Drunkard’s Path Free Quilt Pattern

Drunkard’s Path Free Quilt Pattern

This scrappy quilt is from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although this design is commonly known as Drunkard’s Path, it originally had several other names. Notice the left side of the quilt — the quiltmaker trimmed her quilt-perhaps it was too wide? This project is Fat Quarter Friendly.

Size: 70″ × 77″
Blocks: 110 (7″) blocks

Rating: Challenging

Click here to download the free materials list, assembly instructions and diagram for this quilt.

From the Curator

Very little is known of the origins of this circa 1900 Drunkard’s Path quilt (68½” × 79½”), except that it is a classic pattern, usually rendered in solid fabrics or calico. Originating in England, the pattern was known as Wanderer in the Wilderness, Rob Peter to Pay Paul, or Mill Wheel. The Amish later called it Solomon’s Puzzle or Old Maid’s Puzzle. Legend has it that some quilters believed that it was bad luck to piece a Drunkard’s Path quilt-the person who slept under it might develop a thirst for drink and wander far from home. In the 1870s and 1880s, quilt styles changed and women began making pieced quilts of designs that were composed of many small pieces. Quilters
used the multitude of calico fabric available to them in the United States after the Civil War. “This quilt illustrates a classic color combination of the era, incorporating deep indigo blues, light sky blue, black, gray, and deep burgundy, in combination with shirting prints.” says Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. “Shirtings are light-colored cotton fabrics with small printed motifs that were popular for clothing.”

The pattern maintains its graphic quality with the contrast of small prints set on an off-white ground. “The interplay of the individual blocks, with no sashing and blocks stitched directly next to each other, creates dynamic secondary patterns,” says Ducey. “The balance and distribution of the light and dark fabric is very successful.”


About the Collection:

In each issue, Love of Quilting features an antique quilt and pattern from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Center has the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. See other gorgeous quilts from the collection and enjoy interactive Web features at www.quiltstudy.org under Quilt Explorer.


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4 thoughts on “Drunkard’s Path Free Quilt Pattern

  1. Thanks so much for all of the info on the drunkards path. It really looks like it is something I can do. This latest edition of fons and porter was packed with so many quilts I want to make.