I've been working on some quilt market sewing, but for the rest of the week I'm going to work on some of my works in progress --can't wait! Since I was making a lot of flying geese yesterday, I thought it might be a good time to share some tips for piecing these blocks.
These tips and techniques work for flying geese, for half square triangles, and for "easy corner," "folded," or "flipped" corner blocks.
Whenever I need to make a lot of any of these types of blocks I use my "Angler" tool (designed by Pam Bono). A lot of times directions for these blocks will call for diagonal lines to be drawn on the wrong side of lots of squares. Using the Angler enables you to make the blocks quickly and accurately without drawing any lines. I keep painters tape with my Angler to use to attach the template to my machine. If you've purchased a new Angler and are using it for the first time you will need to first cut the key section from the template. Using an Exacto knife or very sharp scissors will help you accurately cut out this piece (this step is only done the first time you use the tool).
Put the "key" section under your presser foot and drop the needle down into the hole, lowering the presser foot to hold the key in place. Next you'll align the Angler template with the key, matching lines until you have a perfect fit.
Tape the Angler to your machine (Washi tape works also), and then raise the presser foot and remove the key.
Now you're ready to start sewing. I prepare all of my pieces ahead of time so I can chain piece my blocks. Put the needle into the fabric at the diagonal point, and line up the opposite corner with the center line on the Angler.
Continue sewing, keeping the bottom corner aligned with that center line.
You can keep adding your prepared fabric units, chain piecing these blocks.
After piecing, press to set the seam, then press the square toward the corner. By pressing before trimming you can check for accuracy. If anything has shifted and made your unit "off" you will readily recognize the error and can fix it at this point.
After you've pressed your units, you can trim the extra fabrics, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
When the left over pieces are big enough I save them to sew into a half-square triangle.
After all the blocks are trimmed you can prepare the other side of the units by laying out all the pieces. Again, chain piecing saves a lot of time!
Here are some additional tips:
- Be sure you install a new bobbin before using the Angler if the template covers your bobbin case. This way you can sew a lot of pieces without having to worry about moving and re-installing the template.
- It's also a good idea to start with a new needle when sewing these units. I'm not always very consistent with making sure to change my needle, but I do change it when working on these if I know it has been awhile--it really does seem to make a difference, and there are fewer puckers caused by a dull needle keeping the fabric from moving smoothly.
- Don't worry about going super fast--you're already saving a lot of time by chain piecing these units, so sew slow enough to make sure your block is aligned with the line for accuracy.
Thanks so much for stopping by!