Follow along and learn how to make nine different quilt blocks.
Ready to learn some new quilting techniques? Ready to have a whole lot of fun? You’re in the right place! We’re super excited to introduce the Carolina Sunset block of the month sampler series. Follow along each month as we teach you a new quilting technique using a variety of Omnigrid rulers. We’ll feature nine different block patterns – one per month – for the next nine months. First up is this modern flying geese pattern. Ready?
We’re excited to introduce you to Lara Whiting, who is the quilter behind our block of the month series. Lara is going to be teaching you how to make 9 different quilting blocks, which you can use in any combination to make a 9-block quilt. This month’s block kicks off the series, and will teach you how to make a modern flying geese block pattern.
First let’s talk about the color palette for your quilt. After much consideration, I settled on the Carolina sunset color palette that you may remember from the options I showed last month. I picked this one because it offered a substantial mix of warm and cool colors for ample contrast. I think the variety of colors will help show off a variety of block designs in a bold way.
The fabrics I chose are a glorious mix of batiks – they’re my absolute favorite fabrics to work with. Almost 99% of the time both sides are pretty. The weave is tighter and results in less fraying. I’ve also noticed that the designs are frequently inspired by botanical elements – a big plus for this nature loving girl.
If you’ve never participated in a block of the month (BOM) project, here’s some information you might find helpful. First off, know that you can do as many or as few blocks as you like. The above sketch is a general outline of the blocks that I’ll feature over the course of the next nine months, starting with this month’s block in the top left corner (flying geese).
I like to think of BOM as the sampler appetizer on the menu – it’s a little of everything. You can stop and resume whenever it’s convenient for you. Below are the fabric requirements to make all 9 blocks (1 block per month). You can follow along and make each block as I do from your actual fabrics, or you can use scrap fabrics simply to hone your skills. You can skip certain blocks and make multiples of others – it’s really up to you.
Here are the fabric requirements to make all 9 blocks (1 block per month):
- White: 2 yards
- Dark blue: 1 yard
- Medium blue: 1 yard
- Coral: 1 yard
- Yellow: 1 yard
This month’s block focuses on making flying geese, a classic quilt block element that’s been around for YEARS. Typically, the length of a flying goose block is twice as long as it is tall. The large triangle in middle is referred to as the goose body, and the two smaller triangles on the outside are the sky.
While sketching out different layouts and switching up locations of certain colors, several different patterns emerged. I began to notice how the background/sky part of the block is just as important as the focal fabric/goose body. In other words: careful color placement can create interesting secondary patterns. I consider a secondary pattern to be a design element that you were not originally intending to create, but it’s a pleasing addition to the main attraction. Careful color selection and fabric placement play a big role in creating that secondary pattern.
Let’s get started!
- Sewing machine
- 50wt cotton thread to match fabric ( I suggest a neutral shade)
- Iron and pressing surface
- Seam allowance = ¼”
WOF = Width of Fabric
Using the 6” x 24” ruler, cut a 3.5” x WOF strip from each fabric. Then sub-cut the following pieces:
- 2 pcs: 3.5” x 6.5” rectangle
- 2 pcs: 3.5” x 6.5” rectangle
- 4 pcs: 3.5” square
- 4 pcs: 3.5”x 6.5” rectangle
- 8 pcs: 3.5” square
- 4 pcs: 3.5” square
Save leftover bits of each strip for the following month’s blocks.
Group your flying geese parts in the above combinations. You will need two of each combination, with two sky pieces (3.5” squares) per each goose body (rectangle).
UNIT A: Dark Blue rectangle with Gold squares
UNIT B: Gold rectangle with Coral squares
UNIT C: Medium Blue rectangle with White square on left and Coral square on right
UNIT D: Medium Blue rectangle with Coral square on left and White square on right
The point of large triangle will be referred to as the TOP of flying goose block, and the opposite side as the BOTTOM of flying goose block.
Draw diagonal lines on the backside of each 3.5” square.
Pair with the designated rectangle (goose body) and stitch directly on the marked line. Before stitching, make sure the outside corners of your square sky piece are aligned with the right side corners of goose body. The corners must stay matched up to ensure proper proportions.
When making flying geese I prefer to start by adding the right sky piece first and start stitching at what will be the point or top of flying goose body.
After you’ve stitched the right sky piece to your geese bodies, you’ll need to trim off excess fabric. Place a ruler over the seam, aligning the edge of ruler ¼” away from outside edge of seam. Cut along edge of ruler so you have ¼’’ of fabric to right side of seam. Repeat this process with the other geese and sky combinations. The 2.5” x 8” ruler is the perfect size for drawing short diagonal lines and trimming off excess fabric.
Flip the sky fabric away from goose body. Gently open the seams and press.
Save all your triangle trimmings from these flying geese, they just might be useful for a future block.
Once the right sky piece is stitched, trimmed, and pressed open; you can add the left sky piece to the unit. Remember to keep corners of fabric aligned with one another so your flying goose has proper proportions. When both sky pieces are added to the goose body, the unit should measure 3.5” x 6.5”.
Once I get a few geese stitched together, I like to start laying them out in the correct positions. A little motivation to keep me going and see how all the parts come together.
It also helps ensure I put each fabric in the correct spot. I find this particularly helpful when making the flying geese with the opposite color sky pieces.
It may require a little extra thinking, but this is the careful consideration of color that makes the coveted secondary pattern.
After making each flying goose to match the color diagrams, you can begin to stitch the units to one another.
With right sides together, align the bottom of UNIT B with the top of UNIT A. Pin in middle to secure.
Stitch a ¼’’ seam and repeat for the other A/B units.
By arranging UNITS A and B this way, you’ll create a column of vertically flying geese through the middle of block and also the gold chevron pattern.
Once the A/B units are stitched to each other, lay them out so the gold chevron is pointing up.
One unit D will be stitched to the right side of each A/B unit.
One unit C will be stitched to the left side of each A/B unit.
Press each seam open after stitching. You should now have two pieces left, each measuring 12.5” x 6.5”.
Rotate top half so images mirror each other.
The coral sky pieces of units C and D will match up to create one large triangle.
The white sky pieces of units C and D will be on the four corners of your block.
The points of medium blue geese will be “flying out” and away from center column.
The final seam!
With right sides together, align the two remaining pieces over each other so that the top points of gold geese match up.
Carefully pin the other seams so that they stay matched up while stitching.
When stitching, I remove the pin right before my needle gets to that point and double check that seams are still opened. I hate when the fabric gets folded up and create lumps in all the wrong places.
I like to backstitch at the beginning and end of this seam – it’s the first of nine blocks and I don’t want those seams unraveling.
Press this last seam open and admire your work – your first block is now complete!
Come back next month to try the second block, which I describe as rays or waves with sashing.