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How to piece like a rockstar – Part 4 – How to make better flying geese

This post has been edited to add in this video on 10/12/17.


I want to start this off my saying that you are making a quilt. The little things really don’t matter. Like if your points line up, or if your edges are wobbly, or if you have a pinch or two in your quilting. These little imperfections are okay. You are making something with your hands.

The whole idea is to enjoy making the quilt, or snuggling up under the quilt or even giving the quilt to someone you love.

It’s not to beat yourself up about.

So relax, shake off the pressure, it doesn’t REALLY matter.

No quilt policing goes on here. And for heaven sakes, if you see a quilt where the points are cut off or the seams don’t match, do not announce it to the quilt maker. It’s just plain mean.

That quilter just finished making a huge labor of love. That is a job well done. Lopsided blocks and all.

Quilting is my therapy, I don’t want to follow rules, so don’t.  Make your quilt and be happy doing it.

When I first started quilting, I was a piecing nightmare.  Who cares?  I just finished a quilt!

But then, after you have made many quilts, when quilting is something you do on a daily basis, when those half square triangles aren’t quite triangle or the very worse when you have made twenty blocks and half of them are off by a half inch and you desperately and creatively sew them together anyway, wash your quilt, and then find out that all your seams have split open. THAT is the moment when you realize that if you had just taken the time to press your seams open, if you had just spent a little more time making sure your 1/4″ seam was accurate, your quilt could have come together with less headaches on the way and not riddled with split seams after a few washings.

We are not going to call them rules. Rules are not for art, and quilting is an art. We are going to call them guidelines.

Guidelines that will not only give you pleasure at seeing all your hard work look as close to perfection as the human body can make (nothing is perfect) it. But MOST importantly, that everything comes together easily and almost effortlessly. Following just a few simple guidelines will make you not hate quilting or sewing.

You will never say, I’m done, nothing I ever do comes out right. You will never say, I can’t do this. You will never finish twenty blocks and some be distorted so you throw them in your closet never to see the light of day again and all your time and effort wasted.

Never again.

In this series we will cover:

Better cutting methods

How to make half square triangles

Nesting seams and pressing tips

How to make flying geese

Making the most with your mistakes

In this post, I’m going to show you how I make flying geese.  The key word here is “I”.  This is how I make them.  There are a couple of other ways I’m not going to mention, because they do not work for me.  When you are making quilts, it’s important to find a way that works best for you.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses.  Start understanding yours.  Try all the ways!  And use the one that works best for you.

A few things about flying geese:

They are used very often in quilt making.  So it’s important to know how to make them correctly.  Flying geese and HSTs are those keys that can make a quilt great or cause you the biggest of headaches and stress.

It’s that whole bias thing again.  You fiddle with them too much and you get a warped little quilt unit.  You pull too hard, warped.  You snag it in your sewing machine, warped.  You iron instead of press, warped.  I can admit that for me, these little devils have been the hardest to get as close to perfect as I can.  They were my Everest in my first years of quilting.  I’m still not friends with them, but I’ve been trying to make nice.

I’m currently working on a whole quilt using nothing but flying geese.  Pushing myself to get them done correctly.  Un-warped, the right size, and have the little points that are so important for the look of them.

So remember….

DO NOT iron, press.  Here’s a little video of me pressing flying geese.

Now on to the tutorial and math chart…

Need flying geese quilt inspiration?

Now off you go, make some flying geese.  Show me some of those perfect points.

I hope you enjoyed this stop on the “How to piece like a rock star” series.  Next up, “Making the most of those mistakes”.


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  1. Hi, I’m enjoying your how-to series, thank you. I wasn’t able to watch the video of you pressing though – it says that the video is private. Perhaps a setting needs to be changed? And maybe you will address this in the video, but the toughest part for me is deciding how to hold the fabric when pressing so as not to distort its shape, while still maintaining it’s full size. Thanks for the help.

  2. That is my dream, right there, to make a FG quilt like the vintage ones I’ve seen. Yours is lovely now…. but it’s been posted here a while? Have you finished it? Are there photos? Thank you for sharing everything …. we thrive on that inspiration!

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