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Fly those Geese!

Wealth of Days underneath a poster of one of our town’s vintage packing labels

When I first starting making this quilt, I cut each flying geese block by hand because I was not able to rotary cut. I drew out the lines, cut a triangle, and piled up the cut pieces in bags for their corresponding temperatures. After constucting them, I found out how unstable the edges were, how inaccurate a method this was. Of course, it didn’t help that one arm was in a sling, but hey, a quilter’s gotta’ do what a quilter’s gotta do.

I’ve also done the snowball-on-the-square method, which is good for single Flying Geese.

But I’m a fan of the four-at-a-time, provided you use the Mostly-Magical-OPQuilt method of trimming them. I showed this trick to my friend Cindy of LiveAColorfulLife the other day and she said it changed her life. I took that with a grain of salt, considering the covid-lives we’ve been living, but I was happy it worked so well for her. Here we go.

NOTE: In the free Tips and Tricks Handout, downloadable below, I give you a formula for figuring out what sizes the large squares and the small squares should be. No more charts!

I use a 4-inch ruler for smaller Flying Geese, and a 6-ish-inch ruler for larger. (Can we talk about Rulers?) It’s all in where you take your first cut, and the angle of that first cut.

Step One. Make your Flying Geese, and grab a ruler, preferably one that has a diagonal line.

Step Two: With the flying geese point FACING TOWARDS YOU, line up the ruler’s diagonal line with that right-hand folded edge.

Step Three: Concentrate on where the r.h. tip of the ruler is, and where the measurement for your Flying Geese is. I’m trying to make a Flying Geese that will finish at 3″ by 1 1/2″ tall, so I’m concentrating on the 3 1/2″. If you have done your measuring and cutting correctly, don’t worry about the lower edge right now. Line up the r.h tip ON THE FOLD.
Line up the target measurement on the LEFT-HAND FOLD, as shown. Note: I am now free to make Flying Geese any size I want, not just what’s out there in the manufactured acrylic cutting rulers.

Step Four: Trim the RIGHT excess and the TOP excess.

Step Five (and final): Rotate the Flying Geese block so the tip is pointing away from you. Line up the LEFT (3 1/2″) and LOWER (2″) side or the measurement at which you want the block to finish. Trim away the remaining excess (as shown).

I can crank through a ton of flying geese using the four-at-a-time and the Mostly-Magical-OPQuilt-method of trimming. So can you.

Okay, because everyone likes a free handout, here it is: Tips and Tricks from — Flying Geese.

Happy Quilting!

300 Quilts

Wealth of Days • Quilt Top Finish

As a culture we are in danger of falling out of touch, not only with objects, but with the intelligence they embody: the empathy that is bound up in tangible things….A well-made object is informed by thousands of years of accumulated experiment and know-how. Whenever we make or use an everyday tangible thing, or even when we contemplate one seriously, we commune with this pool of human understanding. ~Glenn Adamson, from the book Fewer, Better Things

I’ve been reading Adamson’s book, Fewer, Better Things, and have underlined quite a few different passages. Not everything in the book is a home run, but I love having books on craft, on quality, or on making available around my house, for just a few lines here and there can re-center my quilting universe. Like this one:

“William Morris, the great craft reformer of the late nineteenth century, was one of the earliest writers to espouse environmentalism, over a century ago. ‘Surely there is no square mile of earth’s inhabitable surface that is not beautiful in its own way,’ he wrote, ‘if we men will only abstain from willfully destroying that beauty.’ He also famously asked his contemporaries to “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This sentiment still rings true today, particularly if we add the idea that objects should be meaningful. Let’s not think of things as ends in themselves, props to put on the mantelpiece. Rather, let’s consider them as points of contact between people.”

Last week I was in the overwhelmingness of QuiltCon, a series of “mores.” More color. More shapes. More wokeness (this got to be a little bit much, frankly). More quilts. More ideas. More fame. More longing. More more more, until it was just more exhaustion. I loved it all, and am so glad I went to this virtual presentation (Karen and her crew did a fabulous job), but by the end, I was kind of glad they took it all down, freeing me to escape that blotto-in-the-brain feeling for a few days. Sorry I missed you all last Sunday. It’s sort of like this:

Like the moon, we go through phases of being full and we through phases of being hidden.

And then I got an idea.

This idea has been preceeded by a long slow couple of months, as I was worn out by allthecovidstuff, and my bandwidth to accomplish or do things, or even to reach out was limited. So my idea was to set a goal to finish up at least one quilt from the past — and I chose my temperature quilt, newly renamed Wealth of Days (I’ll explain in a later post).

And my next idea was to use up all those triangles that I’d cut and were leftover from piecing together the quilt top, and turn them into a border somehow, because I felt like just the triangles in the center weren’t enough. So I just sewed and sewed.

And began to realize I had some problems.
I’d started making this way back in 2019 (obviously) but it was right after my second shoulder surgery. Rotary cutting is pretty much out of the question after a surgery like that, so in the beginning everything that was cut was scissor-cut. And this little imperfection of scissor cutting had — as quilty problems do — spread throughout the quilt. Some of the problems I could fix on this go-round, as I squared up and trimmed little slivers off the new flying geese to get them straight and true (above).

The center is the original series of triangles from my 2019 temperature quilt.

But…it started to look like the gimpy triangles in in the main quilt weren’t going to match up with the new, refined flying geese in the border.

Color placement planning.

Nevertheless, she persisted — and then decided to re-think some things.
It became obvious after all my sewing that I really could not fit the borders to the quilt. I started sewing the slivery-est of seams over and over along the outer edges of the inner section of the quilt, trying to ease in the extra fullness of those out-of-shape geese. I took off that lovely aqua skinny border, and cut a darker one:

I marked the new darker border strip every 2″ as I was going to force this quilt into submission, which of course…never really works. (I’m hoping my quilter can quilt out some of the bulk that shouldn’t be there.) I then retooled the inner border to make it really really skinny, and kept sewing those triangles into geese. But then. The corners. What to do? I fiddled and sketched and browsed, but when I couldn’t come to a solution, I took Steinbeck’s advice:

This is what the committee of sleep came up with. I’m happy with it.

So here it is. Wealth of Days quilt top all completed. I have a few moving parts for the backing, then I’ll call my quilter and hope she can work miracles with the limpy-gimpy triangles, evidence of my craft at that time. I will explain the quilt title when it is finished, and I can do a proper showing off with the fun stuff for the back, too.

stained glass version, taken from the back of the quilt

I did a search for #temperaturequilt trying to see how people finished off their quilts. I came to the conclusion that not too many have finished off their quilts, but I want to finish mine. Working on this quilt this week, remembering my physical self in January 2019 and allowing that woman’s imperfect making to be a part of this quilt, made me realize how vital making quilts is to me. It is not only a noun — as Adamson notes below — but a verb.

When we casually dismiss craft as a vital factor in our lives, however, we miss out on many satisfactions….When many people hear the word “craft,” they think of humble, decorative things: pots, baskets, or macramé plant hangers. But if we consider “craft” in its active form, treating it as a verb rather than a noun, we immediately realize it is much, much broader than that.

When we say that someone crafts an object, we mean that they put their whole self into it, body and mind alike, drawing on whatever skills they have acquired over the course of their lives. This is a deeply meaningful human activity, which can be observed not only in suburban garages and hobby shops, but also in factories (where people craft machines and prototypes) and fine art studios (where people craft paintings and sculptures). All these process-based experiences imbue materials with associations that resonate far beyond the act of making itself. ~Glenn Adamson, from the book Fewer, Better Things

Happy Quilting!

Classes · Quilt Patterns

Crazy Cushion Class

If you could scroll down for just a second and locate on the right blog sidebar where there is a link to a video titled Create. This was taken from a talk from one of the leaders of my church, and if you are not a religious type, then substitute in your version of God for what Elder Uchtdorf says.  I watch it everyone once in a while to remind me that what I do is more than stitching, or cutting up pretty cloth.  Being creative is my connection to — and a conduit for — the divine.

Crazy Cushion Class_6a

I had an inkling of the power of a lot of creative women, when I attended Becky McDaniel’s class for her Crazy Cushion pattern.  Yes, there was fatigue and frustration, but there was also a spirit of wanting to create (above, watching a demo).

Crazy Cushion Class_6b

My workspace.  I had a nice visit with the two quilters at my table, Sandie and Marie (absent), and was totally impressed with the women in the Nite Owl Guild.

Crazy Cushion Class_7

Becky was energetic, funny and taught some new skills: like working with a light table while paper piecing, and we all promptly handed over our cash to buy her cool flat light table, while stories swirled around about the light tables we had at home.

Crazy Cushion Class_8

Yeah, we weren’t in this room, but the ping-pong table was.  The class was held in the Senior Center for a nearby town and was a great place to have a workshop.  Below, Becky’s table of supplies.

Crazy Cushion Class_9Crazy Cushion Class_10

Even though I had all my sections pre-pieced, at this point I felt like I’d run a marathon, just getting that welting stitched in between the flying geese band and the cushion top/back.  The band includes a handle for carrying (seen serpentining in the photo above).

Crazy Cushion Class_10a

More than one use for those binding clips.

Crazy Cushion Class_11

Because of all my sewing beforehand, I was able to finish my cushion.  Above, the photo with Becky McDaniels.

Crazy Cushion Class_11aCrazy Cushion Class_11b

I posed my cushion with hers (the larger of each).  Mine measures 14″ x 2″ and hers is 16″ x 3.”  If you decided to take this class, do your homework beforehand, if you have done paper-piecing before, so you can have a finish, too.

Crazy Cushion Class_12

And then outside in their gardens, before leaving.

Crazy Cushion Class_12aCrazy Cushion Class_12c

Now I’ll have something to sit on when I go to workshops!

  • The pattern can be found on her website, along with more information.
  • Kaffe Fasset fabrics recently purchased at Blue Bird Quilt Shop, near me, including that cool stripe.
  • I use transluscent vellum paper by Neenan for my paper piecing because I can see through it and it rips off easily.  I purchased a ream about 10 years ago from Kelly Paper, and it cost way more than I wanted, but hey–10 years use?  Not bad.