How can it be that after 26 years of quilting I have never made flying geese. That all changed this weekend.
I followed the instructions in my pattern and enjoyed making them. I have never liked sewing triangles, stitching on the bias does not make me happy. With this technique, no triangles are required.
The flying geese units in this block will finish at 1.5" x 3".
From the yellow fabric I cut four 2 5/8" by 2 5/8" squares.
From the blue fabric I cut one 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square.
With the larger square right-side up lay two smaller squares wrong-side up on top as shown. Draw a line down the middle and then stitch 1/4 inch from your line on each side. At first you may find it helpful to draw the sewing lines. Just place the 1/4 inch mark of your ruler on the line you have drawn down the middle of your squares and draw another line to mark where you need to sew.
Once your unit is sewn it is time to cut along the pencil line between your rows of stitching.
Press towards "the geese" and this is what you end up with.
Now for the very cool part:
Place another square on top of the unit you just made, Once again, draw a line down the middle. Sew 1/4 inch from that line (on each side of it.) Then cut on the drawn line in the middle.
Arre you ready for this?
Look at those beautiful flying geese units! My pattern called for making them oversize so now on to the trimming.
On the recommendation of the pattern designer I picked up a set of Flying Geese rulers by Bloc Loc. These are really nifty little rulers. The only drawback is you have to get the one for the correct finished size of your unit. So they may not always be an affordable choice for a project. But if this is a size you are going to use again and again then they really cut your time down. Let me show you what I mean.
The method I am going to compare to uses a regular ruler for trimming.
Line up the 45 degree angle line on your ruler with the seam of your unit. Make sure you leave 1/4 inch above the point of the triangle for your seam allowance and cut across the top. The bulk under that seam can cause your ruler to slip so be careful.
Next, turn you unit 180 degrees, and line up your ruler to the desired size of unit to be sewn (not the finished size of the unit, but the finished size plus 1/2 inch for the seams-in this case I am trimming the units to 2" x 3 1/2". ) and trim again. Notice, that I have lined up that 45 degree line on my ruler with the seam again. Rotate the unit and trim the other two sides in the same manner.
Now for the Bloc Loc version. The indented part of the ruler slides right into place along the triangle. Using the rotary cutter just run it along the right side and top of the ruler.
Turn the unit and trim again. ( I have really come to appreciate the rotating cutting mat that I have for trimming units like this.)
This is how they all went together.
I purchased a set of three of the flying geese rulers at a discount. The other rulers in the set are for flying geese that finish at 1" x 2" and 2" x 4". To use the same method I will cut my fabric as follows:
For the 1" x 2"
4-squares 2 1/4" x 2 1/4"
1-square 3 3/4" x 3 3/4"
For the 2" x 4"
4-squares 3 1/8" x 3 1/8"
1-square 5 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Links for the tools I used:
As always, what seems clear to me in my descriptions may not be so clear to you, so please make use of the comments section if you have suggestions for improving this tutorial.
One of the keys to getting quilt blocks to go together well is making sure your seams are 1/4 inch. Sounds easy, but how elusive it can prove to be. Did you know that different threads can affect the size of your seam, among other things. It is important to check your seams before beginning a new project, especially if you are using different thread and needle sizes. And just what is a scant 1/4 inch that almost every quilter says you need to have for the pattern to turn out right?
Here is my little tutorial on how to achieve that mysterious seam needed for quilting. There is nothing new here, but perhaps you, dear reader of my blog, will find it helpful.
Step 1: Cut three strips that measure 1-1/2 inches wide. I find using two different fabrics works well for this, ideally scraps from the project you are about to begin.
Step 2: It is important to sit facing your machine "square on." As you look at the needle you want your eyes to align with the presser foot in such a way that you are looking straight at it. My machine has a 1/4 inch foot that I use, I line the right edge of the fabric up with the edge of my presser foot and watch this edge rather than focusing on the needle.
I tried my best to give you a view of how I look at my machine as I sew.
With right sides together sew two of the strips together and then press the seam open towards the darker color. (In general quilters go to the dark side...think Star Wars.)
Step 3: Sew the third strip to your strip-pieced unit.
Step 4: Press it towards the dark side as before.
Step 5: Line a ruler up with your middle strip. SInce we cut our strips 1-1/2 inches wide, after the three are sewn together that will give us a middle strip that should measure exaclty one inch. (We took 1/4 off of each side of that middle strip with our seams losing 1/2 inch all-together leaving us 1 inch.)
If all went according to plan the middle strip will measure 1 inch and we are good to go. Sometimes I may need to make a slight adjustment. Most often that is achieved by moving the needle position on your machine. By scooching my needle position over to the rightor left just one "click" it usually solves the problem. (If your strip was wider than 1 inch move needle to the right; if your strip was short of 1 inch move needle to the left.)
If your machine does not have this lovely little feature you will need to change how you align the fabric with the edge of the presser foot. You may also find it helpful to use a seam guide, of which there are many available options, that will help you line up your fabric on your machine as it enters the stitching area. I used to do this a lot when I was first trying to improve my sewing accurancy.
Making sure you are using an accurate 1/4 inch seam will really help in when it comes to those sharp points we all desire in our work.