Better Beginnings Quilt, Flying Geese, funny, humor, New Quilters, Newbie Quilters, Quilting, starting over, Stories

Cooked Goose

In my home state of West Virginia, near the town of Ripley, there is a picturesque little state park called Cedar Lakes ( The park is known for hosting an annual Arts & Crafts Fair, a Christmas Light Show, and numerous other conferences, camps, retreats. It is popular locally, and for good reason – room rates are low, the place is clean, and the forested grounds are beautiful and relaxing. But ask anyone who’s been there, and they will tell you the thing that Cedar Lakes is most famous for.

The geese. Or, more specifically, the goose poop.

Cedar Lakes is home to a gaggle (or many gaggles) of Canadian Geese. And they poop. A LOT. All over the place. The rule of thumb is not to visit Cedar Lakes wearing shoes that you aren’t willing to get dirty.

Not that this is a bad thing. A little goose poop on the shoes never hurt anyone. But you should be cautious not to annoy the geese. Those geese will attack.

When I was sixteen, I attended a church youth retreat at Cedar Lakes. As youth sans parents are wont to do, we goofed off a lot. The boys, especially. Big flirts, they were always trying to get our attention. One day they were “impressing” us by harassing the geese. You should have seen their faces when the geese turned on them, chasing them across one of the fields.

I’ve never seen teenage boys move that fast outside of a track & field event.

Nobody was hurt, but they came back vowing revenge, wondering when goose season was and how best to cook a goose.

Thankfully, the only geese I scuffle with are of the quilting variety. Flying Geese, that is. This week I have re-named them “pooping geese” in honor of our titanic struggle. Even quilted geese can poop on you. Metaphorically, of course.

Flying Geese in progress

Last week, I designed a quilt for newbie quilters (the Better Beginnings Quilt) that includes the wretched geese. My stated motivation for putting them in the quilt design was because they are oft used quilt block elements.

This is true. But also, I stink at making them. I thought some practice was in order. It was a bit of tough love for myself, I suppose.

So far, I have attempted the geese three times.

First, I used the Eleanor Burns (from PBS’s Quilt in a Day) method, which accompanies her Flying Geese Rulers. The method is perfect! Here’s a link to her video tutorial if you are interested: Eleanor Burns Flying Geese Tutorial

What went wrong? My measurements were off, and they came out the wrong size. Too big. I thought maybe trimming them down would work, but no. So, I started over.

Instead of sticking with the first method, my second try was with my Deb Tucker Wing Clipper ruler from Studio 180 Design.

I love Deb Tucker’s Tucker Trimmer for HSTs (half-square triangles) and hourglass blocks, so I figured her flying geese ruler would straighten me out. But alas, again, my sizing was off. The geese came out a smidge too small. I think perhaps using a scant ¼ inch seam (instead of the usual 1/4″) would have made it work.

The third try was again with the Deb Tucker Wing Clipper. This time, I used a scant 1/4-inch seam but goofed by sewing the wrong sides together.

Since the third time was NOT the charm, I’m presuming my goose is cooked for now. I’ll try it again this weekend and report back.

Someday later, we’ll talk about why I have so many flying geese rulers but still can’t make them right.

But for now, let’s close with what went well, shall we? I did a couple of the strip pieced blue blocks and put together most of the HSTs for the yellow blocks. Easy peasy, but I ran out of time to finish them. I’ll have more done next week. So far I love the colors. I’m using Robert Kaufman Blueberry Park for the prints and Kona Cotton white for the solids.


If you have tips to share on Flying Geese, I’d love to hear them and put them in a later post. Just let me know in the comments. Have a great Friday!









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