Saturday, June 6, 2015

Getting My Geese On

I’m in the home stretch of my first mini-quilt swap on Instagram, and I’ve come to the conclusion that preparing for a swap is a lot like planning a wedding. I could spend years considering my options and making decisions and then changing those decisions. I don’t have time for a long engagement, however. This mini needs to be in the mail between June 15 and June 30!

A little background: This is a Lizzy House swap. All minis should be composed mostly of LH fabrics. The swap organizers, Sarah and Jo, gathered information from participants about their quilty likes and dislikes. My partner likes geese and fussy cutting. (I have more information to go on; I just don’t want her to read this and recognize that I’m sewing for her!)

I spent a lot of time brainstorming different design approaches for my partner’s mini. I was stalking her on Instagram, to see what she herself makes, the kinds of posts she likes, and so on. But, starting to feel like a bride who, after a dozen boutiques, was still looking for the perfect gown, I knew I just had to decide already. My partner would like any number of minis I could make for her.

So I homed in on Better Off Thread’s Right Round pattern, figuring it would both check off a bunch of my partner’s likes and satisfy my own need to get busy with some paper piecing.

I’m really enjoying the process so far. Look at all my perfect little geese! I have zero idea what I’ll use in the center of the Dresden. I’m pretty certain about the fabric for the rows of geese and the corner fabrics, though.


This pattern requires two skills that could scare some sewists away: paper piecing and curved piecing. Honestly, I think the paper piecing is pretty simple (and it results in such fabulous precision!). My problem with paper piecing is the spatial skills needed. Paper piecing requires printing out a design and placing your fabrics on the wrong side of the paper. It can hurt my brain to manipulate fabric that way. I play it safe by using oversized pieces of fabric. There’s more waste but less chance that I have to rip out stitches because a bit of fabric won’t cover the necessary area.


This project entails doing the same element—geese!—in five gradually bigger sizes to make one Dresden wedge. Twelve Dresden wedges later, you’re finished with the geese and you’re really good at paper piecing that design. I think it makes for a good beginner paper-piecing project. Heads up: Easy doesn’t mean fast; each wedge contains 15 pieces of fabric!

A sneak peek of where all of this is headed

If you’re considering making this pattern, check out Better Off Thread’s tutorial on paper piecing and tutorial for curved piecing for an idea of what is required. (I’d add to her suggestions for curved piecing by recommending that you use a short stitch length, go slowly, and raise your presser foot as needed to pivot.) I also referred to Pile O’ Fabric’s tutorial on starching fabric to see how using starch could affect my precision with piecing. The jury is still out on that one.

I haven’t finished this mini yet, but I’m already thinking about what extras to include when I ship it. I’d like to do something cool that this quilter might not make for herself. That means, I want to make a bag. Maybe a pouch with fussy-cut LH fabrics? Or a Sew Together Bag? Any other ideas?

Update: You can view the final mini here.

Linking up to Main Crush Monday, Sew Cute Tuesday, and Let’s Bee Social ...

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18 comments:

  1. Well, I love geese, but I know I didn't write fussy cutting on my survey, so now I know you're not making for me! :(

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  2. Wow, it looks great so far. I can't wait to see the finished product!

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  3. I love me some paper piecing and have had my eye on this design for some time now. I'm on board with your overcut and trim down approach, there's nothing worse than not realizing one of your pieces for paper piecing is too small and having to do it over cause often time I do it over and it's still too small cause I angled the piece wrong.

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  4. I think everyone should have one of your sew together bags -- but I might be biased. :D With a mini this complicated/intricate, you'd probably be just fine making a simple pouch, but I know that spoiling is part of the fun. I like your comparison to a wedding... except it makes me nervous. I disliked my wedding, so the bar is set pretty low for swaps. :)

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  5. I have always loved this pattern and have wanted to make it for a long time! Thanks for the links, very much appreciated! This mini is going to be gorgeous!

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  6. Still my beating heart! This is epic lovely!

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  7. In my opinion, the geese pattern either flies or doesn't (see what I did there?) on the strength of the fabric choices. Your choices here are outstanding! Can't wait to see the final project

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  8. I just recently made flying geese and I love the look of them. These are fantastic with the different sizes. I'm new to paper piecing and might have to try these. I can't wait to see your finished mini! Thanks Michelle for linking up to Main Crush Monday!

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  9. A very interesting project-I like it!

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  10. I love this block, the geese look so sharp, and your choice of fabrics work so well, I look forward to seeing it when its finished. I'm visiting from Let's Bee Social, nice to meet you! :)

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  11. Oh, how beautiful! This pattern is amazing and you're choosing such wonderful LH fabrics that I now want to make one too. Your swap partner is going to be over the moon with happiness to receive this mini!

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  12. Beautiful! The results of paper piecing are so worth the effort. I just learned a technique that avoids having to sew through the paper. I enjoyed it, but I like the sewing version, too. The neat thing is that the paper was folded back before sewing, and that allowed me to see exactly how to place the fabric to make sure it would fit. This could also work with sewing through the paper. After positioning the fabric you can unfold the paper and stitch on the line as usual. (Not explaining myself well here, I know, but I was excited to learn how to do it.)

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  13. Your partner is one lucky duck!

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  14. This will be a gorgeous mini. I am with you on paper piecing, I make my pieces oversized to account for my lack of spatial awareness!

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  15. I love the name of your blog site!

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  16. Impressive! This is going to great!

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