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Friday, November 22, 2019

Quilt Archaeology ~ Old Fashioned Christmas ~ Week 1

Let's get started!   Read all my hints and tips below before cutting.

From your light print: Cut (9) 2 7/8" squares.  Cross cut them once diagonally.
Also cut (14) 2" squares 

From red print #1: Cut (7) 2 7/8" squares.  Cross cut them twice diagonally.
Also cut (14) 2" squares.

We have only one block to make for our little quilt.  It's a pieced Flying Geese unit, and as with all Flying Geese, the accuracy of the block will depend on accurately cut and sewn pieces.  The angles will make or break your block.  So...I'll walk you through all my hints to make those blocks the best they can be.

Before you begin cutting and sewing, I highly recommend that you starch or size your fabric yardage!!!  The benefits are many for the time you invest.  You can read all about how and why I spray my yardage with sizing before beginning every project.  Click here to read my blog post all about starching/sizing fabric.

Our first task....making Half Square Triangles.  We're making them larger so they will be trimmed to the perfect size.  I do this for each and every HST I make and have been for more than 15 years.  You can't beat the results!  This is my favorite way to make HST's.  If you prefer another method, go with it!

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the (14) light print 2" squares.  Match each with a red print 2" square.  Sew 1/4" on both sides of the drawn line.  Cut apart; press to the red print.  You'll have (28) HST.

Trim your Half Square Triangles to 1 3/8" square.  (Photo is before trimming)
My preferred method of trimming HST down is with a Bloc-Loc ruler.  The cut-out channel in the ruler accommodates your seam allowance so the ruler "locks" on to the seam to keep everything tight and the ruler does not rock back and forth.  It's easy to read and makes trimming super fast. You can read more about them and order one here.
Accurately crosscutting squares diagonally once or twice is far more important than you may think.  This applies to any task where you crosscut squares like setting and corner triangles.  It is VERY important that you cut perfect pieces.  The Creative Grids ruler above, which is one of my all time favorites (3.5 x 12.5), is my go-to ruler for crosscutting.  In the photo above, note the black arrows pointing to the 1/2 inch gritty area on the ruler.  That 1/2 inch of grip really holds the fabric in place so you get a very accurate cut.  The 1/2 inch grit is on almost all of the newer Creative Grid rulers, so while you may not have this particular size, look to see if you have a square ruler with this wide grip.  Anything you can do to keep the ruler in place while you cut is important.
Position the ruler so it's on the very point of the square.  These are the angles I referred to earlier that are so important for success with your block.  Be certain that you cut the 2 7/8" square to a perfect 2 7/8" square.  Position the ruler on the very tip of the points.  Press down on the grit of the ruler to hold the fabric in place and cut. (Press hard on whatever ruler you're using.)  I can't emphasize this enough...crosscutting has to be perfect!!!  Personally, I never stack fabric when I crosscut afraid things will move underneath.  If you'd like my favorite Creative Grid 3.5 x 12.5 non-slip ruler for yourself, you can order one here.
If your ruler moved and you have a tiny 'squared' tip (see arrow above) - my advice....do not use any piece from this square.  The angles of all of the triangles are not correct and your block will likely be imperfect.  This is the main reason for trouble with pieced Flying Geese.
Arrange (3) Half Square Triangles and (3) red print triangles as shown above.  
Piece the units into rows; press.   I pin my pieces with my Fine Patchwork pins to keep those pieces in perfect alignment.

Because I treated my fabric yardage with sizing before cutting, I can spray starch or sizing anytime in the piecing process.  I do this as I press each unit and block.  Stiff fabric/units/blocks give much better control which is always welcome, but even more so with these small pieces.  I use Best Press with the fine mist pump while piecing.  Read more about it here.
Sew the units together; press.
Take good care and crosscut the light print 2 7/8" square once diagonally.  

Sew (2) light print triangles to the previous unit; press to the light triangle.  

This is where the Seam Align Glue and Fine Patchwork Pins really help a lot.  Just add a tiny dab of Seam Align Glue to both the light and red triangle points to keep them together as you sew!  (See white arrow in photo above.)  It will help to sew slowly and take your time.  Sew a nice, straight perfect 1/4 inch seam.  You will be rewarded for your effort!  
Repeat these steps to make a total of (9) red print #1 blocks measuring 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" unfinished.

Done until next week!  So....did you pick up some helpful tips?   Taking the time to starch/size your fabrics, cut them accurately, check and double check measurements, and use all the tricks you can will help you not only with this pieced Flying Geese, but with everything you do.  You can find a lot more of my favorite tips, tricks and hints in my Hints Book.  Read all about it here.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and for your business throughout the year.  Now that I won't be traveling as much, I have more time to do fun things with you!  Sounds good to me.  


  1. My fabric came yesterday and I am over the moon with delight! I can't wait to add some more c1880 blocks to the pile! I hope to make this little Christmas quilt too, but with my current schedule, it may be done by next Christmas! Thanks a million!!

  2. I look forward to make this block and trying the Seam Align Glue. My ends do need some extra help to keep them under control.

  3. Thank you very much. I love the 3 1/2” ruler also. I use it for every quilt along that Pat Sloan does. I recently bought the 2 1/2 also. I’m using a layer cake of Gatherings in Red. No green but your fabric is coming to my sons home, so I will redo this quilt. It’s nice to have one to practice��

  4. Thank you Pam, it's great to be sewing along with you again. Can't wait to get started!! And thanks for all your great tips!!

  5. You give some great info here, Pam.
    I am anxious to sew along, but not sure it will happen. I gave myself a gift of today as a sew day, but I have tweaked my neck and I don't think rotary cutting or much sewing would be a good thing.

  6. Getting mine done tonight. Thank you for the helpful tips on cross-cutting.

  7. I must have missed the fabric requirements for this project...is the pattern in one of your published books?

  8. Hardest blocks I have ever done. Have made two and still can’t get them correct. I’m going to cut my wings a lot larger. My block is always too large. I trimmed those 1.3’s correct.

  9. I’m going to make regular flying geese. It’s too difficult for me to make them.

  10. What a fun sew along! I wish I would have seen this sooner.