I’m back with Week 4 of the Arrow Stone QAL, and we’re changing up the schedule a bit. Originally I had quarter-square triangles in the lesson plan, but we’re going to make flying geese this week! Since that’s the next step in the pattern, logically that’s what I’ve been working on (because I don’t even look at my own schedule)! I’ve heard from a few of you that flying geese have been your “mountain to climb”. We’re going to take it one step at a time and you’ll be conquering that mountain with ease! Again, even if you’re not participating, you’ll find some great tips here. Let’s climb!
If you’re just now joining us, all of the past content for the Arrow Stone QAL can be found below:
- Introduction Post
- Week 1 – Choose fabric
- Week 2 – Cutting and organizing fabric
- Week 3 – Making HST’s and piecing tips
This week we are going to make flying geese units (FG’s). There are several ways of constructing these units and my favorite is the 4-at-a-time technique. If you’ve never made them this way, I guarantee you will become a fan. However, no matter what technique I use for FG, they’re always prone to turn out just a bit wonky. The solution for that is to make them oversized and then trim them down to perfection. So, we’re going to make them oversized and 4-at-a-time!
Flying Geese Tips
There always seems to be room for error no matter how hard we try. Fabric, thread, sewing machine, lighting, even the pins we use, can all affect our quilting. Throw in not-enough-sleep, diagonal seams, bias edges and not enough (or too much) coffee, and things start to go downhill. Today, I have some simple tips to combat those negatives and help you perfect the art of making flying geese.
Slow Down. This might be the root of all evils in my own quilting experience. I’m always in a hurry because I have so many projects in the que! Take a deep breath and allow yourself time to focus. This usually keeps the seam ripper quiet, too!
Draw diagonal lines accurately. Even though I have Diagonal Seam Tape and a laser beam guide (built into my machine), I still like to draw a diagonal line on the small squares of the flying geese. Make sure to draw the line exactly from corner to corner. This is your 1/4″ stitching guide. If you don’t have a 1/4″ presser foot or you would rather stitch directly on a line, you could also draw your 1/4″ stitching lines. There are rulers made specifically for that. They have a center line and measure 1/4″ on each side of that. Shown below is the Quilter’s Magic Wand Ruler, but any quilting ruler with 1/4″ markings will work.
Align pieces exactly before sewing then pin in place. This is where the right pin comes in handy. I like my pins thin and sharp so they don’t distort the fabric. I use Clover Fine Patchwork Pins for all of my piecing.
Stitch with precision. Turn down the speed and you’ll be able to sew a straight line. Watch the beginning and ending of your stitching line. That’s where I see the most wobble take place.
Press gently. The seams of flying geese units are on a diagonal. Bias edges are easy to distort. If you jam your iron into the seam, it can take it out alignment and create an arc. I use my fingers to flatten the seam in front of the iron.
Pick your trimming ruler.
- I love my Bloc Loc Flying Geese Ruler for trimming FG. There is no guessing at what to line up and where. I just nudge it into place so that it locks into both seams and then I trim! It is my go-to ruler for FG. (See tip farther down). The only drawback is that it requires a different ruler for different sizes which can get pricey. But I think it’s worth it. You might be the lucky winner of your own Bloc Loc Flying Geese Ruler if you post a picture of your FG on Instagram! (Read the Sponsor section).
- Another ruler option is the Wing Clipper 1 Tool by Studio 180 Designs. The advantage of this ruler is that it trims 10 different sizes of FG in one tool.
- Use a square ruler. Don’t fret if you don’t have a “fancy” ruler. A square ruler can be just as effective. Step 1: Make sure the “V” seam is at the 1/4″ line of the ruler and at the center measurement for the size you’re trimming to (1 3/4″ in this case). Also make sure the bottom diagonal seams are lined up with the cut measurements for the size you’re trimming to ( 2″ and 3 1/2″) for this block. Step 2: Rotate the block and place the previously cut edges on the size you’re trimming to. The diagonal line of the ruler should line up with the diagonal seam of the FG.
Trim carefully. Know the size you need to trim to. Make sure everything is lined up where it needs to be. Measure twice, cut once!
A tip if you’re using the Bloc Loc ruler: Position the FG unit and ruler so that the “V” is at the bottom, then trim the right side and top edge (if you’re right handed). Then rotate and trim the other two side. Whenever I start with the “V” at the top, I end up pushing too hard into the seam allowance and it skews my cut just a bit. The other way works much better for me.
Try a small rotary cutter (28 mm) for cutting small units. I find this helps with my accuracy.
When your HST units, FG units, and QST units are all exact, the final block will be much easier to put together. The units will fit together, the diagonal seams will line up and the block will measure the correct size. Happy dance!
For a deeper dive, check out my original blog post, Two Methods for Oversized Flying Geese, that includes a PDF chart of cutting dimensions for 16 different sizes of flying geese units.
Week 4 Sponsors & Prizes
There are two prizes this week! The first prize is a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop! The second prize is a Bloc Loc Flying Geese Ruler from Bloc Loc! Thank you to both sponsors for your support!
- Post a photo of your Flying Geese units on Instagram using the hashtag #arrowstoneqal
- Deadline is Saturday, March 28, at midnight (PST).
- Your Instagram account must be public (otherwise I won’t be able to see it).
- Giveaway is open to all.
Week 3 Winner
The winner of the Gift Certificate to Plain Janes & Co. Quilt Shop is MaryJo Shuler @mdwviewqltr.
The winner of the Bladesaver Thread Cutter from Purple Hobbies is Chris Behme @chrisknitz.
Congratulations to both winners!
If you didn’t receive my direct message, please send me an email so I can get you your prize!
I love seeing your progress on Instagram. Leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll answer you here and in a separate email. Have a great week!