Create Quilt Designs for Contemporary Quilts from One Block Pattern

In my journey as a quilter, I have learned much about design principles. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how you can create unlimited quilt designs from the same blocks or shapes simply by changing the colors or the scale.

Many of today’s quilters create contemporary quilts based on traditional quilt patterns using these techniques. Angela Pingel has taken this concept and run with it in her book A Quilter’s Mixology: 16 projects using the Drunkard’s Path block.

The block’s name describes its basic design, which suggests the weaving walk of a drunkard staggering homeward. It has been and continues to be a favorite, because it is such an amazingly versatile block.

design a quilt with drunkards path angela pingel
By rotating the blocks, Angela Pingel turns the traditional Drunkard’s Path block into a
contemporary quilt design.

Angela writes, “The classic Drunkard’s Path block is made up of pieces that are quarter circles drafted on squares. You put the pieces together by sewing a concave curve to a convex curve. These blocks can be arranged in many different ways by playing with size, scale, rotation of the block and placement of dark and light value fabrics.

“When the quarter-circle shape is broken down and taken apart, it can be turned into something entirely new. It becomes a modern and graphic design that reflects the original block but introduces a new vision for using the shape.”

drunkards path contemporary quilts angela pingel
Angela Pingel elongated and up-sized the Drunkard’s
Path shapes to design a quilt with a modern look.

The next time you are wondering how to design a quilt that is fresh but you don’t know where to start, try choosing a block and re-sizing the quilting templates, play with the color values, put the blocks on point, or rearrange the shapes. You’ll have a whole new quilt design in no time.

For inspiration and step-by-step guidance, I highly recommend A Quilter’s Mixology.

P.S. What traditional block would you like to re-imagine for a contemporary quilt design?

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Quilt Designs, Quilting Daily Blog