How to Make Perfect Flying Geese or not

Lost in the Elevator

Lost in the Elevator

This quilt took more than a year and a half to make– from design to binding.  I started this quilt to enter the Flying Geese Challenge for last year’s QuiltCon.  (I didn’t make the November 2017 deadline).  I envisioned a quilt with perfectly-made flying geese in sizes from 18″ by 36″ to 1.5″ by 3″.  I used the No-Waste Flying Geese method to make four at a time — you can find the Flying Geese No-Waste tutorial from

After making a few of these, I got frustrated with exactness, and my need to make improv blocks took over.   In the end, this quilt represents my approach to design and quilt.  I like the mix of randomness and exactness.  The excitement of not knowing how the pieces will land makes me happy.  Finding a way to make it work together also gives me joy.  The hand quilting also shows my struggle between these competing ideas.  There is a mix of straight stitching and curved chaos.  The quilt finished at 54″ by 54″.

Since I have made a lot of Flying Geese blocks, I made a perfect points tutorial for the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild to use for this year’s QuiltCon Charity Challenge.   I’m providing that here– PERFECT POINTS TUTORIAL for flying geese.

Lost in the Elevator Detail View

Hand Quilting: that joyful process surges in popularity

SOME FOLKS believe modern quilters don’t hand sew. This is not surprising since “modern” usually means what’s popular at the moment such as the latest technology. In the case of quilters, that means long arm machines. But, hand sewing is modern because it is gaining popularity among quilters at this moment.

I JUST READ an article from the National Quilting Association titled, “Handwork makes a Comeback.” The article includes a quilt by Chawne Kimber: Wedowee. I’m a huge fan. The main point of the article was that modern handwork is innovative with “big stitching” and combining hand stitching with machine stitching.

I love hand quilting.  I use some BASIC TOOLS:  hand sewing essentials

  • Thread: 40 weight Prescencia for small stitching and 8 weight perle cotton from the same brand for big stitching.
  • Needles: Size 9 and 11 made by John James for small stitching and a variety of needles from the Big Stitch Quilting Needle Pack made by Colonial Needle Company for big stitching.
  • Notions: Small snips for clipping; sometimes bees wax, and safety pins for basting.

I use a thimble as well. I have used it for longer than I can remember. It’s essential to me.

butterfly appliqueI buy thread and notions from Hand Quilting Supplies, an online shop.

Tim Latimer is also a resource. He is an amazing hand quilter and has video tutorials. (here and here)

Quilting Adventures has a Back to Basics series, and there’s one on:

Be modern and try some hand sewing,


I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays, where incidentally she has a video on making thread knots.


Take a moment to pause.

It’s hard for me to pause. I’m in a hurry to get things done and the faster the better. But, I slow down when I hand quilt. The news is that quilters are slowing down.


Quilting Daily says it’s because the quilting frenzy of tools and fabric and social media posts are stressing us out.

One of my Book Bee participants (where we’re exploring Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting with Mindful Design ) sent me the above post. In it, the author writes:

Mindful creating, or paying close attention to what you’re doing. how you are doing it, and the materials you’re using, can help you regain the “Zen” of your favorite pastime. Not to mention how much better your results will be.

The author cites Mark Lipinski’s Slow Stitching Movement as an example of this approach. When I explored his blog, it was overwhelming. I couldn’t decide where to go first, so I just quit looking. That’s a good place to start. Just stop looking!

And, for my exploration of the chapter in Savor Each Stich, “Contrast,” I’m hand quilting my quilt. (featured photo above)

I love hand quilting. Over the last year I’ve made more than 3 million stitches on my machine trying to improve my free motion quilting. It worked. I got a lot done, but it’s time to pause and take a break from that. I’m going to take my time and not stress about my “to do list.” I’m going to pause and savor each stitch.