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Review: A Quilter's Mixology
The Drunkard's Path quilt block is such a cool thing – incredibly simple on its own, but it can be combined in an amazing number of ways to create gorgeous designs. Angela Pingel has written a very inspiring book on the Drunkard's Path, called A Quilter's Mixology: Shaking Up Curved Piecing.
Here's the Drunkard in question – a quarter circle in a square. This block dates back the early 1800s. As you can see, Angela Pingel uses it two ways in this book: in its traditional form, and in a more modern cut, with the circle consuming more of the block.
If you're a quiltmaker who fears curved piecing, the process is very well documented here, with several different methods and a whole section on fixing common errors that arise. I learned several new tricks I'm eager to try out.
I am a bit of a nerd about color-and-fabric chapters. Since I look at a lot of sewing and quilting books, I'm always comparing how different authors handle this subject. And Angela's chapter is excellent, especially because it has so many photographs documenting her thoughts on scale, prints vs. solids, color schemes, and incorporating directionals and fussy-cuts.
There are 16 project patterns here, 12 of them quilts (I'll show you a couple small projects in a moment). And I think it's in the project designs that this book really shines. Angela has an original eye, and has managed to turn the Drunkard's Path into a surprising range of looks.
She's also a very adept combiner of fabrics, which really makes these designs sing. Some of the designs are repeating patterns, like the quilt above...
…And some of them combine the Drunkard's Path with larger straight-sided shapes to form big, splashy modern quilts. I'm really loving the use of small textural prints with these big shapes.
Here's another repeating pattern, and again – what an awesome fabric selection!
…And here's another of the large, modern designs. I honestly loved every design in this book, and could go on showing them to you all day. To me, the diversity is a big plus, but if you're a quilter who likes a more specific design bandwidth, it may not be your cup of tea.
As a quilter who doesn't own a longarm and doesn't have a lot of free-motion quilting confidence, I'm always looking to see how quilt books handle the subject of quilting, and whether the designs will take well to simple quilting techniques.
Angela did simple straight-line quilting on some of the designs in this book, and sent the others to a professional longarm quilter. I do think that the bolder, simpler designs in this book would benefit from the intricate work of a professional longarmer, while the more complex ones could work with straight-line or domestic free-motion quilting.
The chapter on the finishing steps covers Angela's favorite techniques, but points out that beginning quilters might want to seek out other, more in-depth works on backing, basting, and binding. There is a nice illustrated step-by-step on making a double-fold binding, and some useful diagrams on making pieced backings.
Here are a couple of the book's small projects, and you can also see some simple quilting at work in these designs. I really love that table runner, and isn't that little print border on these pillows a beautiful touch?
The project instructions are well-presented, with text steps and lots of assembly diagrams for both blocks and full quilt layouts.
…And this is a nice feature I haven't seen in too many other places: for quilts that need lots of large pieces, there are visual cutting diagrams.
In the back of the book you'll find a template sheet with all the full-size templates you'll need for the book's projects.
If you've got your quilt-making legs under you and are ready to tackle a new challenge, A Quilter's Mixology is an excellent portal to the world of curves.
(Usual disclosures: F+W/Interweave sent me a review copy, and the title links above are affiliate links.)