Brown Goose Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Brown Goose Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 75" x 75"
Jenny demonstrates how to make a beautiful Brown Goose quilt using 10 inch squares of precut fabric (layer cakes). For this project, she chose Heart to Heart Batiks Stacks by Kathy Engle for Island Batik. The Brown Goose is a favorite antique block that dates back to the 1800s. It is also known as the Double Z quilt, the Devil's Claws quilt, and the Gray Goose quilt. This quick and easy old fashioned block comes together easy-as-pie with simple half square triangles.
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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the MSQC. Take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this a great project? Now this quilt has a bit of a history. It’s an old block. The first known quilt of this type was made in the early 1800’s, I think 1840 maybe. Anyway it’s called the Brown Goose. Although you know like many quilt blocks it has many, many names. But in honor of that first quilt, we are calling ours the Brown Goose quilt as well. So to make this quilt you’re going to need one packet of ten inch squares. And we have used these beautiful island batik ten inch squares. And it’s Heart to Heart by Kathy Engle for Island Batik fabrics. You’re going to also need a pack of white squares that are the same size. So we’re one for one on this so whatever size you use we’re one for one. So this outer border right here, you’ll notice we don’t have an inner border out here because we have plenty of white to make that up. Our outer border is a yard and a quarter and that’s a nice big six inch border. And our backing is 4 ¾ yards and I don’t know if you can see but it has little hearts in the batiks. And the quilting pattern is also hearts. And so this makes a darling, darling little pattern. Anyway let me show you how to make this because it’s super easy and it was one of my favorites for sure.

Now in this block right here I can see so many things because these are half square triangles. And so I could see butterflies; I can see hearts if you turned it the other way. You know, I mean there’s lots of ways that you could utilize this block differently so don’t be afraid to play with that. So to make this block you’re going to need 16 half square triangles. We’re going to use the easy eight method. And so we’re going to make eight out of each set of ten inch squares. So to do that what we’re going to do is we are going to take our ruler. And we’re going to lay it side to side. I’m going to grab a pen. And we’re just going to draw a line side to side on this. And move this out of the way right here. And there’s our one way and we’re going to go the other way as well. So two diagonal lines. And I slid off the corner. I kind of slid off the corner of this one a little bit too so I’m just going to make this one come in just a little bit. There we go.

Now we’re going to sew on both sides of these lines. And so we’re going to go to the sewing machine and we’re going to just line up our presser foot on either side and sew a quarter of an inch on both sides. We’re going to sew down and we’re just going to flip it around and come up the other side. Then what we’re going to do is we’re going to come up this side as well. So move over to the other side, sew down. And this is a great way to make half square triangles and you will get eight. Alrighty. So now that we’ve sewn our eight and you can see, we sewed them on there just like that. And we’re going to cut this now and we cut it first in half both directions because we don’t have a line there. And I actually am going to need a rotary cutter to cut this, not a pen. So I’m going to grab my rotary cutter and I’m going to cut it in half both directions like this and then lay my ruler on here. Now this is my five inch ruler and it works perfect with the pre cuts because you just lay it right on the edge. And then we’re going to come over and we’re going to cut it diagonally here both directions. I love working with old quilt blocks that have been made before because I am certain that they did not do it this way. We’ve come a long way in that regard. But I just love making them new again. Alright so now we have eight half square triangles like this.

Now there’s several ways to square these. If you want to use the clearly perfect slotted trimmer you’re going to leave your blocks closed like this. We want them to measure 4 ½ inches so we’re squaring them to 4 ½. So we’re going to line up their stitch line with our stitch line and we’re just going to trim both sides like this. Trim, trim. And then it has these little slots on the corners so you cut your dog ears off right here. And I’m going to do that to a few and then I’m going to show you how to use a regular square as well. Because not everybody has one of these nifty tools. But this was a, I love this tool because it made sense to my brain. And you want to remember that too. If you have a tool that makes sense to your brain it’s going to go a lot easier for you because some of us will struggle, struggle to use a tool. And if you have to struggle or if you have to put tape or you have to draw that sharpie line it’s probably not the right tool for your brain. And there are loads of tools out there so just find one that works for you. So one more this way and then I will show you how to square them the other way. And you’re going to sew two sets of ten inch blocks. Now ours are matching so our ten inch square pack happened to have two of every color and so I kept my blocks uniform. You could scrap this up if you want and it would be darling. But because I knew I had two of each piece I went ahead and kept the colors together.

Alright now on these last ones if you’re going to square a block with a square you need to iron them open. So we’re going to iron to the dark side here, get this apart, there we go. And I’m just going to roll that back. So what I’m going to do right here is I’m going to flip these over, I’m going to set all these seams just with some heat, relax that thread and then I’m going to roll these back like this. And always keeping my seam in the middle to the dark side. When you’re working with a white background and colors that are this deep and vibrant, you want to make sure that you iron to the dark side so that the color doesn’t show through on the back side. Alright so this is my square and this happens to be a block that will work with any square that has a diagonal on it. And we’re going to put it this way and we’re going to measure the 4 ½ right here and we’re just going to trim around the side like this. Now one of the things about this is sometimes your squares aren’t exactly square and so you might have to trim all four sides. See this one just has a hair, look at, you know, that’s all we got right there. So that’s not much. Alright so we’re going to do this. Now the trick with the bloc loc, it has this little shaved edge here in the middle and so it can snug right up to that seam in the middle. And it just is nice because it doesn’t go anywhere. This is one I’m also going to have to do both sides. But the way I remember when I use the bloc loc on this is that the words always go on my background fabric. If I were to turn this around and try and do it, it’s not at all going to work. And so you’ll know something is up. So I’m going to turn this block now and keep my words to the background. Slide it up to the 4 ½ and then I’m going to trim that off right there. Alright. We got this one here. See how close we are. We’re pretty close. There we go. Flip it around. Now it actually took me a long time to square my blocks because none of the tools out there made sense to me. I couldn’t figure it out on a normal ruler and I’m not sure why but it just didn’t make sense to my brain. So now that I have these tools I square my blocks because when you square them they go together, they fit together just perfectly and your quilt is going to look a lot more neat. Alright now these over here that we squared with the clearly perfect slotted trimmer we’re going to want to iron open. So I’m going to set that seam and then flip these back. You can see both methods work perfectly. And this is eight of them and we need 16 and I made some ahead of time so we’re ready to go.

Now this is the block right here that we’re talking about. And what I like to do is I like to look at the pieces that are going to be easy for me to put together and so I know that these pieces where the color comes together, I’m going to do four of those. And so I’m just going to take my squares over to the table and I’m going to sew four of these like that together. And so these are just little, you know, this is the way my brain works to put it together. You may want to lay the whole thing out and put it together. But I like to lay them so they line up exactly and so I know I need four of those. So I’ve got one. There’s my second one. And I’m sewing some of these from the bottom to the top and some from the top to the bottom. It’s probably easier to come from the bottom to the top. But it doesn’t matter. Alright, so now I have four of these. I’m going to clip these apart. And then I’m going to press these open. I just want them to lay nice and flat. There we go. So you’re going to actually need 16 of these. This is eight and I happen to have eight more made.

So let’s layout the block and let me show you how this works. So I’m going to start here in this corner with this block. And then with this one we’re going to go up and we’re going to go color up. And then we’re going to go color down like this so it makes this little rounded curve. And then on this side we’re going to do the same only it’s going to be opposite. It’s going to be mirrored. This one has color down and then this one comes with the color up, to the left. And so on the bottom we have our two peaks over here. And then we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to go color in and color out. And you’ll have to translate in, out, up, down for yourself, whatever it means to your brain. I talk to myself a lot when I’m doing this kind of thing. And so I have to make it, you know, I have to figure it out in my own brain. There is our block. Very cute. They look like eights to me. They look like butterflies to me. They’re half hearts. They’re, I mean they’re just so many cute things that you can do with this.

So now what we’re going to do is we’re going to sew this together in rows. I’m just going to sew my top two together. And then my second row is all still in half square triangles . So I will need to sew those together like this. Fold it over. And then we want to do the same thing with this other row right here so I’m just folding that on top of itself because I know it’s right. And then I’m going to add these two to each other. But because I’m so angley challenged I’m going to have to actually lay them out and make sure I’m still getting it right. Because it’s way easier to check than it is to rip. We don’t want to rip if we don’t have to. Alright. Alright so we’re going to lay this row in and we’re going to do the same thing on the next row. So two and two. Make sure they’re lined up. This is a really beginner friendly quilt. It’s, you know, you’re sewing seams. There’s not a whole lot of matching that has to happen. And it’s just going to go together really quick. My thread came undone. But we can fix that. There we go. Alright now I believe this is over here, but let’s make sure. Just like that. Alright sew these two together. And then once I finish a block I put it up on my board which is directly in my line of sight so that I have a pattern to follow every other block. I always do that. Because otherwise I can get myself turned around so easily. Now these two can just go together like this. And now we are ready to assemble our rows.

And so what I’m going to do is I’m just going to lay this row on top of this row. Now wherever these seams come together these are all 4 ½ inch blocks, all the same size so you want to match at every little junction, you want them to nest together. So I’m going to take a few little anchoring stitches to start right here, just to get my needle on there. And I’m going to match up at this first little junction. Sew to there, stop, line up the next one. And when I line up, what I’m doing is I’m pressing one seam one direction and one seam the other so that they nest together nice, you can feel with your finger if it’s overlapping or if there’s fabric in between. You just want to make sure that they’re real snug together in there. And then I’m going to add this next row to this. And we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to take a few anchoring stitches. And I did back tack a little bit on that edge. Make sure these line up. Now if you want to use pins and you want to pin all these, please feel free to do that. There’s a lot of security in that. And it’s not, you know, you’ve just got to do what makes you feel comfortable. I am not necessarily a pinner but I am friends with a lot of pinners. Alright I’m going to line this up here. And line up my middle, nest it. When you’re sewing a row, it’s always easiest for the bottom seam to face you and the top seam to go forward because you can manipulate that with your fingers. And sew across there like that. And just like that our block is done.

Let’s press it. Now you’ll notice I’m pressing from the top. I like to press from the top. I want a nice flat block. No seams that have pleats in them or that are, you know, I just don’t want any pleats or any folds in my seams. But what I’ll do next is I’ll flip this over and I will make sure that my seams, like if I have a seam, you know, like this one, I can press it over to the side. Now this one right here has a little twist in it. And what I do, if that bothers me, only if that bothers me, I can clip this little edge right here, not to the stitch. Don’t clip your stitch, but just clip the little edge. And then I can make that lay over so that it goes the way I want it to. And this one is the same. So it’s halfway, one side and then the other. I’m just going to clip that. Now if you press ahead of time, the way to achieve that ahead of time is that you’re going to press one row this way, one row that way, one row this way, one row that way. But I have never been, you know, I’m not too worried about the pressing part of it. I’m looking for a flat block. My feeling on pressing is that if anybody ever looks inside your quilt to see which way you pressed they are not your friend. So that’s my theory on pressing. So here’s your block right here.

You can see how it fits into the quilt. You just sew them right together. We’ve got one, two, three, four across and four down. So there are 16 blocks. This is a big 16 ½ inch block and when you put them together you’re literally just going to sew blocks together like this. So we’ve got the black, the red, oh a black one here. You’re just literally going to sew them together in a row, then sew your rows together. We don’t even have a sashing out here. Add your border and you are good to go. This makes a darling little quilt. I hope you use your imagination and, you know, come up with some other uses for it. We’re ever so grateful for those first quilters, you know, that started making these blocks that we can share, literally hundreds of years later. So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Brown Goose quilt from the MSQC.

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