Friday, April 17, 2015

Flying Geese Tutorial

As we are winding down here in Florida, ready to be like the geese, and fly northwards home, I thought I'd share my favourite way of creating multiple flying geese units, since I've been making lots.

Sidenote: there aren't many northerners, aka snowbirds, left down here; this is the latest we've stayed.  And you know WHY we are staying extra long!!  'T' minus 3 days until Monday night's trunk show and talk at the guild meeting, followed by Tuesday morning's class I'm taking!!  With whom?  None other than Angela Walters IN PERSON!  I'm already doing a happy dance.  Okay, let's be honest; I've been doing a small happy dance ever since early February when I found out about it, each time I think that this is really going to happen.  Pinch me.

Okay, um what is this post about?  Oh yes.  Flying geese.  Big breath.  You will love this. Guaranteed.

This is Eleanor Burns' method.  I first learned it from the first quilt book I ever bought, back in about 1996-7, her Pioneer Sampler book.

It's also known as the No Waste Method, and there is a great tutorial here as well.
Here is my take on this method, which I used to make 78 flying geese units for the current quilt.

You need 5 squares total to make 4 flying geese units.
Your background or "peak" fabric (think mountain) is a square that measures 1.25" (1 1/4") larger than the finished width of the flying geese rectangle unit.  Mine finish at 3X6" so I need a square that is 7.25".

Your four "wings" squares must be 7/8" larger than the finished height of the flying geese rectangle unit.  Mine finish at 3" so I need 4 squares 3 7/8".
All units organized. What you see here will yield 24 flying geese units.
1.  Draw a line on the diagonal (I used my Hera marker, love love it) of each of the 3 7/8" squares.  Set two of these squares across the larger square, right sides together. There will be a slight overlap of the two squares in the centre.  Sew a SCANT (very important) 1/4" on either side of the drawn line.
Small squares are the darker purple, the large 7 1/4" square is the lighter purple
2.  Cut apart on your drawn line, which is between the two seams.

3.  Press seams (carefully, it's bias) to the wings, aka the darker purple in my case. You will have two heart-shaped looking units like this:

4.  Take the remaining two 3 7/8" squares and place one in the corner of each of the large squares.  Sew on either side of your drawn line as before.

5.  Cut apart on the drawn line.

6.  Press seams again to the peak fabric.  Trim to your desired size.  In my case I trimmed to 3.5 X 6.5" as my finished rectangle will be 3X6.  In the photo below I trimmed the top one, but left the bottom one so you can see what it looks like once you press the second wing out.

7. Repeat with the other 'heart' unit and you will have four flying geese!  Cool, no?
Most important is that scant 1/4" seam; otherwise you will lose some of your 3 1/2 X 6 1/2" needed.

In fur kids news, I know it's heating and steaming up when Rocco does this after our walk:

Under the fan.  In the AC. 90 and something like 90% humidity out there yesterday.  Now for a pittie puppy to lie like a frog is nothing new, but  upside down, getting air on his fur-less belly and inside legs, you know it's steamy! Time to head north where it's 30 degrees cooler.  Then he'll be wearing his hoodie, lol!  And Miss Bella not only snuggled with me last night in bed while I read, she also slept for a little while in her customary position, snuggled against my belly, this morning.  Yay, she's speaking to me again.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Pink Doxies, buttons on sidebar.


  1. Wait. . . 78 flying geese???? . . . I have tried this method. I had an issue keeping them all the same size... might have been the scant 1/4" thing. . . .

    Rocco is hilarious and yay, Bella is back :)

    SO excited for you to go meet Angela! Cannot wait to hear all about it!

  2. Beautiful!
    Oh Rocco, sigh, how I love him and his pink little belly!
    Glad Bella didn't hold a grudge for too long! Lol

  3. OOh, an Angela Walters class! Enjoy!
    That's my go-to flying geese method as well. I love those purples you used to demonstrate. I really need to inject a few more purples into my stash.

  4. I have always avoided flying geese. I will have to give this a try. Your furry friends crack me up.

  5. So often I have heard the no waste flying geese mentioned, but this is the first time I've seen it illustrated. Thank you for such a clearly explained and easy to follow tutorial Sandra!
    That is a lot of flying geese your making. I liked how you compared it with your own trip north.
    Rocco does look pretty hot - smart little guy to find the coolest spot and go belly up. Our dogs are much smaller and heat affects them very quickly. We sometimes have to cool them down by wetting a washcloth and putting it on their tummy.
    Glad Bella is in love with you again, LOL.
    Enjoy your AW Class!

  6. This is the method I use to make my geese too, it is great to have no waste.

  7. Sandra,

    Thanks for adding your tutorial on the link up this past weekend. I love your snowbird analogiy, too! I've done flying geese for different projects, but one day I'm going to do something more creative with them. I've used this method, and the scant 1/4" is important--you're so right!

    My daughter has a part pittie baby along with a mini doxie, and I've never seen such a happy, loving dog. You're lucky to have one. They are ALL personality!

    Julie @PinkDoxies


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