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In the Quilting World Tips, Tricks & Comments Free Quilting Pattern Let's Bind It!
In the Quilting World

In the Quilting World

Sometimes a classic quilt block can be rethought and renewed. The Drunkard's Path is one of those blocks. It's a timeless pattern that has a lot of options in setting and construction. It was an important part in past quilting styles and is still important in today's. The method of construction has changed a bit; it's actually gotten easier with rulers, die-cut machines and, of course, sewing machines. This is a block you may want to revisit.

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This is the original Owl block pattern before the changes.

Now, I love hand-piecing, but I also have very little free time. Whenever possible, I try to find easier methods for constructing my quilts. The free pattern I've selected for this newsletter is prime for an update. Owls are very popular right now, making this the perfect block to rethink and remake. It just so happens that I have an AccuQuilt Drunkard's Path die in a 4-inch finish, which I can use to cut the templates to make the process much easier. By using die cutting, a bit of imagination and some fusible applique I'm going to turn this cute owl block into a pillow.

If you'd like to work along with me on this project, download the pattern PDF under the Free Pattern tab at the top.

The first thing I needed to do was to search for just the right fabrics for my owls. As I have a nice-size stash, and hopefully all the colors I need, I was off to my sewing room. I selected several pleasant browns for the owl itself and a light gold for the background. I decided to change the eyes a bit, so some little scraps of black and white were also needed. I decided I'd do the beak the same as the original pattern suggested with a bright yellow.

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Selected fabrics and supplies for my redesigned owl block project.

Following the original instructions, but with my updates, I cut out enough pieces for the four Drunkard's Path units needed in my chosen colors to make one owl block.

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The units cut out and placement determined.

I stitched each of the four units together, pressed them flat and added fused eyes instead of the suggested ones for the pot holder. Using a pressing sheet and placing the eye pieces so that they would overlap the edges, I pressed them into place and trimmed off at the edge of the block. This way when I stitch the units together it will look like the eyes are dimensional.

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Slowly piecing the curves of each unit and adding my own style of eyes.

I added the beak and stitched the unit together as directed in the original pattern.

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I love the pot holder pattern, but I wanted to change this block into a nice throw pillow. Because the block is on point I needed to add setting triangles. This block measure 8 1/2 inches square unfinished, so to make sure I have plenty of working space, I cut two 8 1/2-inch squares and then cut each diagonally once. This is more than I would need, but I like to work with a floating setting. It's much easier to square up if you have extra fabric and don't have to worry about being able to make each point. I then squared the block to 12 1/2 inches.

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My owl block with setting triangles added.

Looking at my block I knew it was missing something. I rummaged through my scraps and made a couple of leaves and a branch to fill the space around the owl. I then created a 2 1/2-inch border from 2 1/2-inch squares, all from my scraps, which I also cut with my AccuQuilt cutter.

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I added some extra applique to fill in the large space and added a pieced border.

Once the piecing and the borders were in place I layered the pillow top, batting and a muslin backing, and quilted the entire pillow top.

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The next step was to make my quilted block with borders into a pillow cover. Making sure it was square to start, I determined that I needed to make it fit a 16-inch pillow form. I cut two 16 1/2 x 22-inch rectangles and folded them in half with the wrong-side out. Then I pinned them to the right side of the pillow top, matching the edges and allowing the two folded edges of the rectangles to overlap. I then stitched all around the outer edges of the pillow cover. I turned the unit right side out through the opening between the rectangles and then inserted the pillow form through the same opening.

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Making the back of the pillow.

It's amazing what you can make if you allow yourself to experiment and be creative. Sometimes all you need is a fun block to spark an idea. This entire pillow was made from things in my sewing room. I even had a couple of extra pillow forms. It's such a rewarding feeling to actually create something entirely different from an existing idea or pattern. I hope you choose to experiment too. If you do, I'd love to see what you come up with.

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My finished pillow.

I guess I need to make another one so I have a matching pair! 

Enjoy and quilt on!

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