Flying Geese Blocks Traditional Method

May 5, 2010 § 22 Comments

If specialty rulers aren’t your thing, here’s how to make a flying geese block via the traditional method.  All that is involved is a little extra math.  Even if you love your rulers, it’s always good to know another method to make the same thing.

First of all, we know that we want our finished goose block to be 4″ x 2″.  Typically, two flying geese make a square block for 4″ x 4″.  It’s advantageous to cut quarter-square triangles to keep the bias edges inside the block rather than on the outside edges.  To calculate what size square we need to cut, add 1 1/4″ to the widest finished size, which is 4″, for a measurement of 5 1/4″.

For our crazy Flying Geese Quilt, cut four 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ squares from your fabric. Then cut each square diagonally in half twice to yield 16 geese triangles.  You will use 14 in your block and set aside 2 for the sashing.

Here’s how I cut my fat quarter. I got my four 6 1/2″ squares.  Then I started to cut the 5 1/4″ square.  I would have gotten 3 squares, but I messed up on the third one.  So I only got two.  If you don’t have any rulers to help utilize the remaining fabric, it’s much better to have quarter yard cuts rather than fat quarters.  I did use my Companion Ruler to make use of the extra fabric.  And surprisingly, I got 19 geese triangles. That’s one more than the last fat quarter I cut up.  Hmmm, it might be advantageous to use a combination of methods to maximize the use of a fat quarter.  I’ll have to think on that for a bit.

For the sky part of the Flying Geese block, we will cut a half-square triangles.  Again, we know that the finished size of one goose block is 2″ tall.  For half-square triangles, add an additional 7/8″ to the desired finished measurement.  That makes our square 2 7/8″.  Cut fourteen 2 7/8″ x 2 7/8″ squares. Then cut each square in half diagonally once to yield 28 half-square triangles.

Continue with the directions in the previous Flying Geese With Rulers post to sew together your flying geese block.

– – – – – – – – – –

Next, I think we should experiment with some of the time saver methods.  And eventually, I want to do a wrap up post comparing yardage requirements. I hope all this “research” isn’t going to be boring.  I think that the more you know,  the more tools you have to choose the method that works best for you.  And I love having options.

§ 22 Responses to Flying Geese Blocks Traditional Method

  • Katy says:

    I like the research – I’m not bored at all!!!! I feel like I’m learning something (although to be fair, it’s likely to go in one ear and fall straight out the other)

    Tonight I’m going to start on my no ruler blocks until my darn rulers arrive. Whoooo.

  • Trisha says:

    Anita, I am wondering if you know where the bias edge is on a Moda Turnover. I assume it is on the long side but then I was confused when I see tutorials where quilters cut it in half and use the two halves for half square triangels. That would mean they are sewing on the straight grain, which I have always learn is a big no, no for HSTs. (you don’t want the outer edge to be bias) The reason I am wondering is I thought I could cut a Turnover in half and use them for flying geese, but questioning that when they are being used as HSTs which are cut differently.

  • isabel says:

    It’s not boring at all, accually it’s very interesting and, I must admitt, I’m more confortable with this method. Any way, I already ordered my rulers to try the other method.
    This one is lovely too, Anita!

  • Messy Karen says:

    yes interesting. continue please. i’m using half-yard cuts. and a QIAD ruler. i was able to cut 8 squares. and 36 geese. enough for 2 blocks but just shy of the needed extra geese. once again i have been caught in the why-didn’t-i-just-buy-5/8 yd. haven’t assembled it yet.

  • Meredith says:

    I might have missed it but what would be the yardage requirement for the muslin you are using. I am using my stash so I would be using a different “muslin’ for each block. You are one talented quilter. Thanks for doing this I am getting excited.

  • amy says:

    Such great info, Anita! It will be very interesting to see how the yardages differ with the different methods. I love this kind of stuff!

  • RobinW says:

    My pile of leftover muslins has grown out of control for years, so I am combining them with my equally large stash of unwanted bits, samples, and scraps.

  • sophie says:

    Your tutorials are great! I blogged my personal favorite way to make flying geese here: No Waste Geese. One of the things I love best about quilting is that there are usually at least 3 ways to do anything 😉

  • lily boot says:

    okay .. first one. I shall try your traditional method (having made lots of the no waste ones – and they’re not always very even). Today’s effort is going to be come a quilted cushion cover for the living room ’cause I’m still deciding on the fabric for the quilt. Thanks!

  • Christine says:

    thanks for the lesson…I have made a block and very happy how it turned out!

  • Jan Smith says:

    Boring, heck no! Very informative, and I thank you for taking the time to share.

  • Myra says:

    I love your blog, just found it the other day. On this post, what is the brown floral fabric used in the block? I love that with the scribbled circles and flowers.

  • […] the web EARLY yesterday morning, I sighed with pleasure over Alicia’s two inch squares, Anita’s flying geese, and Erleperle’s Dresden Plate. Voila!  Cushion inspiration.  So this morning, after all […]

  • MichelleB says:

    Boring – never! Maybe eventually I’ll learn how to make flying geese that look as fabulous as yours do.

  • Miriam says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial! I am going to try flying geese your way.

  • Viv says:


    A question for you. On the post where you show the mock up of the whole quilt, on each block the geese either side of the strip in the middle are pointing towards the centre, but in the two blocks you show made up the geese are pointing away from the centre. Which should we do? Does it matter?

  • San says:

    Nice Tutorial on flying geese..

    i would like to someday have a EQ program.. EQ7 would be great.. i know several that would like to come and design with me..

  • rustybird says:

    Nice geese!

  • doris says:

    this method seems easier than the last but then like you’ve said ‘good to have options’ I just love your scrappy flying geese quilt was this made wit the EQ6 or EQ7 or just on your own?
    thanks for all you’re putting into your blog

  • My sister wants a flying geese quilt and although I have two rulers I was looking for something a little easier and then I found your tutorial. It’s wonderful! Thank you so much.

  • Anita says:

    I am helping my mom with quilt blocks. She sent me a link to your site. All I can say is: Anitas are pretty nifty!

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