quilting made easy with quilt block for flying geese and half square triangle units

Flying Geese with Half Square Triangles - using waste sections

Tags: free pattern, half square triangle, how-to, patchwork, quilt block, quilting lesson

I've been updating and adding quite a few free lessons over the last couple of months and here is yet another. You can work along too and make this very cool block called Aunt Addie's Album block.

Some blocks are easier to make when you make a full unit and then cut what you need from that unit, discarding the rest. This is so with Aunt Addie's Album block. The thing is, with fabric being so expensive, most of us don't like to waste these off cuts so I created a way to use that wasted section. For this example, I'm making a 12" finished block so the wasted section is a reasonable size. 

Aunt Addies Album quilt block

Aunt Addie's Album block

Aunt Addie's Album block looks like this. Instead of cutting triangles, we can make it using all square and rectangles. This one unit is actually made like a Flying Goose unit. The only difference is, instead of plain squares added to a rectangle, we add half square triangle units instead.

flying geese units

Flying Geese unit

What do we need?

fabrics square cut out ready to begin making Aunt Addies Album block


From background fabric you need ONE 6 1/2" center square, FOUR 3 1/2" corner squares and FOUR 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles for the Flying Geese units.

For the star points you need FOUR 3 7/8" squares of two fabrics (to make half square triangles). Note: It is quite important to make these half square triangle (HST) accurate. I find cutting 4" squares and then trimming them to size is a much more accurate way to make this particular unit.

Tip: when cutting the squares from the two fabrics, lay them right sides together and cut out the two layers. By doing this, the two fabrics are already positioned together for stitching.

half square triangle units made for Aunt Addies Album block

HST units

Make EIGHT  HST units from the two star point fabrics by drawing throught the diagonal and stitching 1/4" on either side of the line. Once stitched, cut along the line. In the photo above, you can see two square sets ready to sew (left), one square drawn and stitch on either side (bottom) and the last set cut apart and pressed open to make TWO HST units (right).

Tip: I find pressing them away from the outer point fabric worked best. For example, I pressed away from the bright yellow fabric.

Your HST units should measure 3 1/2" square. Trim if necessary.

The tricky bit is next. Decide which color you want for the outer point. I chose the bright yellow. Align one edge of the outer point color (yellow for me) to one end of the background rectangle.

Align the HST to the end of one rectangle

Align the HST to the end of one rectangle

Sew through the diagonal from corner to corner, starting at the center of one long side on the rectangle. Tip: if you start at the opposite end (the corner point) the fabric tends to get pushed down with the needle as there is not enough support. Starting at the inner side is much more stable.

Sew through the diagonal in the direction of the arrow

Sew through the diagonal

Now for our fabric saving tip. Before doing any more, stitch again about 5/8" - 1/2" from the seam just sewn, on the corner side.

sew a second seam to make use of the waste fabric

Sew a second seam

Then cut between the two seam lines.

cutting between the two seams to make two units

Cut apart

Press them open. The rectangle piece is what we use for the block. The square is a bonus unit that can be used else where. I found that I can cut a 2 3/4" square as long as I had 5/8" between the seams, otherwise you could easily cut a 2 1/2" square.

two units made from one pieced section

Makes two units

These bonus squares are great for all sorts of things. You could use them in the border or as corner stones in sashing or you would use them to piece together the backing or for a label.

To finish the unit, you need to add another HST to the other end of the flying geese unit. Be careful you get this around the correct way. The two inner triangles should be the same color. Repeat above stitching a second seam to make another spare unit.

adding a second half square triangle to finish off flying geese unit

Add a second HST

Now the unit is complete. With each unit comes two bonus squares.

making one unit for Aunt Addies Album creates two bonus units

One Flying Geese unit and two bonus squares

Once all four units are made, lay them out ready to stitch in rows.

All pieces laid out ready to sew together to make Aunt Addies Album block

Lay units and squares out ready to sew together

Stitch them together and then stitch the rows together to complete you block. 

Aunt Addie's Album block

Aunt Addie's Album block

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