Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
Blog, Exploring Quilting Basics

Exploring the Quilting Basics: Flying Geese Tutorial

Hi friends!

Today in the Exploring Quilting Basics blog series, Tammy and I are talking about Flying Geese (FG) units.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Do you like making FG units? I will admit, for quite a while, I didn’t like making them, but they have grown on me. I think it is because I have learned new techniques to make them. So let’s chat about a few different techniques.

Flying Geese Tutorial: the Stitch and Flip Method

This is the way I always used to make my Flying Geese (FG) units. I would cut a rectangle of the “geese” fabric and squares of the background fabric. Draw a line along the diagonal on the wrong side of the small square…

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

lay it RST on the rectangle…

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

sew on the line, trim the seam and repeat on the other corner…

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Done.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

And it works. It’a great method. Often for me, because I can’t seem to sew straight, I would have little bits to trim or one side might be a little wonky… but when I am careful, it works out just fine. The one above looks pretty good!

There is a debate about whether to trim the bottom layer when trimming the seam but I never want the bottom fabric to show though the top fabric so I always trim both fabrics away.

And here is a tip: if you sew a second line of stitching, you will have a leftover HST unit!

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
Draw 2 lines- one along the diagonal and another line ½”away.
Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
Trim between the lines
Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
Bonus HST units!

Flying Geese Tutorial: the No Waste Method

This is also described as making 4 FG at once. I find myself using this method a lot now. This is the method I used in my pattern Up and Down. 

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

And I even gave instructions for a bonus quilt using the leftover geese units!

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
Leftover quilt

To do this method, you cut 1 large square of the geese fabric and 4 small squares of the background fabric. If you want the math to know how big to cut your squares, click here for my PDF with the math information. 

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

To start, draw your lines on the wrong side of the small background squares. Then place 2 of them in opposite corners; they will overlap in the center.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Sew on the lines, trim through the center and press.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Use 1 of the last 2 small squares to repeat in the other corner of each unit, cut, press and voila!

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Flying Geese units. Easy peasy.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Making your Flying Geese Units Oversize

Now, sometimes I have trouble with the 4 at once method.

Have I mentioned I can’t sew straight? Trust me, I have tools and know the tricks but I believe part of it is sometimes I go too fast, sometimes I am easily distracted  and forget to watch what I am doing and sometimes I am fending off pets!

For those of you who like to have a little wiggle room, and don’t mind trimming, you can still use the No Waste method and have just a tiny bit of waste!

Cut the squares just a tad bigger than called for: for example, if the small squares are supposed to be 3 ⅞”, make them 4” instead. If the large square is supposed to 7 ¼”, make it 7 ½” instead. Draw your lines on the small squares and then, when laying them RST with the large square, nudge them a few threads inside the outside edge of the large square. Not quite lined up.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Then you can trim them to size once you are done and they will be perfect. It may take you a few tries to get the spacing just right, but then there is less wonkiness.

Trimming your Flying Geese Units

You can trim using your regular ruler but the Wing Clipper by Tucker is my favorite trimming tool.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

I like that is has the lines with the crosshairs so I can line up my seams and get those corners just right.

Flying Geese Tutorial: Other Methods

There are many other methods for FG units- Eleanor Burns has FG rulers with her method that is similar to the No waste method. 

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

You can cut the triangles – the geese are cut from large squares into 4 quarter square triangles and the background is cut from small squares that are cut into 2 half square triangles.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

(By the way, the math for this method is the same as for the No Waste method!).

You can cut triangles using your Go! cutter. So many options! 

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

Think about how many do you need and what method works for you? When I can, I use the No Waste method, oversize my cuts and trim down. That works best for me. And if I have a few leftover geese, well, they go in the pile to be used in a leftover project!

But remember, you can use any method in this Flying Geese tutorial that you prefer to make Flying Geese units. Just adjust your cutting to suit the method you prefer. There is no one right way to make them.

Have fun making Flying Geese units- they really aren’t hard to make and they look amazing!

Don’t they look super cool in my quilt In and Out?

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.
In and Out quilt in Horizon fabrics

We used them in A Road Trip quilt as well.

Flying Geese Tutorial featured by top US quilting shop and blog, Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

And this flying geese tutorial will come in handy next week for Block 2 of the Adventure in Color Quilt Along quilt Luminous! 

Tell me, what is your favorite Flying Geese method?

Don’t forget to head over to Tammy’s blog– she always has great tips for us!

happy quilting!

Kate

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Quilting Basics: Flying Geese Tutorial”

  1. I like Ricky Tims 3-D method of making geese. So many possibilities with this method that I made a quilt with 300+ geese that I am hand sewing into cathedral windows geese.

  2. This was interesting. For years … hmmm, back in the early 90s? … I made them using the first method, and thought that was the coolest thing every. Like you, I sometimes sewed a little wonky, but I still thought it was faster and better than cutting templates or something. Then Eleanor Burns came out with her rulers! I have them in every size, and I can do it just with my ruler, too. It never fails me, and it so easy to remember the steps that I zip through it with no time wasted. Thanks for mentioning that there are several ways. Not all our brains work the same way! As a teacher of 28 years, I learned that a long time ago. =)

    1. Susan,
      You are so right- not all of our brains work the same. That is why when I teach a method in a quilt class, I try to show different ways to get to the same outcome. That way the students can chose the method that works for them. The one I like best may not be the one they like!

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