Friday, August 12, 2011

Block 7 - Virginia Star

Welcome!  Ready for another skill?  This month we will focus on flying geese.

This is a flying geese block.  It is made up of three right triangles and is twice as wide as it is high.  The block could be made out of two half square triangles, but using a single piece of fabric for the main (green) triangle gives the finished block a cleaner look - and quite honestly, the fewer seams there are, the less likely we are to mess up.  :)  Flying geese make a great quilt all on their own and are also components of many other blocks.

1. flying gooses, 2. Modern Flying Geese Quilt, 3. Scrappy Flying Geese Patchwork, 4. Vintage Flying Geese Quilt, Glendale, KY, 5. Flying geese around....., 6. Flying Geese quilt, 7. rainbow geese quilt, 8. I Spy Flying Geese, 9. Flying Geese Runner

There are three common ways to make flying geese blocks.  Each way has it's pros and cons.  I will introduce a different method each week.  If you prefer one method over another, feel free to use it instead of the one I show.

I planned on showing the "corner to corner" method today, but the batteries on my camera are dead.  So, instead of staying up until all hours to take pictures after the batteries charge, I am going to refer you to a great tutorial for the same block.  The only difference is that it uses the "exact piecing" method.

I am sooooo lucky that Kate from Swim, Bike, Quilt recently wrote this tutorial as part of the Summer Sampler Series.  I know some of you have already made this block.  If so, you can take the week off and sit by the pool - if not, it is one of the best basic blocks out there.

The points of the Virginia Star are flying geese made with the exact piecing method.  This piecing method is great because it does not waste any fabric and it is easy to make the side triangles out of different fabrics if you want.  The only con is that it requires accurate cutting and 1/4 inch seams.

The basic formula for this method starts with determining the finished size of the flying goose piece.  Once you have determined the size of the finished unit, cut one square that is 1.25 inches larger than the finished base of the flying goose.  Then cut the large square from corner to corner into 4 pieces.  These pieces are the large main section of the goose.

The side triangles are made up of a square that is a 7/8th inch larger than the finished height of the flying goose.  Cut the square in half from corner to corner to get the triangles needed for the sides of the goose.

No worries - Kate gives all the measurements for this block, I just thought you might like the basic formula for future reference.

I am going to send you off to Kate's Virginia Star tutorial  now.  Just one last thought.  The 6.5 inch center is rather large and would be a great place to show off any of your large scale fabrics.  If you want to take this block up a notch, you could also piece a 6.5 inch block to use as your center.  I used an extra 9 patch block I had on hand.  The sky is the limit.  Have fun!


  1. I'm headed down to the sewing room to give it a whirl!

  2. What should the geese pieces measure after you attach the triangles, before you attach them to the center block?? I want to make sure they are squared up.

  3. They should measure 6.5 by 3.5 inches before you attach them.

  4. I've done mine! It was a bit fiddly, so I'm looking forward to the other technique you mentioned (anything to make life easier).

  5. So, are you going to show us the corner to corner method too. I think I prefer that one.

  6. Finished! I am extremely proud of the completed block, but find that it is off evenly by an 1/8 of an inch exactly. But the star is perfect, the seams line up exactly, so I am calling it a keeper! :)

  7. As always thank you so much for the math. I've been even brave enough to try the exact piecing method, and the geese aren't that bad. But I must have lost concentration for a while anyway because what I've just pieced is the opposite of a star ;)
    I still like it and posted it on my blog (maybe you know what its name can be). And Virginia Star will have to wait till tomorrow.

  8. Hi this is Shawn and I am a bit behind on the Skill Builder. However I was just reading the Virginia Star and was wondering if you could help me with the math for what size pieces I need if I want to do the flying geese the magic way? I did the block on the quilt along... with Kate and it turned out but I really did not enjoy the flying geese. Then I made flying geese the magic way with one of my on line bees and this was much easier for me. I want to try this block with the magic way. Is that possible? If so can you help me make sure I am cutting the right size squares to make the geese?

  9. For the Virginia Star you would need to cut a background piece 7.25 square and four 3 7/8 inch pieces.

    The basic formula for the magic and traditional method is the same - thank goodness - we have enough math memorization already. :)