February 21, 2011

Goose in the Corner block tutorial

Even though one of these blocks alone is kind of ugly, I was surprised that I've never seen the block before. It's very simple, so it seems like it should have been done before, you know? But failing to find any evidence of that, I'm going ahead and naming it the Goose in the Corner block. If you do know about an established name for this block, please please please let me know!

I made my original Golden Goose quilt with wonky blocks, but I buckled down and engineered a proper goose for this tutorial. This goose should meet up nice and pretty at the points. If you don't like precision piecing, you could do wonky geese, and I'll talk about those at the end. But I have to admit, the method I found for proper geese is so easy, the wonky geese seem slow and wasteful by comparison.

So: the proper goose. You make this block with two squares. In this example I use a 9.5 inch foundation square and a 5 inch square for the goose. This makes a 9 inch finished square, as well as a bonus half square triangle block from the leftover fabric that would otherwise be cut away. I'll describe the process and then show you how to calculate the size of your squares to make any size block you'd like.

You're going to draw two lines on the backside of the smaller (goose) square. I used a pencil. The first line goes diagonally from corner to corner.

Then, draw another line 1/2" away from that line, using your see through ruler as a guide.

Arrange the squares right sides together as shown. Pin to keep them in place if you'd like, then sew along the drawn lines.

After both lines are sewn, cut between them using your rotary cutter.

Press open your blocks. Ta da!

Sewn together these geese met up almost perfectly at the corners without any pinning or fretting from me. You can see maybe 1/16" space between mine.  That's close enough for me.

If you'd like to calculate your own Goose in the Corner, do this:
Desired finished block size: x
Size to cut foundation blocks: x + 1/2"
Size to cut goose squares: (half x) + 1/2"
My graph paper assures me this works for all size blocks. EQ7 was absolutely no help in the matter, in case you were wondering.

Are there other ways to measure and cut this block? Yes, but they didn't give as consistent results as this method, the math was trickier, and the measuring and cutting were complicated. Furthermore, I love that the above method takes care of the leftover foundation square triangle right from the outset, and you get a premade HST block for whatever you want to use them for in the future.

Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran refer to this as having a "parts department" and I love that concept. If the extra HST blocks sound like a bad thing to you, you could draw and sew only the corner to corner diagonal line, then trim 1/4" from the seam and discard the leftovers. Or you could even develop your own approach to the block!

And how about that wonky goose?
Desired finished block size: x
Size to cut foundation blocks: x + 1/2"
Size to cut squares for goose triangles: (half x) + 1 to 1.5 inches. Precision is not important. Go ahead and cut it out with scissors if you want.  Cut this square in half along the diagonal for two triangles to make two separate blocks.

I start by laying my triangle on the foundation block, angling it the way I want and making sure it extends beyond the foundation block by 1/4" or more on each edge. (oops! Fabric change!)

Then I move it about 1/2" outward, toward the corner, to allow for a seam allowance. Or, I should have moved it 1/2" outward. Looks like I only moved it 1/4" here though.

At this point I gently flip the triangle back, so the fabrics are right side together and the goose is pointing away from the corner.  I sew along the edge of the triangle with a 1/4" seam allowance.

I press the block and trim the excess goose fabric using the foundation square as my guide. Then I flip the goose back again and trim away the excess foundation fabric 1/4" away from the stitching.

Sometimes, despite taking those above steps to avoid this, I find that I just barely didn't cover the entire corner with my goose triangle. If it is just a bit off and the gap won't extend beyond the seam allowance, I usually go with it instead of redoing it. And, instead of cutting away the corner of the foundation block from underneath I leave it there, to act as my true edge when piecing.

Wonky geese may overlap or not touch each other at all. I enjoy that kind of variation.

So that's it; simple instructions for a simple block! Of course, try a practice block or two before you dive in with yards of fabric. Please feel free to ask any questions about this tutorial, I'm happy to help you enjoy this versatile block! Need ideas for using this block? See this post.


Vicki @ DottyJane said...

I love how such a simple block can make great looking quilt. Thanks for sharing!

Mama Pea said...

What a nice tutorial, and I love it when you get bonus blocks!

Clare said...

Great tutorial. I like Parts Depts!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Christina - LOVE THE TUTORIAL!! According to your formula - 5" charms and regular 1/4 yard cuts (9xWOF) should make either 8" or 8-1/2" blocks. TERRIFIC! I have been looking for a block pattern that will use regular 1/4 yard cuts - seems like most patterns these days are for fat quarters - like nothing else exists!

And - I almost spit up my coffee when I got to your line - EQ7 was absolutely no help in the matter, in case you were wondering. I'm trying to work up some "left-handed" blocks and cutting diagrams for my blog - and - I FEEL YOUR PAIN! Thanks again for sharing!

Molly said...

This block makes some awesome quilts! I'm saving this post on my tutorial board.

Gene Black said...

Great job! This will make an easy but intriguing looking quilt

Laura said...

I was so excited to find this block that I started a quilt (the top is pieced). I made my triangles a little too small and the pattern is a little hard to find. Sigh. Still love this idea and the many settings that you can use. I may need to try again!

Sarah Craig said...

Great tutorial for such a versatile block! You've got my creative wheels spinning......

Michelle said...

I think this is just the block I need to show off a great print that I didn't know what to do with. Thanks!

Thriftyideastoday said...

Very Creative...http://www.thriftyideastoday.com/

Callie Brady said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Love the block and how many quilt variations it can make.

ellen stone said...

I am bookmarking this to make a quilt for a teen boy for "Quilts for Kids". Perfect. Thanks!!!

Kathleen Stept said...

Awesome block, awesome tutorial. Thank you for sharing this!

Unknown said...

i have just happened upon your blog through the Minnesota Quilts facebook page, I am also a member of a local Quilt guild here in Sth West Sydney, Australia. I have bookmarked your blog.

LuAnn said...

Although this was more than 10 years ago, it's new to me. I saw a photo of a quilt made with the wonky goose and I've been searching for how to make it. Thanks for posting this!!

Post a Comment

I love reading your comments, thank you for coming by!