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.

2014-06-18 09.43.42

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.)

5 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tools- Flying Geese

  1. Thank you so much! I am always happy to hear about tools because it’s impossible to buy all the rulers just for the sake of trying them out and besides they do cost money too. So I love to hear about experiences other quilters have made with their tools and I often follow the recommendations. The tools I have bought up to now are perfect and as I don’t have any flying geese ruler yet……! Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m glad it was helpful to you! I’m not a big “gadget” person when it comes to quilting, but I just simply can’t resist rulers. Bad for my budget, but good for my habit, and for sharing a little info with others. It’s not that I recommend one more than another, it’s just that I think it’s important to understand the difference so that you buy what will really work for you. Thanks for your comment, and I hope to “see” you again! Angela

  2. Are you going to continue working on the medaillon? I mean I know that grey is such a “modern” colour, but I always feel a bit sad about colourful beauties enclosed in grey … but that’s just my personal opinion and I know not everyone agrees with me – but as I hate “I love it” comments I sometimes step on toes with questions of “why did you do it that way and not that way” “wouldn’t it have been …” “did you consider …”

    There are too many rulers out there – and if I don’t use my math for quilting, I will hate school even more, that way all those years of torture were at least good for something

    • Oh how I loved this comment! You are awesome.

      Yes, I am going to continue the Modern Medallion, but I am traveling a bit right now and am a little behind. I will get caught up in a few weeks. Agreed, sometimes the grey is not quite the right option, and sometimes it is. I’m not married to anything when it comes to quilting, except for quilting itself. I have to be honest, part of why I like this project is that I actually don’t really know what’s going to happen next. I’m not planning, I’m just flowing. So, we shall see what the next borders shall bring…

      Agreed about rulers, which you would think would cause me to have an aversion to them, but instead it just fuels my obsession. I have a love/hate relationship with math- I hate it until I understand it, then I love it. I’ve found that using all of these crazy rulers has actually helped me have a better grasp on the math, and in turn I can better explain it to others. Then if I am working with someone who “gets” the math part, I can tell them they don’t need the ruler, and if I am working with someone that struggles with math, I can recommend the proper ruler.

      Thanks so much for your comment- I really loved hearing what you had to say. I hope that you and others will not hold back, and yet be kind! 🙂


      • Ohh I love quality replies (not just the “Thanks for your visit” but I guess that comes with leaving more then “I love it” comments).

        Well I always was on good terms with geometry – I did not agree so mutch with curve sketchign and statistics. And I think I’m still cursing the day when we were informed that we would be the first year not to be allwoed to choose between basic and advanced mathematics … basic was cancelled in our State …

        But then knowing how to do something and doing something a two pair of shoes – it is easier to just use a ruler than to sit down and I don’t know figure out the hight of a diamond shape so you can cut it from a strip. So if I wouldn’t spent so much on fabric I probably would buy more rulers … And I do like flying geese …

        And I too agree that in order to explain something to someone else you need to know your stuff better than for just meddlign along in your tiny corner …

        Well I always try to be kind – but there are always to sides I mean you could have taken personal artistic offence in me asking you not to stop with grey …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s