Flying geese subunits are the mainstay of many star blocks. The challenge with the flying geese subunit is maintaining the points and the distortion because of bias stitching. All of this results in subunits that are not quite rectangular. If you try to square them up, another challenge is the math and trimming (squaring the subunit) to keep the ¼” accurate so that the points are nice and sharp. As a result, many quilters simply avoid making anything with these flying geese.
The good news is that there are several methods and techniques that, when used separately, or combined, result in perfect flying geese. Not only are these methods and techniques easy, but fun. In the next several posts I will cover techniques and methods for piecing perfect flying geese.
One Seam Flying Geese
Nothing could be easier than stitching only one seam. Sounds impossible, but it is true. Following are two videos that illustrate this technique, one with Ricky Tims and the other with Jenny Doan. After you see this technique, you will want to run to your stash and start making these easy flying geese by the hundreds.
Fold marks on a quilt distract from the beauty of the quilt and over time can damage and weaken the fabric. Whenever possible use a method that does not involve folding. Here are a few possibilities for storing quilts to minimize or avoid fold marks.
Storage Methods Without Folding
- Small wall hangings can be hung on pants hangers. The area under the clip can be padded with extra batting.
- Larger wall hangings can be layered on top of each other and rolled. For support when rolling, use a pool noodle. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at a “dollar” store.
- If you have an extra bedroom, lay the large wall hangings and bed quilts out flat on top of each other on top of a bed. Lay a sheet on top of the pile to protect from dust and especially if there is a lot of sunlight in the room.
Biggest Challenge – Avoiding Fold Marks When Storing
At the end of a workshop I took from Joe Cunningham last fall Joe started packing up his quilts to put into the large suitcase for the trip back to his home in California. As he was talking to us he casually flopped one corner over, then another, and another, then part of the quilt, and so on. Thinking this was just a “guy” thing I asked what he was doing. He stopped and talked to the class about his method of folding and that it helped avoid fold marks. This was especially important for his quilts that often lived in the suitcase traveling from workshop to workshop and back to his studio.
Folding the quilt on the diagonal places the folds across the bias of the fabrics. Start by folding in one corner on the diagonal, move around the quilt folding in corners. Each does not need to be exactly the same. Then fold across on a diagonal, and so on until the quilt is small enough for storage. The key is to use a different fold pattern the next time to reduce the stress on the fabric.
Alex Anderson recently discovered this method from a friend. She shares her experience and the technique in the following video.
Flying geese are often subunits in star blocks and by themselves make a very attractive quilt. In the video below Jenny Doan demonstrates the easiest technique I have ever seen to have the look of flying geese, but without all of the effort. Once you see this technique you will want to be on the lookout for just the right fabrics, or better yet, this might make a good stash buster. Have fun!