Sunday, January 14, 2018

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - Flying Geese blocks by Nathalie Forget

The Flying Geese is an easily recognizable simple block that consist of a large triangle (the goose), flanked by two smaller contrasting triangles (the sky). The traditional blocks are usually twice as wide as they are tall.


A similar block can also be created using HST blocks. The Flying Geese block can be substituted by two HST blocks sewn together in a mirror image to form the goose.


The block is a versatile one that is often incorporated in other traditional blocks (e.g. Louisiana block) or is the foundation piece for other traditional blocks (e.g. Dutchman Puzzle block).


Block Assembly

There are many methods for assembling the block and many tutorials available online. Below is a summary of criteria I found for five methods available. This should help you select the most suitable method for your projects. I also include cutting guidelines for the two most commonly used methods and links to tutorials for all of them.

Method 1 - Single Block Construction

  • Traditional method 
  • Can use small fabric scraps with this method 
  • Suitable for directional fabric use and fussy cutting 
  • Best if small number of blocks is required i.e. less than four identical blocks 
  • Some waste of fabric 
  • Good for making improv/wonky versions
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See the first method of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two methods" by Connecting Threads.

There is a tutorial for a modern wonky version of Method 1 entitled "Modern Monday - Block 18" by Jenifer Dick of 42 Quilts.


Method 2 - Four Unit No Waste Method
  • Newer and most commonly used method 
  • Yields four identical blocks 
  • Cannot make use of small fabric scraps 
  • Can only be used with non-directional fabrics. Not suitable for fussy cutting 
  • Best if a large number of blocks is required i.e. more than four or multiples of four identical blocks required 
  • No waste of fabric
Click to enlarge

Scroll down to the favorite quick method that yields 4 flying geese blocks with no waste of of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two methods" by Connecting Threads.

There are excellent simple diagrams for Method 1 and 2 available in the "Super Simple Flying Geese Quilt Tutorial" by Suzy Quilts.


Method 3 - Four Unit Some Waste Method
  • Similar to Method 2 but with less up-front cutting
  • Helpful if you're not confident in your precision with your 1/4" seams
  • Cannot make use of small fabric scraps
  • Can only be used with non-directional fabrics. Not suitable for fussy cutting
  • Best if a large number of blocks is required i.e. more than four or multiples of four identical blocks required
  • Small amount of waste but more than for Method 2
See Method Three of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two more methods" by Connecting Threads .


Method 4 - Dimensional One Seam (Folded Pocket or 3-D Method)
  • Fastest method to sew
  • Creates a dimensional effect that may be desirable for your design
  • Can use small fabric scraps for the sky
  • Most waste of fabric (double thickness of the goose)
  • The crispness of the point can be difficult to achieve with the double thickness of the goose fabric.
  • The double layer goose may also make the quilting more challenging
Scroll down to Method Four - Dimensional One Seam Flying Geese of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two more methods" by Connecting Threads .


Method 5 - Paper Pieced Method

  • Used for precision for perfect points for traditional blocks
  • Used for curved or wonky setting of the geese
  • Can use small fabric scraps with this method

Flying Geese ~ Perfect Points” by Fresh Lemons Quilts (including downloadable templates)

"Drafting Your Own Paper Pieced Pattern ... Wonky Flying Geese Tutorial" by Why Not Sew

"Release the Geese" by Sarah Bond, Quilt Maker, PhillyMQG

I also include below links to a couple of interesting tutorials for HST Versions:

"Scrap Bin Geese block tutorial" by A Bright Corner.

HST Challenge - Block Two - Dutchman's Puzzle/Wild Goose Chase” by Premium Precuts.


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The following design components may be used and combined to give the quilt a more modern esthetic.
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For more examples and for inspiration, please refer to my Flying Geese Pinterest board

We would love to see what you make, so please share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, and feel free to tag us and use the hashtags: #mtlmqgskills or #mtlmqgskillbuilder

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