Quilt Math: No Waste Flying Geese
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
I'm working on a quilt that has twenty of the above star quilt blocks, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about flying geese. But first let's breakdown the star block. This is a 12 inch block. There's one big 6 inch finished square block in the center. It's surrounded by four flying geese blocks (3 by 6 finished size). And there's a 3 by 3 inch square in each corner. The most complicated part of this block is the flying geese pieces. Let's chat about those.
The four flying geese are 3 by 6 inch finished rectangles, or 3.5 by 6.5 unfinished rectangles. Remember that the extra half inch in the unfinished rectangles is the seam allowance. Understanding the difference between "finished" and "unfinished" is often important when calculating how much fabric we need.
This is the no waste method to make these flying geese. You're going to need five squares of fabric. One big piece for the background, ie the big triangle piece, and four smaller squares for the wings, ie the small triangles. These five pieces of fabric will make four flying geese blocks.
Here comes the math... First you need to know the finished size of block you need. (Note: I said FINISHED size.) In my case, I need my finished rectangle to be 3 (height) by 6 (width) inches. For the big square, take the big number (the width) and add an inch and a quarter (1.25).
6 + 1.25 = 7.25 - Cut one block at 7.25 inches square. (Below you'll see a practice round.)
(please note in all these pictures, the fabric is moved over an inch.)
For the four small squares, take the small number (the height) and add 7/8ths inch.
3 + 7/8 = 3 7/8
Next you're going to draw three diagonal lines on fabric back; one down the diagonal center, and then a quarter inch on either side of the center line. (see below)
Now that all your small blocks have lines, set two of them aside and grab your big block. Put the two smaller blocks on top on the big block (fronts facing each each) like the picture below. All the drawn diagonal lines should line up.
Pin the blocks down if you need to; or use a dab of fabric glue to hold them in place. Take this to the sewing machine and sew on the two outside lines. Do not sew on the middle line. Once you're finished, you'll use that middle line as the cutting line. Cut, and separate the two triangles. It should look like this:
Press the small triangles open. You'll have two pieces that look like this:
Next take another small square and set it on top of the big triangle like below:
Pin or glue in place. And just as before, stitch the two outside lines, then cut and separate on the center line. Do this step with the other half as well.
And you're done! You should have four flying geese.
And now I better get back to my star block quilt. I'll see you next time with more quilt math!