Friday, May 15, 2015


Do you suffer from quandaries?
  I do!! 
 It's the result of having "too many oars out of the boat" most of the time. 
There are so many opportunities everyday and deciding on one or two to occupy me is a real challenge on the days I don't have deadlines looming. 
Today was one of those days.  The morning rain and the middle of May found me debating whether to start the May SewMyStash charity quilt top and tidy up the blue shelf . . . . .
. . . . . or at least finish the top for the April SewMyStash charity quilt.  After all almost everything is cut and sorted and the piecing goes quickly. 
Finishing the top would enable me to put the fabric away I've been using. 
Aaaannnnnddddd, it's my game with my rules, so I could skip the May quilt and catch up with myself. 
The morning was wasting and the fact that I have too many ideas for the blue quilt pushed me to sit down and work on the April quilt (you can see the beginning of it HERE).  Plus I'm pretty anxious to see how this updated fabric version of my pattern, Courthouse Stars, looks!!

I have quite a few flying geese to make in two sizes and so I started with one of the four sets.  I use the "fast and easy" technique.  I love Joan Hawley's Flying Geese X 4 tool because I don't have to do any math.  I've used it in my patterns for over ten years -- if you know the finished size of the unit you need to make, the tool gives you the cutting sizes for the squares needed.

At this point, there are quite a few tutorials for the technique floating around so I won't bore you with that, but I want to share some tips that I've found help my students when using this technique.

When marking the diagonal lines on the small squares, work on a "sticky" surface like your rotary cutting mat or a sandpaper board to prevent the corners from stretching when you draw the lines.
Any ruler works to set up the line. 
But be sure to back it up just a smidge from the corner so that your marking pencil begins the line in the exact corner.  If I had kept the ruler in the position shown above, the line would have been off-center and that sets you up for problems from the start. 
When I work with directional prints, I draw two lines from the upper left to the lower right and the other two are vice versa. 
My finished results are better if I draw the lines on the small squares first and then position them on the large square.  I tried putting the small squares down on the large square and then drawing the line but I soon discovered that the finished flying geese units are askew when I do it that way.  It's important for the corner of the top small square to be aligned perfectly on the small square underneath and the only way to accomplish that is to draw the lines first. 
When I stitch the first set of small directional print squares to the large one , I use two with a line going the same direction.   
This enables me to manage the direction of the print so that both of the small triangles are the same. 
That's a center square that disappeared while I was mass producing the twelve sets I needed -- grrrr!!  But I'm glad I discovered it before I cut down the middle!!! 
By the time my session was over, I had the first step completed for all twelve sets and they are waiting for my return later this afternoon.  No need to think, just sit down and stitch!! 
I find that's an important strategy for me to maintain momentum -- leaving everything ready for the next stitching session whether it's at my sewing machine or on the couch in the living room enables me to sit and stitch without dealing with yet another quandary!!

How do you push through your quandaries?

Mary Huey


  1. I almost always have a deadline of some sort and that pretty much settles any what to do next quandry. In fact, I should make my applique projects have a deadline and that way they'll get done! Nice tips, Mary. Thanks! And thanks for linking to WIPs Be Gone.

    1. Deadlines do help, Angie though I have discovered during the past couple years, they have to be "real" deadlines?!?

  2. Tidy up???? Gosh, that shelf looks pretty tidy as it is! I've never made flying geese that way. I just cut the middle and sides with special rulers because I hate drawing lines!

  3. Thanks for these tips. I have used this x4 method before and always seem to get some wonky geese. I haven't analyzed my method to see where the inaccuracy is coming from, but now I think I can try again.