to make one too very soon. I have made a table runner using the DP block. My curved piecing skills improved with each block and by the end of the process, I had it down pat! I love the variety of patterns made using this block.

  6. 19
    Kathy C

    I just started curved piecing and I love it. I’m ready to tackle the drunkards path so I really hope to win the book.

  7. 20
    Ali

    Love the fabrics you choose! Gorgeous! I haven’t tried DP yet because I am a little intimidated by curved piecing but this book looks very instructive! Thanks for the chance!

  8. 22
    Paula

    Thank you for the giveaway Teresa and John! This book is great, and I love this particular quilt. It will be the first one I make if I win!

    paulamb at shaw dot ca

  9. 23
    Fran

    I love the drunkards path blocks but after one attempt at sewing curves I’ve been too intimidated to try again. Your book review is fantastic & I’d be thrilled to win a copy of John’s book.

  10. 24
    Gloria Cotten

    I have never tackled curved seams in quilts, only in garments. Why? Fear, I think. This book looks like one that would deal with that. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. 25
    Chris

    I love your quilt. It turned out wonderful. This is one of my favorite blocks but I always have a play block to start with to get me going.

  12. 28
    Liz Horgan

    I just finished a quilt along that included curved piecing and I’m eager to try one of John’s quilt designs!

  13. 29
    Monica

    I haven’t been able to do a drunkard path quilt because I don’t like curves. They remind me of putting in sleeves when I’m sewing.

  14. 32
    Ramona Putnam

    I first used the drunkards path a few years ago when the Retro Flower QAL was taking place. Produces great results, but tricky to learn. Seeing the quilts coming from this book makes me want to try it again!

  15. 33
    Cindy

    I haven’t tackled a drunkard’s path because I thought it would be too hard. But I love these blocks. I would definitely try these if I was the lucky one to win this book.

    Thanks!

  16. 34
    Carol Y

    I haven’t done a drunkard’s path because I’d like to make something that looks less traditional – maybe there are some ideas in the book that would inspire me.

  17. 35
    Linda Williamson

    Sewing curves seems daunting along with cutting them out correctly. This blog hop has shown me so many different variations that can be created I’ll have to give it a go. Thanks, grinnie1961 at gmail dot com

  18. 36
    Mary H.

    I guess it’s the cutting that has kept me from attempting drunkards path blocks. (Recently, I mean. I did some many years ago using metal window templates and stitching by hand.

  19. 37
    Claudia

    After I made my first curved piece I feel in love with it. It really is easy once you get past the fear. I enjoy the creativity.

  20. 38
    Rosemary

    I’ve completed three projects using Drunkard’s Path. From Angela Pignel’s book, A Quitler’s Mixology, the table runner and a pillow. I’m working on a wedding quilt using Tidal Lace from Windham Fabrics and the Tidal Lace pattern. After coming from garment sewing you’d think I’d be comfortable by now with curves, but each project is a new challenge. John’s book looks intriguing.

  21. 40
    sharon

    curved seams always seemed (?) like too much effort and drunkard path a little too traditional for me
    but, the quilts I have seen on this hop are not traditional

  22. 42
    Anita

    I have tried a few times making drunkard’s path blocks, and I wasn’t really intimidated, but I need to work more on my curved piecing, and this book would be perfect!

  23. 43
    Judy Forkner

    I haven’t tried Drunkard’s Path, but I have dabbled in New York Beauty. Sewing the curves has not always worked out great, though. I’m sure John’s book would be a great help!

  24. 44
    Michele Breault

    I’ve made a few Drunkard’s Path quilts. I have to remember to slow down when I sew but I enjoy the process.

  25. 45
    usairdoll

    Your quilt is beautiful, love your choice of fabrics! I have done some curved piecing many moons ago but have not made this pattern. It is on my to-do list though. So many different options and layouts with the Drunkard’s Path.

    Thanks for a chance to win.

    usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. 46
    Lori Morton

    I have never tried a Drunkard’s Path before…mostly due to being a chicken about the curved seams…lol This book looks Amazing!! Will try my hand at those curves!! 🙂 Thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way too! 😀

  27. 47
    Susan Spiers

    I’m just a beginner quilter, haven’t tried curves yer, but one day. This book would be just the thing to get me started on something new. Thank you, Susan

  28. 48
    Janet T

    I have seen several that I would like to make, but somehow, other projects seem to get in the way. I really want to make the cover quilt. ndfromsd.at.gmail.com

  29. 49
    B. Bailey in WA

    I love your take on the cover design of the book – great quilt! I made some Drunkard’s Path squares by hand a long, long time ago but never did anything with them. I’d love to try on a machine – it’s my favorite block! Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  30. 53
    Kristine Clay

    I love that art gallery fabric you saved for this perfect use! Thanks for the review and I’d love to get better at curved seams. Thanks for the chance to win!

  31. 54
    Dawn Voegeli

    I have made two quilts with curved piecing and have several sets of template, yet can’t seem to get the gumption to start another one. I think making this great looking book would be a good way to get me started!

  32. 55
    Jennifer Dyck

    The curved piecing is definitely intimidating, but I have done a little and would love to do more. This book would be a fabulous way to get into it! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  33. 56
    Sonya Mullis

    To be honest, I never really loved a Drunkard’s Path quilt enough to go to the trouble of sewing curved seams…. until now! I LOVE the modern take on this classic quilt block!!

  34. 62
    Lisa B

    About 10 years ago I made a quilt of this pattern but the blocks were large, 8 inches or so. It was a baby quilt that I gave away. Theses look like fun patterns/layouts.

    • 63
      teresa

      The blocks you can make with Marti Michell’s templates are 6 inches, but there’s this great tool that will let you make curves any size (and bigger is definitely easier!). It’s the Creative Grids Circle Savvy Ruler; you can get it at some quilt shops or online. You’ll need a tiny rotary cutter or a thin marking pencil to do the curves, but the magic is that you can do 5-inch blocks or 12-inch blocks or anything in between. 🙂

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