Everybody is probably already familiar with this method: Draw the lines corner to corner on the squares, place a square on each end of the rectangle, stitch on the line, trim and press.
Unless you love to work with itty bitty pieces, chances are those extra little triangles that were just cut off are going to end up in the trash. Yes, you could sew them together and press them into miniature half square triangles, but will you really? I know I won't, so into the wastebasket they go.
My friend Dawna Harrison, owner of Bolts in the Bathtub, my fabulous local quilt shop in Lancaster CA, showed me a better way to cut and sew these so that I get many more flying geese from the same amount of fabric without wasting those bits.
The ruler I'm using for this is the Companion Ruler to the EZ Angle, but there are a lot of rulers out there with these same angles. You cut out one triangle and then rotate the ruler to match up with the cut side of the strip and cut the next one. You keep rotating the ruler back and forth until you have cut all of your triangles from the strip.
Now it is time to cut out the white pieces that would have been 2-1/2" squares. For this, I'm using the Easy Angle. I'm doing the same thing -- cutting a piece and rotating the ruler. To save some cutting time, I usually stack two or three strips together while I'm doing this step.
Then sew it up and I have my flying geese!
Okay, now let's look at the math:
Using the rectangle and squares method, I can cut 9 rectangles and 16 squares from each strip. That's enough for 8 flying geese with a rectangle left over, so I would just cut more white strips to make more squares.
Using Dawna's method, I can cut 14-15 of the larger triangles from each strip (mathematically, based on a 42" strip I thought I would get 14, but I got 15 out of the strips I was using from a Moda jelly roll) and 24-26 (I got 26) of the side pieces, enough to make at least 12 flying geese and, in my case, 13.
So lots more flying geese from the same amount of fabric -- enough to either make a really cool pieced backing for my quilt, add another border or use for another quilt. Just from cutting a different way!
And yet another way to do flying geese (and my absolute favorite way) is with a little help from a laser! There's also this way to do them which is pretty much the same, but just without help from the laser.
Any way you do it, flying geese are fun and beautiful.