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This tutorial is for a scrappy flying geese block which measures 16.5″ X 16.5″ unfinished. This block uses 8 flying geese units laid out in a 2 X 4 block placement. This is one possible layout option (all geese pointing in the same direction):
For this tutorial, the background of each Goose Unit will utilize a variety of solid gray OR low volume prints that use gray. The centers of the geese will be fabrics which coordinate with the 2wenty Thr3e collection by Julie and Eric Comstock of Cosmo Cricket for Moda.
There are many ways to make the Flying Geese units. I used two different techniques – one the “traditional” stitch and flip method; the other a quick technique which yields 4 flying geese units with the same center fabric. I was able to get a nice scrappy block using the combination of techniques, but found that it was easier to get an accurate block with the stitch and flip method. Below you will find the instructions for BOTH methods. Each flying geese unit will measure 4.5″ X 8.5″ so that when sewn together, the completed block will be 16.5″ X 16.5″.
Quick Technique to Yield FOUR Flying Geese Units
- Cut (1) square of fabric which measures 9.25″ X 9.25″ – this will be the center of each unit, or the “geese”
- Cut (4) 4-7/8″ X 4-7/8″ squares of your background fabric – you should choose four DIFFERENT fabrics to yield a scrappy unit
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 4-7/8″ square (the background fabric):
Lay two of these background squares on the 9.25″ square of colored fabric (RST) in opposite corners as shown below. Note, the background fabric squares will overlap slightly in the middle. Your drawn lines should line up so that you have one long drawn line from corner to corner.
Sew a SCANT 1/4″ on either side of the long drawn line:
After sewing on either side of the drawn line, carefully cut along the drawn line, separating your work into two identical pieces:
Press open towards the triangles. I use light spray starch to press on the sew line FIRST, and then carefully pressed the seam towards the triangles. After pressing, your block should look like this:
You will have TWO pieces which look like the photo above. Lay one unit aside and use the other unit to do the following:
STEP ONE: Place another background 4-7/8″ square RST on the last remaining corner of your colored fabric (in the photo above, it is that nice big space below the triangles). Line up the edges along the bottom – you will have some overlaps between the triangles and your drawn diagonal line should go from the corner of your colored fabric up through the middle of the triangles as shown below:
STEP TWO: Once again, you will stitch a SCANT 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line:
STEP THREE: After sewing on either side of the drawn line, carefully cut along the drawn line, separating your work into two geese units:
STEP FOUR: Press your block open by pressing toward the triangle. Your finished units should measure 4.5″ X 8.5″. There should be a 1/4″ from the tip of each goose to the edge of the fabric (which is your seam allowance):
Take the second piece which you laid aside and repeat steps ONE through FOUR to create your final two geese units.
You should now have FOUR completed geese units which have the same fabric in the centers and a mix of background fabrics. You will need to make FOUR more geese units to complete the final block. To make your block scrappier, it is recommended that you use the stitch and flip method to make these final four units.
Stitch and Flip Method of Making Flying Geese Units
The following instructions will yield ONE flying goose unit. To make four units, you will need to repeat the instructions four times using different fabrics to yield scrappy blocks.
- Cut out (1) rectangle of colored fabric measuring 4.5″ X 8.5″ (this will make the goose part of the block – or the central fabric)
- Cut out (2) 4.5″ X 4.5″ squares of background fabric – for a scrappier look, choose two different fabrics
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 4.5″ square (the background fabric):
Lay one background square on one side of the 4.5″ X 8.5″ rectangle (RST) making sure your drawn line goes from one corner of the rectangle to the center of the rectangle.
Stitch along the drawn line (**HELPFUL HINT: to improve accuracy, stitch just a smidge along the OUTSIDE of the drawn line – ie: in the photo above to the RIGHT of the drawn line – this will give you a little extra fabric for when you do the flip part of the block and you can always trim off excess fabric if needed). IF you have prepared all four units for sewing, you can speed things up by chain piecing – which is what I am doing in the photo below.
Give your fabric a shot of spray starch and press, then flip the lower part of the square over and press toward the corner. Once pressed, you can then re-open the fabric and carefully trim back the excess fabric 1/4″ away from the sew line and then flip the fabric back over. You will have completed one half of the goose unit at this point.
Next place the second 4.5″ square of background fabric (RST) on the opposite corner of the 4.5″ X 8.5″ rectangle (in the photo below you can see the flipped side laying flat):
Again, stitch along the drawn line or just to the outside of it, and again (as above) press with spray starch, flip the bottom up, press, then flip back and trim away the excess. Your unit is now finished.
Putting Together Your Units to Make the Final Block
You will need EIGHT (8) completed flying geese units. Although I used two techniques in making mine, you could easily create all 8 scrappy units individually by using the stitch and flip method.
Lay out your units in two vertical rows, being careful to mix things up a bit. All the points of your geese units should be pointing in the same direction. Once you have a nice layout, stitch together each vertical row, laying one unit on the next, RST, so that the point of one unit is lined up with the flat side of the unit above it.
*HELPFUL HINT: If you have pieced your units correctly, you should have a 1/4″ seam allowance at each point. To be sure not to lose your point, place the two units you are going to sew together (RST) with the point side ON TOP. As you stitch across the point, you will see that the seams have made an “X”. You will want to stitch just a smidge to the outside of the “X” (on the side of the seam) or through its middle, but NOT to the left of the “X” (click on the photo below to see this detail):
PRESS YOUR SEAMS OPEN between each unit.
Here is how your vertical units will look once joined:
Once all the units are joined vertically, you will need to decide if you are going to join these vertical rows so that all the geese point in one direction:
Or if one row will point up and the other will point down:
Once you have decided on the layout, stitch the vertical units together, lining up the seams. Once sewn together, press your vertical seam OPEN (this will make it easier when joining blocks to make the finished quilt).
That’s it! Now make a bunch of these blocks and piece them together to make an amazing quilt!!!