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Adding a pieced border and getting a “Free” quilt.

Posted on: 10 April 2009

As you can tell from the previous posts, I am using my Fast Scrappy Quilt as a learning process. Well, why not, I am all about learning.

I have decided to piece one of the borders. To make a flying geese border in fact.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are many ways to make flying geese. I have used rectangle and 2 squares technique.   I also did another little thing. I’m making ½ square triangles in the process… who knows… it could become a “free quilt”.

Are you intrigued? Okay… this blog will be more of a photo blog.


Many books and quilters will mark a line from corner to corner on the squares.  I chose to press, and use that line to stitch on.  If you find it difficult to see the crease while stitching, I recommend marking.


Here are a number of the squares pressed in half.


Some people will pin.  I haven’t.  You can just make out the creases or stitch line.


Here I am stitching along the crease/fold.  I also chain piece.  I like to piece from the outside corner to the centre edge.   I do about 6 before I snip them off to cut and press.  Coming up, I’ll explain why I only do a small amount.


Now to trim off the unnecessary parts.  I line the 1/4″ mark of my ruler along the stitch line, and trim off.


When you are making  flying geese, you will get a lot of unneccessary bits.  Keep reading to find my solution to all these bits.


In making flying geese using the rectangle and 2 squares technique, you always end up with 4 triangle pieces left over. In some cases they are quite small to try and stitch together. Well, I wasn’t about to toss them out.  I can’t remember when or even where, I read about this.  Instead of just trimming off those extra bits, and having them sit around, add another seam 1/2″ away from the first, to create a pre-stitched half square triangle.  I estimated where the 1/2″ was.  It does need to be 1/2″, as you will cut 1/4″ away from the stitching line to cut 1/4″ seams on both your flying geese piece and the half square triangle piece.   Free pieces for making a free quilt.


You can premark both stitching lines.  After marking one to demonstrate, I’m thinking this would be faster than pressing 400+ squares for the flying geese.


These pieces have the double stitched seams.


I’ve aligned the 1/4″ mark on the long stitch line, and cut.   Admittedly not all my half square triangles have perfect 1/4″ seams, as I have “eyeballed” the distance between seams.


The pressed open beginning of a flying geese block and a half square triangle.  Remember I mentioned only doing about 6 at a time.   Can you imagine having to press 20+  flying geese open, and then pressing open 40+ half square triangles?   Little bits in moderation!  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but with my back the way its been, sitting and standing for any length of time is not a happy thing, so I do little bits here and there.


Laying out the second square.


Again, I like to stitch from the corner to the centre.


Two pieces with the second square double seamed stitched.  How odd that sounds.


Trimming the second half square triangles away.


Two flying geese and two half square triangles.  Remember… for each flying geese (goose), you will have two half square triangles.  If I was careful with the measurement of the 1/2″ between the seams,  I might have been able to get a bit larger square.  As it is, most are trimmed down to 1 3/4″ squares.

So what to do with all those half square triangles?  Originally all the pieces were put into a bag, for my DD#2 to perhaps do something with… or me, when I was ready to work out another scrappy type quilt.   Then another idea struck me, and yes, I am okay!

I made a comfy critter (another blog about that soon – or check out my blurb about it at AllPeopleQuilt.com).   As they are made from large patchwork panels, I thought that colour coordinating some of the half square triangles and arranging them in different ways, would be a great way to make more of these critters.   I’m not sure about the all the black, but it does set off some of the colours quite nicely.  It is something I’m working on.

Then I started thinking, as I was laying out the half square triangles for the photo shoot for this blog, that perhaps, I could just colour coordinate and make blocks, then stitch all the blocks together… and perhaps a free quilt!  Gotta love that idea.


Purple and pinks coordinated.   Stitched up this particular arrangement would make a block approximately 6″ in size.  Remember… I did say, I was going to end up with 400+ half square triangles… no, I haven’t calculated how big ti would end up!  LOL.  Of course, the pieces could be re-arranged to create any number of design combinations.  Or perhaps other things could be made from them… pot holders, trivets, doll blankets… the possibilities are endless.

Then I started thinking… and re-arranged the squares.


Remember, this was on the fly, and the corner pieces would have to be something else… but I could always use these pieces for a border.  Not on this quilt, but on another.  Just some ideas.

It is going to take me some time to finish my flying geese.  I am in no rush.   It may be sometime before I get the next step done for this quilt.  But I when I make some progress, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I’ve asked you what you do with your scraps.  Now what do you do with the left-over bits.   If you’ve been tossing those triangle bits, perhaps rethink that… and save them and use them for another quilt.  You may find you have a free quilt, you didn’t even know you had!



4 Responses to "Adding a pieced border and getting a “Free” quilt."

great ideas!
I keep everything 😉
My daughter gets anything I can’t use.
I use scraps for my scrapbooking and this idea is awesome. Thanks so much.

Leftover triangles from Flying Geese blocks were the genesis for another quilt for me. I couldn’t bear to waste them! I’d also like to try the no-waste Flying Geese method. It will be interesting to see what you make of your tidbits.

Happy Stitching….Ann 🙂

Flying geese is not something I’ve done much of, even though I love the effect of them. I’d never thought of stitching the HST’s at the same time, what a great idea and may spur me on a bit too!!


I’ve added a new page to my Quilting Information page. “Flying Geese Fabric Requirements”.

If you need a flying geese unit at a specific size, using the rectangle/square method, this page will help determine what size pieces you need.


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