Tuesday, August 13, 2013

About Flying Geese and HSTs - a tip for Tuesday

Flying Geese

I have long loved quilts with lots of flying geese but I am (was) terrible at making them. They end up too small and wonky.

So on my list for this summer break was to learn to make them better. The other night, I started my journey and put my progress up on instagram. I tried different things. Many folks have provided ideas and suggestions, you can read them here, just click on the pictures of different flying geese.

Flying Geese

I skipped the method where you cut the triangles and sew those bias cut edges together as I knew it would not work well for me and I hate cutting little triangles. So for both blue examples, above,  I tried the method, where you put two squares on a rectangle, draw a line corner to corner on the triangle and then trim and press. There are many tutorials, the Quilter's Cache one - which I used to refresh - is here.

They are too small and the edges are not aligned well. Some of that can be fixed when you join the geese together, but not all of it.

Flying Geese

Then I tried the "no waste method" (again, I used the Quilter's Cache tutorial here but there are many more available). Again, they look good but are not really perfect, even after trimming - both the orange picture above and the one following are the "no waste" method.

Flying Geese

So I googled flying geese and also caught up a bit with my blog reading. Last week, Rita at Red Pepper Quilts did an excellent post about the Bloc Loc ruler for flying geese here. I went to the Bloc Loc website and they have videos (go here to watch (the hst video is at the top, the flying geese video is down the page a bit, both these videos are truly worth the time, I'll wait) and a lot of rulers.

Other folks mentioned the Quilt in a Day Ruler, so I watched a video about it too by the Missouri Star Quilt Co. - go here. This ruler uses a unique system of building your geese and you get 4 geese for each set of fabrics.

Flying Geese

And then yesterday I went to the local quilt shops here and at one I found both Bloc Loc Rulers - both flying geese and half square triangles - and Quilt in a Day Rulers. I bought both the sizes they had of the flying geese Bloc Loc Rulers and the smaller size Quilt in a Day Ruler, as together they give me a lot of size options.

Flying Geese

Here is the result from the Bloc Loc Flying Geese ruler. The geese are perfectly sized because you make them 1/4" larger than you need and trim with the ruler. The ruler has a groove in it so that it hugs the sides of the goose and does not slip about, so trimming is fast and easy. I love it.

Flying Geese

Here are the geese I made in one hour using the Quilt in a Day Ruler - 28 of them. Since I knew this method had a number of steps, I decided to make a bunch at once so I could chain piece them. This ruler was harder to hold - I need to get that grippy stuff to put on it - but it also really makes the process simple and accurate. This is also an excellent method and ruler.

Half Square Triangles

And now the bonus. This morning I tried out the Bloc Loc HST ruler. This ruler is fantastic!

I make a lot of hsts and always cringe about the trimming. It is tricky to keep a regular ruler lined up on the seam, and trim. This Bloc Loc ruler holds itself on the seam so your trimming is accurate and fast.

So my tip for Tuesday is that sometimes there is a point in investing in the fancy rulers. I am ordering more.

I know you can get the Bloc Loc rulers  at Sew Lux Fabrics. The Fat Quarter Shop and Sew Sisters have the Quilt in a Day rulers, which I expect are easier to find as they appear to have been around longer. You can also check for them at many of your local quilt shops and several other on line shops too. You can also order Bloc Loc rulers directly from the company too.

Two last things, none of the folks mentioned in this post asked me to write it or offered me products or other benefits for doing so.  I do recommend both these flying geese rulers, depending on your preference of making method, and I wholeheartedly adore the hst ruler.

Second, I am going to be making more flying geese, you might have noticed that these experimental pieces are all from the bundle of Lush Uptown fabrics that arrived last week. It is my hope to make a bunch more of different sizes, add a variety of neutrals and have a quilt. I may try a few more methods too as I go, I will keep you posted.