Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fast Flying Geese

By now most quilters are familiar with the fast way to make flying geese units. Even if you've never actually done it before, you at least have heard others talk about it or have seen references to it in some way, shape or form. Since several of my regular readers are non-quilters or are new to quilting, I thought I'd share the fast method, in a nutshell sort of way.

For the quilt I am currently working on, Elizabeth, I needed 24 star blocks. Each block requires 4 flying geese units. Making 96 of these little buggers can become quite tedious, and some brilliant quilter figured out a fast way of doing them that also results in NO WASTE! This is huge for quilters who know how the price of fabric has risen in the past 10 years or so. We can't afford to waste a bit of it!

Above is all the necessary fabric to make 4 complete flying geese units -- one large square for the background and 4 small squares for the points. There are formulas and charts available by searching the interwebs that give you specific sizes. Of course, my pattern directions provided me with the measurements required for this quilt.

Mark a diagonal line across the back of all the small squares.

Pin 2 squares to opposite corners. You can see how the pencil marks line up.

Sew a quarter-inch seam on both sides of the pencil line, then cut apart on the pencil line.

When those two pieces are pressed open, they look like this. Some neat-freaks might go ahead at this point and trim off those pointy bits at the corners. I didn't when I made mine, but it might be something I do next time.

Take the remaining 2 squares and pin them on the corners of the background fabric. Again, stitch a quarter-inch seam on both sides of the pencil lines.

And cut these apart the same as before - on the pencil lines.

Now you can see the finished unit! A flying geese unit!

And we have 4 of them! Get to the ironing board and (carefully) press those little guys. Trim, if desired.

 Now you are ready to build your star. You will need a star center.

And you will need 4 corners of the same background fabric as used in the flying geese.

Voila! Stitch that up like you would a 9-patch block. Fast, efficient, and no waste. I am sold on this method after doing it for this quilt. I will most definitely use it again.

I would like to give credit to the quilter who "invented" this method, but I do not know if anyone can be given that distinction. I do know where I first heard of it - years ago when Simply Quilts was on HGTV, I believe a guest (maybe Mary Ellen Hopkins?) demonstrated this. But I don't know if she is attributed with inventing it. So, if someone wants to enlighten me, I'd be happy to give credit.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. Excellent tutorial! Fabrics are great!

  2. Wonderful technique! Thank you for sharing a tutorial of it! I think Fons & Porter puts this in their magazine... though I really don't know who was the original inventor.

  3. Oh.... and I sure do miss the "original HGTV"... there used to be so many interesting shows...


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