From precise paper-pieced angles to the tried-and-true HST, triangle quilts are everywhere right now.
In her book, Quilting from Every Angle, Nancy Purvis uses blocks featuring three-sided shapes including Flying Geese, Half-Square Triangles, Half-Rectangle Triangles, and more to create graphic modern quilts.
Many quilters, whether they prefer traditional or modern quilt design, use the Flying Geese block. Since this is one of the most prevalent quilt blocks around, let’s learn how to make them with precision and efficiency.
Making Flying Geese
by Nancy Purvis
1. Cut out pieces from two contrasting or coordinating fabrics as indicated in the pattern you’re using. Here, we’ll call the large square of light fabric A and the darker fabric B.
2. Lay piece A right side up and place two squares B right side down, in opposite corners. Pin. Using a ruler, mark a diagonal line from one corner to the other as shown in the image above.
3. Sew ¼” on either side of the marked line and cut apart along the line. Press the seam open or to the dark side on both units.
4. Place one unit right side up, and place another square B right side down in the corner, as shown. Mark the square with a diagonal line corner to corner. Pin.
5. Sew ¼” on either side of the marked line, and cut apart along the line. Press the seam open or to the dark side on both units. This will yield two Flying Geese.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining unit to yield four Flying Geese units.
How to Trim Units:
Squaring up the Flying Geese units is important, so don’t skip this step!
1. Place an acrylic ruler over the unit, lining it up near your desired measurements. In this example, the finished unit will be 2 ½” × 4 ½”. Make sure that the tip of the triangle is ¼” away from the edge as shown. This leaves you a seam allowance to avoid cutting off the tip when you stitch it to an adjoining piece of fabric. The tips at the base of the triangle will touch the 2 ½” × 4 ½” marks.
2. Trim the unit top and side. Then rotate the unit 180 degrees, lining it up perfectly with the ruler marks for your desired finished size, and trim the remaining two sides.
As with anything, the best way to get better is to practice! For more quilting tutorials from Nancy on everything from half-square triangles and chain piecing to applique and paper piecing, order your copy of Quilting from Every Angle. If you want to get started learning and creating one of the 16 modern quilt projects from the book, download your copy today.