BLOCK Friday: Flying Geese Units – Fons & Porter

The Flying Geese quilt unit is one of the most well-known units used in different quilt blocks with different quilt block names in the quilting world. (That was a mouth full, wasn’t it?) In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a quilter worth their salt that wasn’t familiar with the Flying Geese unit. Quilters, we can’t go wrong with traditional methods used in traditional quilt blocks; they’re tried and true. So, just how long has the Flying Geese unit been around?

According to the American Folk Art Museum, the Flying Geese pieced-quilt design has been an American favorite since the 1700s. You can catch variations of Flying Geese in chintz quilts from around the same time period – chintz referring to “a large-scale print, usually finished with a glaze, that is suitable for furnishings such as drapery and upholstery.” Traditional chintz quilts consist of “bedcovers made of cut-out and appliquéd pieces of fabric, quilts composed entirely of pieced scraps, and textiles that combine the two techniques.” But, today, as you know, chintz quilts are more of an historical artifact. We tend to use lovely cottons for our textiles to piece those 12-inch quilt blocks (or whatever finished block size you choose). Let’s take a look at what the Flying Geese unit has to offer us today.

Variation of the Flying Geese unit – the Dutchman’s Puzzle:




The Dutchman’s Puzzle is a 4-patch design that uses 4 pairs of small Flying Geese units. The completed design looks like a Dutch windmill.




Here is a quilt called Flying Dutchman that uses the Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt block:

Flying Dutchman Quilt
Flying Dutchman Quilt

Quick Piecing Method for Flying Geese Units:

This free Sew Easy tutorial makes learning about making quick-pieced flying geese units simple. Make four perfect flying geese units without ever having to cut a triangle. Also, measurement calculations are provided to help you make flying geese in any size you need. The Prussian Blue quilt shown below is a perfect example of putting this method into practice.

Sew Easy - Flying Geese Units
Sew Easy – Quick-Pieced Flying Geese
Prussian Blue Quilt
Prussian Blue Quilt

Mix and Match: Flying Geese Units and Triangle-Squares:

A throw-size patchwork quilt like Bows and Braids is a Flying Geese quilt with a twist. Combining just a couple of different units, or quilt blocks, together in one quilt can make for some pretty incredible designs.

Bows and Braids Quilt

There are so many ways you can use Flying Geese units to make quilts of interest. What’s your favorite Flying Geese design? Leave a comment and let us know!

Oh! If you’re looking for some extra help getting those wings clipped just right or measuring for the perfect Flying Geese unit, there are some rulers below that might appeal to you.

ProfilePicHappy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter Online Editor



Tools for the Flying Geese Enthusiast:

Other topics you may enjoy:

Leave a Reply