Saturday, April 9, 2016

Racetrack versus Drunkard's Path

Quilt blocks with quarter circles in one or more corners are usually called Drunkard's Path. Arranging the quarter circles to point in different directions creates a variety of patterns.  And the quarter circle can be any radius up to the side length of the block.

Drunkard's Path quilt block
A variation of this pattern uses two stacked quarter circles, one larger than the other, to create a pattern. I used four blocks for each design below and rotated one of the circles to show the offset of the circles. The one on the right makes great Racetracks for matchbox cars because the dark arc is centered around the midpoint of one side. Any arc width is fine as long as the center line is that midpoint. On the left the outside arc of that path is the midpoint of the side. This makes a smaller circle than the one on the left and means that if you rotate a single block, the racetrack won't form.

Fair Play and Racetrack variations of Drunkard's Path
Smaller circles wouldn't touch anywhere when rotated. The smaller the circle-and-arc, the more background in each block.

There are more ways to alter this block. The two above have inner circles with the same radius while the outer circles differ. That causes the arc widths to differ. If the inner circle was really small, the arc might look like a CD.

Freddy Moran's variation is called Polka Dots and incorporates arced quarter circles in two opposite corners of the block. She has an excellent template for rotary tools but I had a very similar set from a class I'd taken years ago. Not quite the same but similar.

Sixteen blocks from Freddy Dot Com class using a different template
So I decided to use what I had. There's a bit too much background for me. And who's fault is that?

Enjoy the day,

24 comments:

  1. Thinking about racetracks for matchbox cars already... LOL. Somebody is going to be showering their grandson with fun surprises. Ann, I do not think there is too much background here, but then I'm not comparing the blocks to Freddy's. All I see is Wow Wow Wow Fantastic!

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    1. Yes. I have requests for sailboat and racetrack quilts already. Hopefully by his birthday and next Christmas. Compared to Freddy's pattern, mine has smaller circles and narrower arcs. I just wish the arcs were wider. Also many of my whites are actually beige or grey - at least they appear that way now. There's always something to learn.

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  2. I agree with Lara. I like them.

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    1. Thanks. I do like it but wish it was more colorful.

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  3. I like them, too. But what if you swapped the centers of the circles for the backgrounds (fabrics that is)! Just a thought. This is a really good block to show off your masterful use of extreme scrappiness!

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    1. Yes, Sue. That's the way I wish I cut it. But it was fun to work with all these fabrics and always good to learn new things.

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  4. I suspect this one will "change" considerably when assembled and quilted (losing those seam allowances will help decrease the backgrounds, too)

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    1. I hope so. Usually if I have dissatisfactions at this point they work out before it's done. And you're right. The seam allowances add to the background now.

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  5. I took that class too, many years ago from Freddy. And yes, the templates were expensive in my opinion. Glad you had the sense to use your own. And if the backgrounds are too much for your taste, make some more blocks with calmer backgrounds and intersperse them inbetween the busy blocks. Mine are pretty busy too, and in the end it looks great! Trouble is, I still haven't figured out how to quilt it! :-) Your blocks look great! Hugs, H

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    1. I hope you enjoyed the class. I learn from the teacher and my mistakes as well as my good choices. The backgrounds aren't too busy for me; just too much light. And the arcs are narrower than hers.
      Templates are something I think about before ourchasing. Mine are 10 years old and this is the second time I've used them. Not the best investment.

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  6. Fabulous! Love the effect you've achieved

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    1. Thanks. It was a fun class. Neat to see what others did whether they followed her color scheme or not.

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  7. I think it looks great! Love your scrappy. You really have a good thing going here.
    I wish I'd had the sense years ago to set up regular swaps with quilting friends so that we could trade out things like templates, odd patterns and so on. I have a quilt shop in my studio where half of the stuff gets used one or two times and then collects dust for years before getting used again. Someone else could be using the items while they are collecting dust, sort of like a library of quilting supplies, check it out and return when done. We talk about our stashes, but thirty years of quilting builds up more than just fabric.

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    1. Now that would be a good plan, Mary. We do build up so much more than fabric in our stashes. About five years ago, I went through my books but lately noticed they've built up quite a bit again. I do tend to think more before buying templates and stencils. Like you, it needs to be a design I'll use repeatedly or it just takes up needed space.

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  8. I do like this design but I know what you're saying about the background, I too would be wanting a little more colour in there but then again as Julie says when you have the blocks sewn you will cut down the light fabrics.

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    1. Exactly, Maureen. Not everything I make turns out perfectly. If I made this again, I'd put the medium or dark values in the background. And I'd redraft my pattern.

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  9. I love the way the centre of the circles are dark. It strikes me this pattern would work really well a la Sujata Shah!

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    1. What a great idea, Stephie. I think they would, too.

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  10. Actually I think you will like it more when all is said and done.

    If you don't like so much background you could applique on some circles where the four backgrounds meet - different sizes - overlapping sometimes. You could go from polka dots to bubbles!

    If I buy rulers or templates I have to make more than one quilt with them - like kaleidoscope ruler and HSt ruler. But, normally I just make a paper template and cut by hand - like my flowering snowball and my drunkard's path and snake ufos, triangle star, wagon wheel, etc.

    A racetrack quilt will be fun for the little one! I cheated and bought a racetrack panel to make my grandson's racetrack quilt. I added a few novelties of places to stop along the sides of it. He had lots of fun with it.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. I have plans to compensate for the background now. But I was thinking that a Pies and Tarts might be a good idea for the next time.
      I usually trace and scissor curved patterns, too.
      What a great idea to add stopping points on the racetrack quilt. I'll have to start looking and planning.

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  11. Freddy Moran is so fearless with color. I love her work.

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    1. She certainly has happy color combinations.

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  12. I found this a very interesting post. I like where you got to, but can see your point about the background - both how much of it shows and the fact that quite a few of the fabrics have grey or brown tones in them. It's all about learning though, isn't it, and I reckon by the time you get to the end you'll have found a way to make it more to your liking.

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    1. Yes. Those undertones were a major discovery for me. I will be more careful in future. I like to decide what aspects I want to concentrate on during a class. With Freddy's, it was her color use. I learned much RHS t I can incorporate in future.

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