Sunday, March 1, 2015

making geese.

I'm up to lead this month for my circle of do.good stitches and have opted for sets of four flying geese in spring colors.  Inspired in part by the cherry trees currently in bloom and our unusually blue skies.  (This time of year it should be grey and spitting rain!)


There are several ways to make flying geese and I thought I'd summarize the four I know.  Depending on the situation, one technique may work better than others. 

A few things to note on sizing first:  A classic flying goose is 2x as wide as it is tall.  2x4, 3x6, etc.   I ALWAYS oversize my geese and trim them down after.  I've found that no matter how careful I am they never turn out quite right if I start with the minimum fabric sizes.  

Okay...here goes!

Traditional method.  One at a time.

This method starts with rectilinear pieces to make one goose at a time.  It works great for scrappy geese and can use smaller pieces of fabric.

For the goose:  1 rectangle.  Finished width x height + 1/2" each direction
For the sky:  2 squares.  Finished height + 1/2"


For my 3"x 6" geese, I'm oversizing my fabric to 3 3/4" x 6 3/4" and 3 3/4" square.

Draw a diagonal line on the back of the each of the two squares.  (I use Pilot Frixion pens.  The ink disappears when ironed!)


Lay one square on the rectangle RST, aligned to one side, with the diagonal line running from the bottom corner to top center.


Stitch on the line.  Trim the corner with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the corner open.  Repeat on the opposite side of the rectangle. 

I trim my geese using a Loc-Bloc ruler, made specifically for this purpose.  This ruler has grooves on the backside that nest with the seams and keep the ruler in perfect alignment.  (A traditional ruler can be used as well, but it takes a little more care to place just right and keep the ruler from slipping.)



One at a time using a flying geese ruler.

If trimming off those corners all having little triangle scraps makes you cringe, there are also rulers with markings for cutting standard sizes of geese.  This method cuts multiple geese and sky pieces from strips measuring the height of the block + 1/2".  Assembly is essentially the same,  but instead of stitching on a diagonal line, you're sewing a standard 1/4" seam.




It is harder (but not impossible) to oversize the blocks with this method but I find my geese still can turn out a little wonky if I don't.

Four at a time, no waste method.

This is my favorite way to make multiple identical geese.  BUT each goose will be facing a different way - so if a fabric has a clear direction (and you care) this is not the way to go.  It's also possible to mix things up a bit, by substituting in different fabrics for the sky squares.

For the goose:  1 square.  Finished width + 1 1/4"
For the sky:  4 squares.  Finished height + 7/8"
NOTE:  These are minimum dimensions.  I recommend adding 1/4" - 1/2" to each to allow for trimming.
For my 3 x 6 geese, I used a 7 3/4" square for the goose and 4 1/4" squares for the sky.

Draw a diagonal line on the back of each of the small squares.  Align two small squares corner to corner as shown.  (I've found that I don't need to pin.)

Stitch 1/4" to either side of the line.  Cut on the line.

Press open.

Align a third square to the remaining full corner with the diagonal line starting in the the corner.

Stitch 1/4" to either side of the line.  Cut apart on the line.  Press open. Repeat for the second half.



Trim as needed.


Tip:  If sewing geese together tip-to-tail, keep the tip portion facing up; as you sew, the new seam line should pass exactly through the intersection of the diagonal seams.


Paper piecing.

Paper piecing can be used to piece multiple geese together in a row and get those perfect points.  It works for both scrappy geese and identical.  I will confess, this is my least favorite method for traditional sized geese.  I find the stitch, trim, flip, press, repeat a bit slow and tedious not to mention the mess of removing the paper.  However, it works great for wonky geese or any that don't rely on 45 degree angles and are stretched either tall or wide.

There are many good paper-piecing instructions out there, so I won't go into detail.  But start at the bottom with piece one, and add fabrics sequentially.  Align right side together as normal,  stitch on the line.  Fold back the paper at the stitch line to trim to a 1/4" seam.  Fold back flat.  Flip the fabric open, press.  Repeat until the last piece and square everything up.  I used my flying geese ruler to cut my starting pieces one size bigger.



Take care to always test-flip to make sure the the fabric covers the template. I will also hold my pattern up to a window to help with alignments.   Even, so it's easy to be off - you'll see where I missed with the sky on the left hand side. 





Like I mentioned, I don't necessarily like paper-piecing geese, but you can download my template for four 3x6 geese here.  Print with no scaling on a legal sized sheet (8 1/2" x 14") or larger.

And here's my finished flock to start off the month:

Do you have a favorite method to make geese?  And do you know of another way not listed here? Please share!



linking this post up to wip wednesday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

in progress.  crazy HSTs.  with help from my bee mates at do. good stitches.  now I need to hurry up and finish this before my month comes up again!

linking up to wip wednesday.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


paper pieced hearts.  a little fun for valentine's day.

I tried out a few different options.   I think I like the pink one better.  It has one less piece and came together a little quicker, although the overall shapes are identical.  (Don't mind the "wings" on the red one - they're in the seam allowance!)
Both paper piecing patterns, in two sizes, can be downloaded here:

Red Heart 4"
Red Heart 6" 

Pink Heart 4"
Pink Heart 6"

Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2015

My version of a rebel flock quilt.  Rebel HSTs.  80 total, with six deviants.  Surrounded with two shades of navy.  Quilted in an overall uneven grid.  Mostly navy thread with a few lines of light grey.

The back is primarily Priory Square with a bit of Architextures Crosshatch in Poppy.

Linking up with finish it up Friday!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

HST overload.  Oh, how I love my Bloc-Loc ruler!

I also love Priory Square by Katy Jones.  It's the perfect bold and splashy backing for what will otherwise be a very reserved quilt.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I have winners to announce!  I'll keep this short and sweet....for the two rainbow spots and dots bundles, random picks are:

sandyandcosmo who wrote:
"I love tiny, crisp white dots on a deep navy background. Reminds me of stars in the sky or snow falling."

and Karen who wrote:
"Love this giveaway. Just something about dots. Thanks for hosting"

And the winner of the $25 gift certificate is:
SeeMaryQuilt who wrote:  "I love Lizzy House! Thanks for the chance!"
Congratulations!  I will be sending emails off to you shortly.

A big thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by and share your favorites!

Friday, December 12, 2014

some mindless yet practical sewing.

My house is old.  Like over a century old.  And with all that charm and character comes drafty windows.

I sat down at my machine the other night and started sewing random scraps together that had been left the sewing table..  Not long after - ta da!  One draft snake was complete.  A big improvement over the dish towels I normally use!

I didn't over think what pieces I was picking up so this went together quickly.  I trimmed it down to 6 1/2" x the length of my window + 1/2", folded in half right-sides-together with a lining and stitched all around, leaving a gap at a short end.  Turn, fill, stitch the gap closed, and done.  For the filling I used crushed walnut shells, but any small scale fill with a bit of weight will work. (rice, beans, buckwheat, etc.)

Google eyes optional.