I love the way flying geese look, but haven’t always had much success with piecing them accurately. When I saw Jen Shaffer‘s 2019 Monthly Color Challenge over at Patterns By Jen, I knew I wanted to make the aqua block, because it’s one of my favourite colours to quilt with, and I wanted to see if Jen could help me with my flying geese dilemma. (Plus, it’s a totally cute block!)
So I dug through my fabrics and decided to cut into my Tula Pink Pinkerville bundle. To me, it seemed that there was the right amount of contrast between the dark aqua swans and the light aqua fans, and the scale of the prints should work nicely. I was even going to try fussy cutting (of course).
Have you ever heard the adage “fast, cheap, good: pick two”?
It’s a saying that applies in many areas, and working on these flying geese units for the July block highlighted for me that it applies to quilting, but it’s more like “fast, efficient, perfect: pick two”.
There are many aspects of quilt making where you have to make a personal choice to prioritize speed, efficiency of materials, or getting it to look exactly the way you want it, but it can be hard (maybe impossible?) to get all three at once. So, which two do you pick?
Take flying geese blocks, for example. There are many different ways to make flying geese!
- The “flippy corner” method has some fast cutting (rectangles and squares are pretty fast) and stitching (corner to corner, zoom!), and has good fussy cutting potential, but it wastes the triangles that get cut off.
- You can cut out individual triangles, potentially even fussy cutting, but that isn’t very quick, and there can be some weird math involved, so you might have to use a template.
- The 4-at-a-time no-waste method gets top points for speed of construction and fabric efficiency! It’s not ideal for fussy cutting, but I tried anyway!
Now, I’ll generally choose efficiency above all else, but that’s a personal choice. Even when I’m fussy cutting, I know that I can use my swiss cheese fabric for something eventually. So the question for me is generally, do I want to be fast? Or do I want to be jaw-droppingly perfect?
I managed to choose a focal print that had a convenient sized repeat so that it turned out fussy cut-ish. But with all the flipping and twisting, my background print gets rotated for each block. I managed to orient my pieces so that they at least match within each block, but I would have had to do some extra geometry and planning to get the swans centered in a more deliberate way. My points are still (almost) perfect!
Like I said, you have to pick two. And I’m happy with a “not jaw-droppingly perfect,” no-waste, quick finish on this big block to add to my menagerie of Tula Pink blocks from various sew alongs. (Though, I just noticed that one of my side pieces is upside down, so that’s going to get ripped!) Next time, I would probably pick non-directional prints, but where’s the challenge in that?
Thank you to Jen for hosting the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge! Head over to Patterns By Jen for the free patterns for all the monthly block colour studies! And for more thoughts on July’s aqua block, check out blog posts by:
What’s your favorite way to make flying geese?