Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flying Geese Ruler

I just HAVE to back away from Washington and network news for a while. Like War, it's "not good for children and other living things."

So, instead I shall focus on quilting for the time being. And what better than to demonstrate a favorite tool.

TOOL U(niversity)
This is the Flying Geese Ruler, a wonderful acrylic ruler to have in your arsenal of quilting gadgets. Why, you ask? Because it takes the waste of time and more importantly, FABRIC, out of making Flying Geese.

In the past, to make a FG, you had two methods: 1. cut a large triangle out of one fabric and two smaller ones out a contrasting fabric and sew along the diagonal. This was problematic in that you were sewing on the bias, which always allows a stretch to occur. I don't care how great a sewer you are, or how awesome your machine is, you're gonna get misshapen rectangles. And that brings us to

Method 2. Take a large RECTANGLE and two smaller SQUARES, and sew along the bias. Then cut away the other half of the square. This is a very much safer method to avoid that bias stretch but what a waste of fabric. I don't like wasting fabric. And a waste of time.

All that grrr is gone with the Flying Geese Ruler.

So, to start, you will need 1 large square and 4 smaller squares. To determine what size to cut, look at the ruler and you will see a list of finished sizes and corresponding squares. (Remember, this is the FINISHED size so your geese will all be 1/2" larger when you make them) For this demonstration, I used "G" (2 1/4" x 4 1/2" finished) and cut one large "G".

If you flip the ruler over, you will see the corresponding smaller dimension. You need to cut 4 of these.
Now, position two smaller squares thusly
The yellow thing you see is my 1/2" Seams Easy ruler and the blue marking tool leaves a thin line of chalk. I lay the ruler down the diagonal and mark a line on either side of the centerline. I don't bother marking the center at all. The two blue lines are now my sewing lines and I sew just a scant in (towards the center) so that once I have ironed the seam allowance to one side, I won't lose any 'acreage' in the seam. I want a true measurement when I am finished.

I DO pin the smaller squares

because I don't want them to shift around as I sew
and here's what it looks like when I have sewn down both lines

Now you can cut the square in half but before you do, I recommend "setting the seam" which means iron the block as it is right now, before you cut it apart, then iron to the dark side.
You will have two heart-shaped blocks.

Place the remaining 2 smaller squares as shown and make the sew-lines, as you did before and sew the scant seams.
Set the seams again and cut down the two center-lines and you will be left with four separate flying geese. Iron to the dark side and you will have something that looks like this:
These geese should (and d0) now measure 2.75" x 5" I trim the little ears off the blocks before I use them in a quilt block.

This is a super fast way to make flying geese. I have just sewn about 160 of them to use in a new quilt. Check back to see the final top.

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