Flying Geese Blocks with Rulers
May 3, 2010 § 15 Comments
Today is the day! Let’s get started on our flying geese blocks. I will be using the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers. These are essentially half-square and quarter square triangle rulers. There are lots of brands out there.
Here are just a few:
Fons & Porter Half & Quarter Ruler
Cathy Wierzbicki’s All-In-One Ruler
Kimberly Einmo’s Easy Star & Geese Ruler
I like the rulers because it takes away some of the math work and uses less fabric if you have a ton of triangles to make. You’ll see when we explore some of the other methods in making Flying Geese blocks.
A quarter yard per block should do it, depending on the fabric. I just squeaked out enough from my first fat quarter, but I know that not all my fat quarters are the same size. And if you prewash your fabric you will need more. I don’t prewash my fabric. (That is a whole ‘nother post. Do what you like! Just allow for a little shrinkage if you prewash.)
1. If you are using fat quarters, set aside 16 fabrics that you would like to use for the blocks. All the rest will be made into flying geese blocks for the sashing. And… I’ve decided to use muslin for the background.
2. Cut four 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ blocks. From the remaining fabric cut 2 1/2″ strips.
This is how I cut up my fat quarter. The selvage is on the bottom. From this particular fat quarter I got 18 geese triangles, but I’m sure that that won’t be the case for every one. We only need 14 geese triangles for one block.
If you have 1/4 yard cuts instead of fat quarters, I think you will get more geese triangles if you cut the 2 1/2″ strips on the lengthwise grain instead of from selvage to selvage. And then you may need a couple more from the remaining fabric. If it is a scant 1/4 yard rather than a generous 1/4 yard, it may not work. Or if the fabric is really crooked and you have to trim off a lot to straighten it, it may not work. Then you may need a little more fabric.
If you can’t quite get a whole block out of a fat quarter or quarter yard, I think it is just fine to choose another fabric with similar value and make the block scrappy. I think some of my blocks may end up like that.
3. From the 2 1/2″ strips, cut as many geese triangles as possible with the Companion Angle (or quarter-square triangle). You will need 14 for one block.
I also fudged a little on a couple of corners to get another block or two out of my fabric. If you can see the right corner, the fabric doesn’t go all the way to the edge. This is okay because the ruler shows where the stitching of the seam will fall and there is still plenty of fabric to sew to the background fabric. You will never miss it when the whole quilt is finished!
Someone once asked me what to fudge meant. I’m sorry to say that we Americans have a LOT of slang colloquial terms. It means to make do. Or do what it takes to make it work even if it isn’t quite perfect. I just had to throw that in there in case the question came up again. Sometimes these things are lost in translation.
4. From the background fabric, cut a 2 1/2″ width of fabric strip. Using the Easy Angle (or half-square triangle), cut 28 triangles.
5. Sew a background triangle to each side of the geese triangle.
6. I like to press all the seams open because when we start to sew all the flying geese together, the seams bulk up rather quickly. One goose block will measure 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ including seam allowances.
Besides the 14 flying geese within the block, you will need an additional 90 flying geese for the sashing. If you make 5.6 additional geese with each block, you will have the sashing done at the same time you finish your last block. Doesn’t that sound much more reasonable? 1 block and 5-6 geese each week. Not nearly as bad as when you think about the quilt as a whole!
7. Sew 3 geese together and sew a 6 1/2″ square to each side of the 3-geese unit to make the top half of the block. Do the same again for the bottom half of the block. Sew 8 geese together for the middle section of the block. Then sew the top & bottom halves to the middle section to complete the block.
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Next, we’ll take a look at the traditional method of cutting half and quarter square triangles without these specialty rulers.