Hello Everyone! As I’ve mentioned, I am making the Moda Blockheads 6″ Block of the Week. I really like Block 5, designed by Lisa Bongean, and I have made it before in a larger size, but it has 58 pieces! In a 6″ block! So what to do? Make all those tiny squares for the HST, draw a line, then sew on each side of the line, and hope everything lines up okay?
Lisa gave alternate cutting directions for both the HST, using triangle paper, and the flying geese, by cutting triangles and sewing them to the rectangles. You can find the pattern and her directions here.
The problem was, I don’t have small enough triangle paper to use and I don’t get the accuracy needed making flying geese that way. Then I thought about my Half Square Triangle Ruler that I haven’t used in a while. I’m not sure why, because it makes very accurate HST.
I also got out my flying geese ruler to use which makes four flying geese at a time. (Please excuse my scorched ironing surface, it’s not quite as bad as it looks in the picture). To start with, I needed to readjust the cutting directions. Lisa made alternate cutting directions for using her triangle papers and she gave finished sizes of the units on her blog post, which is always handy.
After picking out my fabrics, I used Lisa’s directions as a starting point. Then I rough cut the pieces and starched. Starched a lot.
I let the pieces almost get dry, then pressed to completely dry them. I usually give my fabrics a light starch for making these smaller blocks, but several of the Blockhead designers said starch, starch, starch. Lisa has a starch tutorial here.
To make the HST units, I put my two strips for the HST right sides together with the light on top. Then cut them 1 1/4″ wide. Lisa indicated the 4-patch unit was 2″ unfinished, so 1 1/2″ finished. That means each square in the 4-patch unit is 3/4″ finished. Add 1/2″, so each square has to be 1 1/4″ unfinished. (You also know this because the squares for the unit are cut 1 1/4″. But this is how you determine the size if it’s unknown).
To use the HST Ruler, clean up you edge, then place the bottom of the ruler on the bottom edge of your strip set. Place the vertical edge on the mark that corresponds to the width of your strip, 1 1/4″ in this case. Make you cut. The cut piece will have a flat edge on the top.
Next, flip the ruler on the long edge. Line up the bottom edge of your strip with the Bottom Marking Line and the top edge with the 1 1/4″mark. Then cut. Keep repeating until all the squares are cut. Be careful when moving your pieces, they are ready to sew, you don’t want them to shift.
You can see how the pieces fit neatly together. Using the ruler eliminates marking lines and multiple sewing passes. It was definitely quicker and more accurate then the standard way. Using the paper would also be accurate and if I known in advance that it would be needed, I might have ordered some, but the ruler worked well.
Now to make four at a time flying geese.
You’re going to cut one large square and four small squares. With this ruler, you need to know your finished size. For this block, the large FG finishes at 1 1/2″ x 3″ and the small one finishes at 3/4″ x 1 1/2″.
My ruler has the markings for the different sizes, but you can use this method without the ruler. I’ve given the sizes for each of the squares on the sheet of cutting directions.
Mark diagonal lines on all the small squares. Place two squares on top of the large square and sew 1/4″ from marked line. I actually sewed a scant, scant 1/4 line which gave me just enough room to clean up the edges.
Cut on the line and press the dark pieces out.
Next, place the other small square on the light and dark piece as shown. Sew 1/4″ on both sides of the line. (Again, I did a scant, scant 1/4″) Cut on the line, press the dark side out, and now you have your flying geese. Trim them if necessary.
To keep all the units straight, I laid out the block. I made the 4-patch units, then continued with the official directions.
It took me much longer to make than the first four blocks did, but I was careful and didn’t skip any steps (starch!). Everything lined up pretty well, and there are a few crinkles, but I think part of that is because of the starch.
If you have these rulers and are like me, haven’t used them in a while, take another look at them. I think they saved me time and some frustration, especially working with the little pieces. Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you use this method to make your HST and flying geese.