5.22.2009

Duck, Duck, Goose?


Corners, points, triangles are the bane of a quilters' existence.  Points as were explained to me, are actually suppose to match up. (yea, who knew?)   As any good Youtube video will explain, if you follow the pattern as written you will end up with perfectly matched corners.  Well, ok sounds simple enough.  HA!  And we are all lead astray until we realize and come to terms with the following.  All patterns are made by humans, sewn by humans and quilted by humans, and therefore are ridden with error.  Follow me for a second.  Quilters'  seams are  1/4 inch.  A measurement that surely should be indisputable.   Armed with the knowledge that all rulers are set by a standard it seems fairly obvious that a 1/4 inch is indeed 1/4 inch.  Despite this hard and clear evidence a 1/4 inch to one quilter is NEVER, let me repeat never, the same as it is to another.  It is quite like the fact that turn off the TV NOW!, to me means,  As soon as these words are spoken.  To my children it means, as soon as I acknowledge your existence.  The same, but very much different in the eye of the beholder.    This all became perfectly clear to me this past week.  With the unknown lurking before me I decided to start quilting again.  After-all it may be months until I am able to use my quilting machine again and I want to be prepared  with practice quilts.  

For this particular quilt I need to make a Flying Geese Block.  160 flying geese blocks.  I suppose this block was named for the V shape made upon completion of the block.  And because I don't think "pain in the butt block" would have taken off.
 It is really a simple block made up of squares and rectangles,  you don't even have to cut any triangles.  Yet, something very simple is rarely what it seems.  You find out quickly enough, once you start piecing and adding blocks together using your "standard" 1/4 inch seam.  You see another reason I feel this block was given this name was because well, it is mean and nasty just like a goose.  The blocks go together simply enough and then when your not looking they turn and bite you.  Coincidence, I think not.
Now to make this even more curious; when you string several flying geese blocks together you end up with the aptly named, "Wild Goose Chase." 

 A wild goose chase is defined as "a hopeless quest."  Damn.  Someone was thinkin' when they came up with that name.  It is exactly that, a hopeless quest of getting corners, points and seams to match. Try, try as I might my corners rarely match.  I tug, stretch, ease-in, rip out and finally just give up.  I end up with a lot of ducks and not so many geese.   On a rare occasion I will look and see that they did indeed match up.  And I'll think to myself "WoW!  Would you look at that!  I wonder how that happened?" I think we should have a caution block attached to all patterns which include a flying geese block that says.  Please exercise caution when sewing.  Flying geese blocks are mean, nasty and elusive as ever.
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