A Tale of Two Tools- Flying Geese

In my last post I talked about progress on my Modern Medallion project, which is constructed in what I would call a round robin formation. Essentially, instead of making blocks that are then arranged in a pleasing order and sewn together, a center is created first and borders added until the desired size is reached.  One of the borders of the Modern Medallion is made of a formation of wonky flying geese.

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Click on the pic above for more info about this project

I already talked about how I made these flying geese in the other post, so why am I revisiting this now?  Education.  The more you know, the better you do, and I know I am grateful for all I have been taught.  It makes me want to share what I know because knowledge is power, and I believe we are made to be powerful.

 Options . . .

In my collection of rulers I have three that are designed for flying geese.  All three of the rulers use a method that creates 4 geese at once.  Two of the three are by the same designer and work the same way, they just make different sized geese, so I actually only have two different tools.  To many of you, that may still seem a little extreme, because how many different ways do you need to make flying geese?  Actually, I find that having both is pretty handy, and I want to share with you why.

Both tools make 4 geese by beginning with one large square, which becomes the four “geese”, and four small squares, which becomes the background.  With this method, the four geese are always the same fabric, but the background can vary as desired.  (If you use four small squares of the same fabric, the backgrounds will all be the same, if you use different fabrics for the small squares, the backgrounds will be different.

FGX4_large2Above is the ruler that I used to make my flying geese for the Modern Medallion, “Flying Geese x 4″ by Lazy Girl Designs.  The geese I needed for the pattern were not a standard size, and I wanted mine to be a little crazy anyway, so I made the geese larger than needed by following the directions on the ruler and then trimmed them to the desired size.  You can see more about how I did this by clicking here.

What I like about this ruler is that you don’t have to really do much math.  The ruler has a sort of template printed on it as pictured below-

FGX4_large22Simply select one of the 12 desired finished sizes (the size the geese will be when sewn into a quilt top), then find the coordinating letter for the large and small squares on the ruler.  Using the ruler as a template, cut out 1 large square for every 4 small squares, then follow the instructions on the booklet that comes with the ruler for proper layout, sewing and cutting.  The advantage to this ruler is scraps.  You can easily cut squares from scraps using the ruler as a template, rather than strip cutting copious amounts of the same fabrics.  Technically, you don’t need the ruler to cut the right size squares, but it is VERY handy when dealing with scraps.

Here’s honesty in quilting and blogging.   I have always stunk at using this ruler.  Until I made wonky, crazy, ornery geese with it.  I finally figured out why I couldn’t get accuracy.  Are you familiar with the term “scant 1/4″?  Well, when you use this ruler, get unfamiliar with it.  Quick.  The cuts are precise, and the 1/4″ seam used to sew them together needs to be as well, or it just won’t come out to the correct size.  It’s just that simple.

So, what if you are okay with cutting strips for your geese and backgrounds (so you don’t need the template), and maybe you’re 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t quite 100% accurate?  What then?  How about these babies-

The “Wing Clipper” and “Wing Clipper II” are by Deb Tucker of Studio 180.  If you want more info about this designer and how to order products, click here.  The “Wing Clipper” and “Wing Clipper II” use the same technique as “Flying Geese x 4″ in that 4 flying geese are created at once using one large square and four small squares.  But that’s where the similarities end.  Between these rulers, there are 19 sizes of flying geese that can be made.  Rather than using the ruler as a template for cutting the squares needed to make the geese, the measurement requirements for the large and small geese are given in a chart in the booklet that accompanies the rulers.  While some of the finished sizes of geese created by these rulers are the same as the ones created by “Flying Geese x 4″, the size of the large and small squares is not the same.  The “Wing Clipper” rulers give directions for cutting larger than necessary squares so that when the 4 flying geese units are created, they can be trimmed to accurate sizes.  The rulers themselves have markings to line up the angles on the geese so that trimming is accurate, and you are left with perfect flying geese and a pile of goose droppings.  (I hope you giggled.  It made me giggle.)

So, if your 1/4″ seam has a tendency to be a little skinny or a little chubby, the “Wing Clipper” rulers can still help you to make accurate flying geese.

In Conclusion . . .

This feels like the longest blog post ever.  Probably because I’ve been trying to write it between driving missionaries around town, getting my girls ready for Youth Conference, going to a funeral, getting shopping done and preparing to teach a class tomorrow.  But alas, it was all worth it if you feel like you learned a little something.  So, please do leave a comment and let me know if this was helpful!  (Please be honest, but also be kind.  Thank you.)


Air Traffic- Modern Medallion QAL

I don’t know the history of flying geese as a quilting pattern, but I know it’s been around longer than I have.  I love that quilt blocks have such long lives, even if they are reinvented and reinterpreted time and time again.  Kind of like music or DNA- it really is all composed of the same finite number of building blocks, yet the possibilities are endless.

ModernMedallionbuttonLast week I was at our church’s Girls’ Camp, so while I did a lot of walking, talking and laughing, I didn’t get much sewing done.  That puts me a little behind on my Modern Medallion quilt, so I’ve just gotten caught up on border 1 and 2.  If you look at the pic above you’ll see a row of flying geese, which is border 2.  Those geese are intended to be a bit wonky, although honestly, as the pattern goes, they weren’t quite wonky enough for me.  I was going for something a little more like this:

2014-06-16 11.11.10Rather than neat little rows of flying geese, mine look a little more like a traffic jam.  They are running into each other, vying for a better spot in the line up.  Reminds me of a horse race rather than an obedient formation of Canadian geese.

In order for me to get the geese I desired, I read the directions in the pattern, and then immediately disobeyed them.  I’m just that kind of quilter.  I knew that I wanted to make my geese larger than the required size, then cut them down to 2″ x 3 1/2″.  I also knew that 80 geese would take a while to make, and I am a little short on time these days, so I wanted a faster method.  While there are a few different methods out there for making flying geese, I wanted to share with you the one I chose to use for this project.

This is where I admit to my addictions.  Hello, my name is Angela and I am a ruler hoarder.  I love rulers.  In fact, I have three different rulers that make flying geese.  Yes, three.  If there are more out there, I will probably buy them.  It’s just reality.

For this project I used “Flying Geese x 4″ by Lazy Girl Designs, and you can click here for more information on this product.  This method makes 4 flying geese at once, and I happen to like those kinds of numbers.  Here’s the basics on how it works:

2014-06-16 08.59.46First, decide what size geese you want.  The disadvantage to using this kind of ruler for this is that there are only so many sizes that can be made from the template on the ruler, and the required 2″ x 3 1/2″ geese for Modern Medallion is not one of them.  In this case, that’s perfectly fine, because I didn’t want exact geese, I want wonky.  So, I chose a larger size that I can trim down.  Begin by using the ruler as a template to cut 1 large square.  This square will be the “geese” part of the block, and remember this method makes 4 at a time, so all 4 geese will be grey.

2014-06-16 09.10.24Next, cut 4 small background squares using the ruler markings that correspond to the larger square.  (Cut 1 large A square and 4 small A squares.)  Truth be told, you don’t need the ruler to cut large numbers of squares.  You can do that with a regular ruler and simply cut strips and squares as needed.  The advantage of using this ruler comes when you really want things to get scrappy.

2014-06-16 09.14.34See?  I had a leftover from the New York beauty portion of this project, and instead of working around a larger ruler, I just lined up the template marks on the “Flying Geese x 4″ ruler and voila- my scraps became stars.  Well, actually just background, but stars sounds better.

Next, draw diagonal lines on the back of each small square, and then line 2 of them up on the larger square like so:

2014-06-16 09.20.01Sew along each side of the center drawn line, using 1/4″ seam.  This should be familiar to you if you’ve made half square triangles before.  Next, use a rotary cutter to cut on the drawn line.  This will leave you with two pieces that look like this:

2014-06-16 09.20.31Take these to the pressing station and press open.  I have a tendency to press away from my geese, in this case, away from the dark, but it really doesn’t matter.  It is personal preference, so try it different ways to see what you like best and gets your desired result.  After pressing, these two look like two hearts.

2014-06-16 09.21.55If your pieces look like above, you are on your way.  Just keep going!  Now, take the remaining 2 small squares and line them up like so:

2014-06-16 09.24.58If you followed directions earlier, those two small squares should already have a drawn diagonal line on them.  The drawn diagonal line should be lined up down the center of the “heart”, not horizontal across the “heart”.  Now, sew a seam 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line on each small square, again similar to HST.  When sewing is complete, use a rotary cutter to cut on the drawn line, like this:

2014-06-16 09.25.30I think it’s funny that my feet almost made it into this shot.  Squirrel.  Okay, back on task.  Take these units to the pressing station and press the geese open, seams in the same direction as was done earlier.  This is what you will have when you are done:

2014-06-16 09.27.03Four flying geese.  Now these are much larger than what I wanted for my Modern Medallion, so I trimmed them down to the size I needed and then followed the rest of the directions in the pattern for a continuous border.

The irony of the situation is that honestly, I’ve never had really good results using this ruler to make flying geese.  My accuracy has been crap almost every time I have used it.  But not this time.  In the process of using this method to make wonky flying geese, I finally figured out how to use this ruler and method to make accurate geese.  Who knew.  Want to know the secret?  I will reveal it in another post- one that compares this method and ruler to another one made by Deb Tucker.  Pretty good stuff.

In the meantime, you may admire the progress on my Modern Medallion.  I think I might name it Early Riser.  We’ll see.

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Modern Quilting- A Little Like Picaso-


Three Musicians by Pablo Picaso, 1921. Image from spreadlove.com

Pablo Picaso.  He’s been on my mind a bit the last couple of days.  I’m sure you’re familiar enough with his work to easily believe that the above image is one of his works.  But, would you recognize the following also as being one of his?


The Communion by Pablo Picasso, 1895-96. Image from abcgallery.com

He painted that one when he was fifteen.  Please tell me you are “wowed” by that.  Both of them.

So, what does Picaso have to do with modern quilting?  A lot, if you ask me.  For instance, I’ve been quilting for over 21 years, and while I am not as skilled at quilting as Picaso was at classical painting, I know enough to get by.  Yet these days I often have weeks like this past one.  I start off working on something that looks like this…

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Shirts by Carolyn Friedlander. Click pic for link to my post about this project.

And then I shift over to something that looks like this…

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Modern Medallion by twolittleaussiebirds. Click pic for link to purchase this pattern.

Or vice versa.  Starting to get my point?  I love this about modern quilting.  It is just another interpretation of something that’s been done a certain way for an awfully long time.  Kinda like Picaso.

So, I’ve already posted about the All Shirts Swap on this blog, and technically, I’ve already posted about working on the center of the Modern Medallion Quilt Along, but just not on this blog.  Instead, I hijacked guest posted on Schnitzel & Boo about how Kristi and I put together our center blocks.  However, the pics posted there are her quilt, and of course, I want to show mine.

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Click on the pic for a link to my post on SchnitzelandBoo.com

This is such a fun quilt to make, and I am loving the processes involved so far.  I am also loving seeing how different quilters are interpreting the directions and design.  You’ll have to check out the post on both Two Little Aussie Birds and Schnitzel and Boo.  Both have loads of info about the quilt along, and a great kind of link-up party.  Enjoy!




Giving away the shirt off my back-

Well, not really, but it sounded like a good title!  Actually, I am swapping shirts, and trust me, they’ve never been on my back.  Okay, so it’s totally false advertising, but at least I’m not selling anything.

I first heard of the All Shirts Swap from a couple of friends on Facebook.  One of them posted a picture of the pattern, and I was immediately in love.

Click on pic for link to purchase pattern from Carolyn Friedlander

Click on pic for link to purchase pattern from Carolyn Friedlander

Then, just a few weeks after I saw the post, I met Lee of May Chappell at The Stash Bash, who just so happens to be the hostess for the All Shirts Swap 2.0.  Then it was all over- I was all in.


Pic borrowed from May Chappell website- click pic for link to more information about All Shirts Swap 2.0

These little shirts are bound to make a fantastic mini, so I have completed 9 shirts and they are headed to the post office today!  I can’t wait to see the 9 little shirts that will come back to me!  Hats off to Carolyn Friedlander for such a cute paper piece pattern, and now I am SO tempted to do another one of her patterns…


“Local” by Carolyn Friedlander- click on pic to order your copy!

Wanna see my shirts?  Here they are-

2014-06-06 07.40.322014-06-05 20.41.30 2014-06-05 20.41.58Awesome sauce.  I love me a good swap.



Another QAL- Nested Churn Dash from the fab Quiltjane!

I just can’t help it- I get sucked in so very easily.  Churn Dash.  Quilt along.  What’s the question?


The QAL started on June 1, with lots of great info for a fabric pull, as well as the link to purchase the downloadable pattern.  I love this idea because the pattern is really inexpensive, less than $2 USD, and as the QAL unfolds, you can sew along with friends.  The following is a schedule for the QAL-
June 1st – Requirements, fabric selections and layouts.
June 6th – Tips and hints for making the blocks.
June 9th – Carrie Nelson – http://lavieenrosie.typepad.com/lavieenrosie/
June 10th – Kim Niedzwiecki – http://www.gogokim.blogspot.com.au
June 11th – Pat Sloan – http://www.blog.patsloan.com
June 12th – Lissa Alexander – http://www.modalissa.blogspot.com
June 13th – FatQuarterShop - http://www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com.au
June 16th – Frances Newcombe – http://www.bellybuttonsboutique.blogspot.com
June 18th – Sherri McConnell – http://www.aquiltinglife.com
June 19th – Sara Lawson – http://www.sewsweetness.com
June 20th – Amy Smart – http://www.diaryofaquilter.com
June 21st – Katy Jones – http://www.imagingermonkey.blogspot.com
June 23th – Making a quilt using the Nested Churn Dash block.
June 30th – Finishing the quilt.
July 30th – Winners selected from the Flickr group.

Here’s my fabric pull for the Nested Churn Dash-

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I’m pretty excited about this.  The mix of modern brights with vintage lights has kind of a bohemian look to it, and I think its’ going to be pretty awesome.

Ready to join up?  Post your fabric pull and progress with the hashtag #nestedchurndash on Instagram, or join the Flickr group Want it, Need it, Quilt Gallery.

520 in 2014

I have a tendency to set crazy goals.  I do this for a reason.  They are often almost not attainable, and again, I do this for a reason.  I am competitive.  Not athletic, but competitive.  I want to make the goal, but if it is too easy, it is boring.  So I set my sights pretty high.  One of my goals is to do 520 hours of service in a year.  That’s 10 hours a week.  I’ve never come even close to meeting it, but I know I will one day.  Before I started this project, I was up to 106 hours.  Way behind schedule, but I’m working on it.

2014-05-23 10.46.33Before you think I am terribly altruistic, I must explain that I had some selfish motivations on this particular project.  I wanted something easy to work on for a minute because I get tired when working on big projects and I need a break.  Also, I wanted to test out a couple of things- machine quilting with a new walking foot, using basting spray instead of pins, piecing batting with a fusible tape and making bias binding with a ruler I bought a while back.  All worked out well, and I learned quite a bit.  I’ll expound on the techniques and tools in another post, but for now, here’s the finished quilt…

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Click the pic for more info on Project Linus

This quilt will be donated to a local chapter of Project Linus via the Relief Society at my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We have a goal of donating 200 blankets and/or quilts by the end of 2014, so I need to get crack-a-lackin’.

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For this sweet quilt, I used the Ziggy Baby pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew.  You can click here for a link to the website, which includes info about purchasing patterns.  I like that the site offers the pattern in both a paper and PDF form, so you can click and print for immediate satisfaction!  I also like that this pattern actually is two patterns, one for a chevron style quilt, and the other for a “step” quilt.  Two for the price of one is often a good thing.  Also, this particular quilt came as a kit that I purchased from one of my favorite local quilt shops- Intown Quilters.  You can click here for their website, and I think you will be glad you did!

Well that does it for this edition of 520 in 2014.  Oh, and this quilt took 24 hours from cut to bind, so I am up to 130 hours.  Still lagging a bit, but better than last year at this time-

Want to join me on my journey?  Post on Instagram with the hashtag #520in2014 and let’s see how you are spreading a little kindness in your part of the world!

Modern Medallion Quilt Along by Two Little Aussie Birds Begins!

ModernMedallionbuttonI’m really loving all of the opportunities for swaps and quilt alongs that are happening via the Internet these days.  It is so much fun to get to know designers and fellow sewists (someone finally explained to me why we say “sewist” now instead of “sewer”) all over the world.  Enter here, Two Little Aussie Birds, and you can click on the pic above to link to the blog and subsequent info on this fun quilt along project.

I am intrigued by the processes used in this pattern, and am pretty excited about using some of my favorite fabrics to make this one.  Like so many of you, I do have my “pets”, fabrics that I hoard even more than others, simply because the “right” project hasn’t come along yet.  In this case, I’m pulling out some of my Kaffe Fassett fabrics that I’ve been hanging onto for quite some time now.  Of course, there will be plenty of others mixed in, but that’s where I’m starting.

2014-05-31 20.27.28So, this is my fabric pull so far.  I’m pretty excited about it, although I recognize it will be quite different from the quilt pictured on the pattern, but I’m pretty sure that’s how this is supposed to work.  I wanted to actually stay away from any black because I am hoping for bright and cheery, and I believe I am on the way!


The first week, which involves creating the center of the quilt, is being hosted by Kristi McDonough of Schnitzel and Boo.  It just so happens that Kristi and I met at the Stash Bash just a little over a month ago, and for some crazy reason, we totally hit it off and have gotten to be pretty good friends.  We send each other snarky text messages and we get together from time to time to do everything from picking strawberries to sewing.  She even cooks for me occasionally, which I have to admit might be one of my favorite parts of our friendship!  So, I have actually gotten a little sneak peak at her Modern Medallion project, and it is pretty awesome!

Would you like to join up?  You can buy the pattern by clicking here.  There is a lovely introduction on the blog, which you can access by clicking the Modern Medallion photo above.  On the blog, you can use a linky tool to link your own blog to Two Little Aussie Birds, which is new for me, so I can’t see how it works!  Also, on Instagram you can use the hashtag #modernmedallion to post your own progress on the project as well as take a peak at how others are interpreting this pattern, which I can’t wait to see!

And here’s the schedule…

Week one: Schnitzel & Boo
Friday 6 June – Medallion Center
Week two: Ms Midge
Friday 13 June – Borders 1 & 2
Week three: KateQuilts
Friday 20 June – Border 3
Week four: Little Mushroom Cap
Friday 27 June – Borders 4 & 5
Week five: GnomeAngel
Friday 4 June – borders 6 & 7
Week six: Two Little Aussie Birds
Friday 11 June – Finishing up
Have fun and enjoy!