A red and white quilt block with writing on it.

Welcome to Month 8 of the Underground Railroad Block of the Month.  This month we take a look at the drunkard’s path block.  Following the drunkard’s path is a clear warning for the slaves to move in a staggering fashion so as to allude any following slave hunters.  For fugitives, quilt patterns provided directions. 

A sampler quilt was the perfect way hide many patterns and their meaning in plain view.  The position of one or more directional patterns, and the inclusion of patterns identifying landmarks could transform a quilt into a map.  Once a direction was established, fugitives were able to travel on and were to do so as if they were following a drunkard’s path.

The traditional drunkard’s path block can be seen in modern quilting in many different ways.  Leave it to quilters to find the most fascinating ways to modernize this classic block.  Try searching on Pinterest or Google for different variations.

Download Pattern

Reference: Hidden in Plain View by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D.

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