Most of you have heard the story of how I learned to quilt in classes with my friend Sharon Grieve Grinyer way back in 1987. Two years later she introduced me to Klaudeen Hansen and explained how Klaudeen and her group ~ the Prairie Heritage Quilters ~ helped to hang the AQS show in Paducah every year. I was invited to join them, and I’ve been a part of the hanging crew every year since. This made me an honorary Prairie Heritage Quilter, even though I’d never been to one of their meetings in Sun Prairie. These ladies were a “guild” of quilters who took Klaudeen’s classes and became good friends. Some of them did the AQS thing, but many did not.
Well, last week I was invited to speak to a quilt guild in Sun Prairie. I didn’t remember speaking there before and I was excited to pack up my “Going Round and Round” lecture and meet everyone. My family and I lived in Sun Prairie for six years, and that’s when I took the class that changed the direction of a portion of my life (bye-bye dental hygiene). I was shocked to realize we moved away 29 years ago. Time truly does “fly” by.
As I was introduced to some of the ladies I learned that this guild is the continuation of Klaudeen’s Prairie Heritage Quilters. It is a lively and fun group of quilters, and I so enjoyed being with them.
I’ve done this lecture about circles and curves a number of times, and one of the techniques I share in it is for adding curved pieces to a quilt top using a flange of contrasting fabric. My small quilt is called Goose Tricks.
As I was packing up to head to their meeting I realized that in previous lectures I hadn’t included instructions for drafting the curved lines of flying geese. I learned to do this in a class I took in the early 90s with Caryl Bryer Fallert. My sample from that class is only 12″ square, and the line of geese is pieced into the background:
It’s quite easy to draft ~ and I love paper piecing these geese. So I decided to include it in the lecture. Afterwards some of the members asked where they could find more information. So here it is:
To begin draw 2 curved, non-parallel lines that get closer as they near the top of the page. This must be drawn at the size you want the pattern to be, because we’ll be paper piecing on it.
With a small ruler, draw a line connecting the bottoms of the previous lines. Then draw another horizontal-ish line the desired distance away (on my sample it’s about 1″). This will be the segment for one “goose”.
The next line will be about the same distance away from the last one, typically I draw these at a right angle to the side lines (or close to it), but you can experiment with different angles and spacing.
Continue in this way to make more geese in the line. I usually have the geese segments get progressively shorter as they go up to give the illusion of distance as they “fly away”.
Once the segments are drawn, a center line needs to be added to the pattern. This will be done freehand, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Now to draft the geese! Begin at the bottom and connect the lower left corner of the rectangle to the spot where the center line crosses the top of the rectangle. Then connect the lower right corner to the same spot. Voila ~ a goose. Repeat for each segment.
Next, add numbers to give the piecing order as in this next photo.
After the pattern is made the entire line of geese can be cut out on the outer line and paper pieced. Remember that there is no seam allowance on the pattern, so as you paper piece you’ll need to leave at least 1/4″ of extra fabric hanging off the edges of the pattern. This will be trimmed to 1/4″ when the piecing is done. The following sample isn’t curved, but the seam allowances need to be added in the same way.
The simple curved line of geese I drafted here is just a sample of the many possible patterns. The geese can be made in just about any curve and with any orientation you can imagine.
Back in 2017 I used this technique on a large scale to make my quilt, “Silly Goose”, for the National Quilt Museum’s “New Quilts From an Old Favorite: Flying Geese” contest.
“Silly Goose” is 50″ x 60″, so those are BIG geese. The label reads “There’s one in every crowd. She just can’t seem to follow the leader or the rules. What a Silly Goose!” I think you can see that I had a lot of fun making this quilt. To read more about it click here.
I hope some of you will try your hand at making a curvey goose quilt. If you do ~ please send photos!