I love flying geese.
I know... you're shocked. Never would have guessed.
My friend, Nicole of Sister's Choice, recently wrote about her experience with the Fit to be Geese ruler by Open Gate Quilts. It is my most favorite ruler ~ it is the only ruler I use to make flying geese.
I know... you're thinking that's not the method I include in the patterns. No, it isn't. I don't want anyone to ever have to buy a specific ruler to make a pattern. If there is one I love and recommend, that's in the pattern. But the pattern also includes a method that will work well depending on your quirks, idiosyncracies and bad habits.
So how do the Fit to be Geese rulers work?
First, there are two rulers. Both rulers make four different sizes of finished flying geese.
Fit to be Geese Ruler ~ Makes 1 1/2" x 3", 2" x 4", 2 1/2" x 5" and 3" x 6" finished geese.
Mini Fit to be Geese Ruler ~ Makes 3/4" x 1 1/2", 1" x 2", 1 1/4" x 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" x 3" finished geese.
Both rulers come with a diagram showing how the geese are pieced and cut, the cutting sizes for all four sizes of geese and a free pattern. (Monique is awesomely generous that way.)
Basically, everything is cut a skosh bigger and the pieced geese are trimmed to size. Yes, it is like Eleanor Burns' ruler in that respect, but this ruler/method is faster and easier to piece.
Cutting. Cut a large square for the large triangle in the flying geese unit and four small squares for the small triangles in the flying geese unit. (I just showed one small square here.)
The big square is cut into quarters and the small squares are cut in half ~ both on the diagonal.
This is where the triangles will be going.
The side triangle is placed lining up the 45 degree corners as shown ~ and no, I didn't get mine lined up perfectly for the picture. The edges of the triangles should line up... though it isn't the end of the world if they don't.
Scant 1/4" seam allowance ~ stitch along the edge to join the two triangles. Yes, the edge is bias but don't worry about it... it won't be painful.
I like starting at the tip of the 45 degree angle point ~ the point at the top of the picture ~ for this first side. Why? When I start at this point, I only have to sew into the 45 degree angle point once.
The point of the triangle will stick up quite a bit but don't worry about it ~ leave it for now. Line up the second small triangle as shown.
Starting at the little "v" at the top, stitch a 1/4" seam allowance along the edge to join the second small triangle to the big triangle as shown.
Now trim the little point.
Press toward the small triangle and prepare to trim.
And, please, use a rotary cutter with a sharp blade. It really does make this part so much easier... I promise.
Two little things to tell you first.
Do you remember the NexCare Flexible Clear bandage tape I told you about some months ago? I love it for this ruler ~ you can see some of my strips on the underside of my ruler in some of the pictures. You will need something to keep this ruler from sliding since it is sitting on a stitched seam.
Second, do you see the little purple square? That is a small square of Post-it notes stuck to the underside of my ruler.
From your stack of Post-it notes, take a stack of about 6 to 8 sheets ~ do not separate them! Remove them as one thick sheet. At the top of the page ~ the edge with the most sticky on it ~ trim about a 1" x 1" square. There isn't any "magic" to the 1" x 1" square. It is just the size that works for me. It's big enough to do the job but still small enough not to get in the way.
Lining up the corners of the square with the 90 degree angle at the top of the ruler, stick the sticky side of the Post-it notes to the underside of the ruler as shown. This creates a little ridge that will allow you to quickly line up the ruler by "bumping" up against the seams of the small triangles. It also keeps the ruler from shifting as you cut.
With the diagonal lines placed right on the seam line ~ and the little Post-it square nestled up against the seams, line up the ruler with the pieced goose as shown. Then trim the top edge to 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn the pieced goose and line up the cut edge with the red dotted line for the corresponding size of geese ~ it will be on the right as you look at this picture.
When the placement of the pieced goose is vertical, use the red dotted lines to line up the pieced goose.
There will be a red dotted horizontal line going right across the point at the top of the pieced goose.
Trim the top edge.
Note: When you are trimming geese, you will always be working in the center of the ruler. Trying to line up the ruler as shown below isn't correct and will result in disaster... okay, not really. But you'll probably have to make another goose.
Now that you've made two cuts, you've got two edges that can be lined up. When the placement of the pieced goose is horizontal, use the black solid lines to line up the pieced goose. The edges that have been trimmed will be lined up with the lines. If the edge hasn't been trimmed yet ~ like the edge on the left side ~ then the piece will extend past the solid black line.
Trim the bottom of the goose. And don't worry about where the Post-it square lines up ~ it won't line up with anything and it doesn't need to.
One last turn... but now it's easy. Line up the three cut edges with the red dotted lines on the ruler as shown.
Remember, when the placement of the pieced goose is vertical, use the red dotted lines to line up the pieced goose.
And that's it.
If you're using the Mini Fit to be Geese ruler for the 1 1/2" x 3" finished geese, the cutting is even faster. (It's the same when you're making 3" x 6" finished geese with the original Fit to be Geese ruler.)
Using the same tape and Post-it note aides, place the Mini ruler on the pieced goose as shown.
Trim the top and at least one of the sides.
If you're ambidexterous, you can trim three sides before you turn the goose around.
Flip the goose and line up the two cut edges with the corresponding lines on the ruler. And don't worry about where the Post-it square lines up here.
Trim the remaining two sides.
And that's all there is to it.
How quickly can you make the geese for Winter White with this ruler?
I chain-pieced 72 triangles, pressed them, chain-pieced them through for the second triangle, trimmed the little tip and pressed them again in less than one hour. It then took me a little less than an hour to trim them all to size. While I've been using this ruler for awhile, once you get used to piecing the geese this way, you'll be doing them just as quickly and just as easily.
And just so you know... I was a little slow to get on board with this ruler. Monique gave me one when she debuted it at Market since she knows how much I love flying geese. I was using the Eleanor Burns ruler at the time and loved the results... why would I switch? Since I couldn't tell her I'd tried it when I hadn't, I pulled it out when I started making Due South. After making all those geese, I was hooked! And totally in love with the ruler... which is why Due South she was the inspiration for the name of that quilt.
Due South was the television show about a very cute Canadian Mountie who came south to Chicago. Monique is a Canadian who now lives outside Chicago and she's pretty cute too. She's also a dog-person, she has two Old English Sheepdogs named Maple and Glory.
And there you have it.