A group of fellow bloggers in Australia and New Zealand met through the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop and decided to organise an antipodean round robin: Possum Magic. Two of the Possum Magic girls are taking part in this week’s hop: Jo of Riddle and Whimsy and Wendy of Wendy’s Quilts and More. Both, and many of the other blog hoppers, share helpful sewing tips, so hop on over and find out more!
As my contribution to the round robin, I made a leaf-inspired quilt block, which has now been added to by Jane of Where Jane Creates and Make Modern magazine. (I love what she has done to my block!) In turn, I was given Serena of Sew Giving’s circle of geese block to play with.
In a lucky coincidence, Serena lives near me. Really close, in fact. When she dropped the block off and we met for the first time, I knew straightaway what I wanted to do: add more geese. I was not sure that I could pull it off, but I was going to try. So I drew what I call my ‘Circle of Geese Expansion Pack’ pattern, pulled a mountain of fabric out of the cupboard and got to work.
The original pattern is the ‘Circle of Geese’ pattern by Piece by Number. I have used it myself in the past to make a cushion. It is a free pattern, but you should check out the rest of the amazing range of foundation paper piecing patterns available from Piece by Number. I think my favourite is the frog … or the snowmen.
I have put myself on a bit of a fabric diet from 1 July until the New Year, but luckily I was able to buy some of the same background fabric that Serena used before my diet started, even if the postman delivered it a few days later. The round robin rules encourage us to use what we have in our stash, but none of my grey fabrics looked right and I really wanted the effect to be seamless, so I bought a yard online. I know I will use the leftover bits as it is such a versatile print.
When I finished adding my border, I did a happy dance around the house. Fortunately, my husband was out so no one was at home to witness the daggy dancing display. Well, my dog saw it, but she always wiggles her bottom in gleeful abandon, so I think she thinks I was behaving normally.
I am eager to see what Jane does with it next. I think she will agree that we have enough geese now. I could be wrong.
We had some gloomy, rainy, stormy weather as I sewed, so the light is not terribly good in the photos. Coincidentally, Serena’s block tells a story about some geese circling in the rain and a rainbow. I have not figured out the plot details yet, and I am still waiting on the rainbow!
How to make this block
If you would like to recreate this effect, check out the Piece by Number site and download Beth’s free pattern for the centre. Then, download, print and copy my templates. You will need four copies each of my pieces A and B. I have made a template that prints on A3 paper and another that can be printed at home on A4 and then taken to a photocopier to be enlarged. When you have printed (and enlarged if necessary), check that the test square is 1 inch and that the short end of each piece measures 6 inches between the seam allowances (or 6½ inches from cutting line to cutting line) before you start cutting and sewing.
I made one set of freezer-paper templates for each piece to help me cut my fabric with the grain running in the right direction. Not everyone does this, but I find it helpful. I have all the raindrops pointing in the same direction!
I used two-thirds of a yard of the background fabric for the border I added, so approximately one yard (or one metre) should be plenty for the whole 24-inch combined block: centre and border.
If you are not confident with Y-seams, which are needed in the corners of my border, you might find the Fat Quarter Shop’s tutorial on mitring borders helpful. You will not need their handy formula or cutting techniques, but you will want to check out how they stitch the corners as that is what I did.
I left the paper on until I had trimmed the block to 24½ inches. I then ripped out the paper (huge mess) and gave it a good steam iron, and it sat beautifully flat.
If you have any questions, please ask!