My Secret Garden - Block 3 with Joy!

January 11, 2019

My Secret Garden - Block 3 with Joy!

Grids…..let’s consider them for a moment or two.  When I consider translating a quilt pattern from the original pattern and instructions for AccuQuilt or my specialty rulers---Half Square Triangle and Quarter Square Triangle Ruler---I consider how the block is divided. At this point, it does not matter what size the block is or what size the pieces are, what matters is how the block is divided into segments.  If you look closely at the block above, this block is a 4 x 4 grid.

Within the  4 x 4 grid there are pattern variations that make it more interesting than a simple pattern of 4 blocks by 4 blocks, in fact….some of the grids have merged to form a single unit.  However, if lines were to be drawn from top to bottom and from left to right there are 4 equal squares across and 4 equal squares down.

Obviously, you could create this block as it is written by Sherri Falls and all would be well and straight forward. However, I chose to break it apart and I used my Quarter Square and Half Square Rulers to cut my pieces.   

Since we know that this block will finish to 12” we can divide that by 4 and discover that each of the grid segments will finish to 3”.  THE KEY HERE IS THAT IT FINISHES TO 3”.....REMEMBER TO ADD THE SEAM ALLOWANCE BACK IN WHEN YOU ARE CUTTING.

The center section had a 2 x 2 grid that in the overall picture will finish to a 6” square…..that means each of the sections is 3”.  The beauty of the specialty rulers (Half Square and Quarter Square Triangle) is that when you know how big the finished section is, simply add the seam allowance of ½” and that becomes the strip size that needs to be cut.

For example, look at the middle section….each section is made up of 1 Half Square triangle and 2 Quarter Square Triangles.  Each section finishes to 3”.....add the seam allowance of a ½” and cut a 3 ½” strip for the Half Square Triangle.

A Word of caution…..a quarter square triangle takes up one quarter of the space…..of in this case, half of the space…...3 divided in half is 1 ½” plus a half inch seam allowance…..2” strip is required.

Out of the 2” strip you will use the Quarter Square triangle to cut these shapes. If you stack them right sides together, they will be ready to sew after they are cut.

You might wonder why I even bother with these mental math gymnastics….some days I wonder too…..there are many reasons but the main one for me is that my fabric use is more efficient and my cutting is far more accurate. More accurate cutting equals setting myself up for the best possible sewing success.

Let’s peek at the outside edges...you will notice that this is where the sections are blended to create a merged flying goose unit.  The row or column is still only 3” tall or wide.  The goose covers two sections and will finish to 3” x 6”.  All flying geese are made up of one large quarter square triangle and a pair of half square triangles.  In most cases, they are even in a 1 to 2 relationship…..3 x 6 in this block.  So, if your goose unit finished to the height of 3”....add the half inch and cut with the Quarter Square Triangle Ruler….you will need the same size strip to cut the Half Square Triangle units.

Routine and consistency are always a good thing in quilting. When constructing Flying Geese units decide whether you will always put the top section on first or the bottom section.   I am a bottom section first piecer but to each their own...keep it consistent.

Last but not least are the corners….again, these 3 pieces occupy a 3” segment.  

In this case, the pattern will tell you the size needed but you could also figure this out by the clues you already know.

I created all my sections/segments first and then laid them out for the final assembly.

One final note about pressing and alignment.  In general, I use my thumb nail or my stylus to finger press my seams until the final assembly happens…..especially when bias seams are involved.

This seam is a straight seam but it presses beautifully with the back side of my stylus.

Although I own a beautiful selection of pins, I don’t use them in my piecing very often. I have used on here to point out a critical match point.  If you stab a pin at the head of the goose, it should line up with the seam allowance under neath.  If I were to actually pin at this point, what I find is that the fabric shifts and my seam is off when I am finished.  I love these little wonderclips to hold this match point in place until I am close enough to double check the alignment.

When you approach this intersection, slow down, look both ways just as if you were at a railroad intersection and be sure your seam sits just slightly to the right of the already sewn seam.  This will give your fabric room to press flat and leave a crisp point behind.

Before you know it…..your block is complete.  Until next time, Happy Sewing Bernina Joy!





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