Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flying Geese {a no-trim Tutorial}

I have the flying geese bug, bad.  I love how quilts made with flying geese have so much movement all the while presented in a simple repeated block.

Sewing the Swoon block was my first encounter making flying geese.  In the Swoon method, you cut a rectangles for the large inner triangles of the flying geese and squares for the small outer triangles.  After marking center lines and sewing, you trim off lots of fabric waste in discarded fabric triangles.  Triangle scraps are the most tricky sort of folks, so I was not too keen on making a ton of flying geese in that method.

pieces of a day - flying geese

In my research, I found that there are many clever ways of making flying geese, both with and without special rulers.  I wanted a method that didn't involve a lot of marking and special cutting, didn't waste fabric and didn't require me to square up (ie trim up) blocks at the end.  In other words, I wanted straightforward cutting, simple sewing and voila - a nice block.  Too much to ask? I think not.


Enter the Fons & Porter Flying Geese Trianglemade by Omnigrid.  In my experience Omnigrid rulers are nice and sturdy, with non-slip undersides that really do help.  The Fons & Porter flying geese ruler was a small investment compared to a pair of Go! Baby cutters I was considering, and they fit all my criteria.  There were extras too!  This ruler cuts both sizes of triangles needed for a block from the same width fabric strip, making it easy to cut triangle sides and centers from the same print.  And, it tells you which strip width to cut right there on the ruler.  Plus, this ruler includes guides for making a whole passel of flying geese sizes.  With the Go! Baby cutters, I'd be hemmed into one size.  Score!

The past few nights I've enjoyed making flying geese using my new ruler with very happy results!  I'm sure Brandon thinks I'm loony to be positively giddy about easy-to-line-up corners and smart seam allowances.  Good thing you all understand me here.  What could be more exciting than rulers that make sewing fun?  (Ok, so there are a few things.)  Well, without further ado, I present to you...

Flying Geese {a no-trim Tutorial}

Flying Geese no-trim Tutorial

Step 1:  Cut Strips

First choose your flying geese finished block size from among the sizes offered by the ruler.  I believe the sizes offered range from 1" x 2" to 4" x 8" blocks.  Next, cut strips in width directed by the ruler. I'll be making a lot of flying geese, so I cut long strips.  I folded my half-yard cut of fabric the long way and lined up the folded edge with a horizontal line on my cutting mat.  Then I cut two 4" wide strips the entire width of the fabric.

flying geese 1

Step 2:  Trim Folded Edge

Keep your strip folded in half on the cutting mat, just moving aside any extra fabric so that you can cut one strip at a time.  Use a normal straight quilting ruler to trim 1/8" off  at the folded edge.  With the fold removed, you can now use your flying geese ruler to cut two layers of fabric at once.

flying geese 2

Step 3:  Cut Small Triangles

Use the guides on the ruler to align the ruler properly for a small triangle cut.  Notice that little bit of ruler that sticks out to the left side?  There is a mark on the ruler that helps you position the ruler just so that the same little bit sticks out each time.  This little bit creates a squared-off corner to help you sew the pieces precisely while also eliminating extra bulk at the point of the finished flying geese block.  Basically, you really like the squared off corner!

flying geese 3

When cutting your strips, you can of course cut as many small or large triangles as you like.  You could even cut all small triangles from one strip, or all large triangles. I wanted a mix of both, so that's what you'll see here.  If you are doing a mix, starting with the small triangle at the trimmed edge, as shown, saves fabric.

Step 4:  Cut Large Triangles

To cut large triangles, orient the entire width of the ruler over your strips as shown.  Once again the guides on the ruler make lining things up quick and painless. And, once again, a bit of the ruler pokes out beyond the strip at the tip of your triangle to create that squared-off corner for easy sewing!

flying geese 4

Continue cutting until you've used up your strip!

flying geese 5

Step 5: The Sewing

If you thought the cutting was easy, the sewing is even better.  First, choose your pieces:

flying geese 6

Then, flip one small triangle over the large triangle matching up the squared off tip at the top.  Sew with a 1/4" seam, traveling from the square tip down towards the point.

flying geese 7

Press your first seam and then work with the second small triangle.  Align the small triangle with the squared off top once again.  This time you will begin sewing over the first small triangle so that they slightly overlap. This is essential - it creates your seam allowance so that the flying geese point is not chopped off when you piece a row of geese together.  Sew pieces with a 1/4" seam, this time with the large triangle fabric piece facing up so that you can travel as before from the squared off top towards the point. 

flying geese 8

By the way, I chose to press my seams towards the large triangle. It's quick and makes that triangle "pop" a bit from the front!  However you choose to do it, press that last seam....

flying geese 9

and You're Done!

flying geese 10

With any luck, your flying geese block is already square, or square enough!  See those little dog ears peaking out at the bottom?  Well, just ignore them.  They will be matched to the top of a flying geese block where there are no dog ears to speak of.  As such, they aren't going to cause a bulk issue or any other kind of harm.  So, be nice to yourself, save time and move on!

hello Happy Geese!

Before you know it, you'll have a whole flock of geese.  These really do work up so fast!  My flock will grow by just a few each night until they find a way to arrange themselves as new curtains for dear little Liam.  Yes, that dear little Liam who broke!!! his curtains and is now living with curtains that are forever closed.  I'll keep you updated on the progress!

29 comments:

  1. wow...that's brilliant..thank you for sharing

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  2. Great tutorial. Thank you for posting it. Triangles stress me out. ;)

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  3. Like you, I love flying geese. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  4. Fantastic tutorial Rachel!! I hate the waste and trimming with the traditional way I learned to make flying geese- this method looks like ZERO brain damage, and uses every inch of fabric! I'll be buying one of these rulers, stat!

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  5. Sounds like a useful tool in your geese arsenal! I'll have to check out that ruler. Thank you for sharing, Rachel! Love that plaid!

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  6. i could kiss you rachel, seriously. i have wanted to get that ruler but didn't know how to use it. i do now and will buy it post haste! i see flocks of geese in my near future!

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  7. Love it! The lack of waste and no drawing lines is a real plus for me. Thanks!

    S x

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  8. THANK YOU! I've been a wee bit intimidated to try flying geese, but no more. Off to try to find the ruler! Again, thanks for the time it took to create this fab tute!

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  9. This Ruler just made my Christmas List...

    Paul
    www.OutnumberedQuilter.com

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  10. Great tutorial. I need that ruler!!

    dxx

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  11. It's always neat to see how the heck you use these special rulers, thanks!

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  12. Thanks for the low-down on this ruler - I was just looking at it the other day. It looks so easy! I'm curious about the Add-a-Quarter ruler too...have you tried that yet??

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  13. Interesting...this is getting to me a bit late for my current project (I am knee-deep in geese right now!), but I'll have to give it a try next time!

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  14. I'm not usually a fan of specialty rulers, but this one looks great - your tutorial makes it look so simple, I might even use it :)

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  15. Oh I need to get me a one of those! What a great tutorial, thank you!

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  16. Oh dear, I think this bug is contagious. I love purpose-made rulers. I have the kaleido ruler and it's so much fun to use. I think I'll have to give this one a try too. Thanks for the tip.

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  17. You're very welcome! I see many flying geese in our combined futures... Valerie, no, I haven't tried the add a quarter ruler. I think I have one, but I don't really see the point yet? I mean, I can use a regular quilting ruler to add a quarter pretty easily?

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  18. I love this ruler. It's a bit expensive, but I bought it at Joann Fabrics with a 50% off coupon, which made it very reasonable! I bought it a few months ago to help me make sense of a pile of geese that I had cut several years ago. Don't know what I was thinking when I oriuginally did them, but they were all different sizes! Now they're all the same, and waiting for me to cut some more.

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  19. Cool! I have that ruler. And I've been thinking of using some flying geese in the borders of a quilt I am making for my uncle for Christmas (or maybe Easter 2012, at the rate I'm sewing).

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  20. Rachel, thank you SO much for this tutorial. I've made FG's and love the look, but they weren't the easiest. With this ruler, it should be much better. BTW, what is that red fabric you've used with the white in your first photo? I love, love it and now it's fixed in my mind along with the flying geese! Thanks much.

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  21. Hmmm...I will have to look for one of those fancy rulers. I'm not a lover of too many gadgets, but I do have a Swoon quilt just waiting to be made and this could come in handy ;)

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  22. What a great tutorial! Thank you for posting it (and seriously, I pinned it already, of course, I pin most of your stuff...) :)

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  23. Thank you so much for the tutorial. That ruler seems great! It should solve my problem of not correctly aligning the small triangles on top of the large one.

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  24. That is such a useful tutorial! Many thanks for sharing

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  25. That top red fabric is Metro Living by Robert Kaufman!

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  26. Now that looks like a great ruler to have. I will have to keep an eye out for one. Thanks for the demo. Do trimming sounds awesome.

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  27. this is soooo smart, i can't wait to try it. i love flying geese, but have avoided them because of all the steps and math! thanks! :o)

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  28. Thanks for this great tutorial! I definitely need to get one of these rulers.

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  29. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial, Rachel! I just ordered one of the rulers from Amazon. You're so sweet to provide such beautifully-written tutes!

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