We’ve made it to the last block! For block 9, we’re returning to our old friend, the flying geese unit. I know that’s not a favorite for some of you, but geese units are often used in some of the most beautiful blocks. If you are just joining in… where have you been? Just kidding. You can still find all the blog posts linking to instructions for all the blocks here: Block 1, Block 2, Block 3, Block 4, Block 5 , Block 6 , Block 7 , and Block 8. This week, I will also share how to use directional prints in blocks. In scrap quilts sometimes it adds to the charm having a print’s directional pattern going every which way. However, it also looks nice when the directional design is very uniform within a block. If you like to keep things uniform, this is the post for you. Time for the block!
I didn’t name this traditional block a different name because I liked the name it already had. “Capital T”. I didn’t use any directional fabrics here but you will see in my examples below how to use directional prints for flying geese. Here are the instructions for this block: Block of the Week – Block 9.
Using Directional Fabrics
These tips are by no means exhaustive, but are guidelines I use when I want my directional design to all flow in one direction.
Flying geese are a unit that is used often in star blocks, like the Ohio Star. So I thought these tips would help. Here are the fabrics I am using to make the my star block, including the flying geese units:
As you can see, the fabric for the center of the star and the “wings” of the geese have a directional print. Here is the key tip for geese: If you want your directional print to be vertical in the finished unit, you need to start off by laying your square face down on the rectangle with the design gong horizontally, as shown in the second photo.
After I stitch diagonally and press open the square, the print is now vertical (last photo).
To finish the flying geese, I need to lay the next square face down on the other side of the rectangle with the print going horizontal so when done, the print will then be vertical like the first side.
But now here is the tricky part …. if you are using the directional print for the center square of the star and if you make all 4 flying geese with the print going vertical… this will happen:
To solve that problem, you need to make 2 flying geese units with the print going vertical and 2 flying geese units with the print going horizontal if you want the all the print going in the same directional when the star block is done.
See how having geese with the directional print going in different directions now works when you place them with the center? See the photos of the block before and after piecing below:
As you can see in the last photo, all the directional print is pointing vertical or all pointing horizontal, depending on which way you position the block in your quilt. Imagine if you have a lot of these blocks and you alternate vertical and horizontal positioning? That would create an interesting pattern for your eye to pick up on!
Working with directional prints does make you slow down a bit and think as you are cutting and piecing, but I hope you no longer have a great fear of working with these prints!
Here is how you get your directional fabric going all in the same direction when bordering a square. In my example below, I want 1 1/2″ strips to border a square. If I cut all the pieces from the same 1 1/2″ width strip, then this is how my block will look:
Actually, it doesn’t look too bad because the directional fabric moves your eye around the block. That’s why I don’t mind bordering quilts with a directional fabric where the sides are vertical and bottom is horizontal. Plus, the bigger the block, the harder it is to cut strips for the design to go all in one direction because of fabric waste.
However, for this small block, we can do that. Here’s how you do it:
Cut the longer side rectangles from the 1 1/2″ strip – in this case, the rectangles need to be 1 1/2 x 4 1/2″. As you can see, the print is vertical. Now, to get the top and bottom rectangles, which measure in this example 1 1/2 x 2 1/2″ to have the print vertical, cut a strip from your fabric for these pieces 2 1/2″ wide and then cut 1 1/2″ segments for 1 1/2 x 2 1/2″ rectangles. (See the photos below).
Now look what happens when adding them to the center square:
Here’s my final example. Using directional prints for making blocks with half-square triangle (HSTs) squares.
Below are the pieces to make 4 HSTs. Lay them out as shown and then lay the tan print face down on the color print. Stitch diagonally a scant 1/4″ on each side of the diagonal center from the same direction on both square sets (see where my finger is pointing).
Once you cut the units apart and press open, you will get 4 HSTs where, no matter how they are arranged, the directional tan print will not go in the same direction.
Now, repeat the above step but stitch one set of squares diagonally in the opposite direction of the other. As you can see by the last two photos, no matter how I lay out the HSTs, the tan fabric directional print is pointing in the same direction.
So, if you choose to use directional prints and want to have them look uniform, I hope these examples where explained clearly! Feel free to ask me questions in the comments.
See you next week for the end of this Block of the Week series! I will be sharing my finished project with instructions you can use if you want yours to look like mine.
Ann Liebner says
Your tutorials are great! Thank you!
Deborah DeBerry says
Will we be able to get the in depth instructions, like on your blog, after we finish the “Block of the Week”?
Yes, I do weekly blog posts that I will continue to have some in depth technique instructions, sometimes quilt history and sometimes mini video tutorials. Stay tuned!