Five Tips for Better Flying Geese
Ok flying geese. You either love 'em or you hate 'em. I think they're more divisive than HSTs, vaccines, or whether or not we actually landed on the moon. Ok, that's a stretch, I know, but wow do we have feelings about these little quilty pieces! I'm here to say they don't have to be this way! I mean, I'm not promising I'll make you love them, but I do think there are a few things that could make them a bit less heinous to the haters among us. ;)
Surprisingly, Felix is my first pattern to contain flying geese!! Honestly, I'm not even someone who hates them and yet I've written almost 20 patterns that don't have a goose in sight! But in writing patterns, one of my biggest goals is to make quilting more accessible to you and to write the directions as clearly as possible. With flying geese, my first thought was, "Ok, people need help trimming I bet." But I quickly learned it's not that easy or simple. So here are my tips for improving your flying geese blocks.
1. Cut your Squares....well Square
If you begin making flying geese with squares that are even a smidge wonky, you're going to have trouble getting your geese to come out straight. I was talking to my friend, Erin, of The Blanket Statement about this....1/8" off over the course of 8 blocks equates to being 1" off! It can feel so small but it really can accumulate quickly. It's where I like to say that precise quilting is more like baking a cake than making a soup. Altering that baking soda even a bit makes a difference, but add whatever you want to a pot of soup!
Now, you might be realizing you're a lot more of a soup-making quilter, and that's ok! Actually, I love that about you! Please be you!! I love what we often refer to as "wonky quilts" so much! They don't have to be precise. We don't want them to be. We love their uniqueness and quirks that are only theirs. But if you want to be a precise, baking-like quilter, you gotta cut straight and accurately.
2. Try Cutting Oversized
Ok, after step 1, if you're like, "yep, I've cut them as perfectly as humanly possible and it still doesn't work," you might try increasing your measurements just a smidge. Again, 1/8" goes a long way! For Felix, I kept working my measurements until I could feel like you'd consistently be able to make yours with room to trim. I like wiggle room. I don't want to have to trim 1/2", but I also don't want to feel like I have to be perfect or I'll mess it all up. Bumping up those squares sizes could help you!
3. Sew a Scant Seam
We're all about precision here, aren't we. I know, I know. It can feel annoying to have to be this fussy, but if you haven't perfected your scant 1/4" seam, flying geese are a good block to work with it on. Using the no-waste flying geese method, you sew 1/4" away from a drawn line. I've found using a scant 1/4" seam though helps me have more trimming room for that peak to keep from losing my point on top of the goose.
4. Press your Seams Open
I have a confession to make. I greatly prefer pressing my seams to the dark side. I think it's faster and also can strengthen a seam rather than pressing open. But on flying geese, you can get a weird build up of seams at the point and it just feels like it lays flatter, making it easier to trim, if I press my seams open.
5. Trim Well
Alright, here's the point we've probably all been waiting for. It feels like getting geese right is all about the trimming. And many a goose has been saved on my cutting table with some good trimming. But I really think it's much harder to trim a flying geese block that hasn't had some TLC leading up to this point. I've made a video over on my YouTube channel all about trimming using just your basic quilting ruler. But if you're in the market for a fancy new ruler, the Creative Grids Ultimate Flying Geese Ruler is amazing. It's a one-size-fits most ruler (my preference in specialty rulers), and is so user-friendly. I'm including an affiliate link for it here, but honestly I love it so much it might be the first notion I stock.
Ok. That's it friends! I can't wait to hear how your flying geese are coming! And hopefully you'll hate them a little less after trying some of these tips!