The Angler 2

on Jan 31, 2008 in Quilting | 34 comments


Flying Geese. I’ve had a very long, passionate, and distant love affair with this block. It makes me swoon each and every time I see it. Distant because I’d never made any.

I put an end to that this week. The Angler 2 was tired of sitting in its plastic bag. A demonstration by a woman in my quilt guild of this construction technique has been gnawing at me ever since I saw it. Jan posted the link to the exact same instructions when she talked about her Flying Geese, one of those rather loud, confirming signals broadcast by the universe. The final knock over my head was the flock of geese that flew over on my way to the mailbox last week. I had put off figuring out my Winter quilt design for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. All the while it was sitting right in front of me (or over me depending on how you look at it). More on that later. I need to wrap up my quilting and get that baby in the mail… yes, it’s due today.

Let’s talk about the Angler 2.

It’s a heavy plastic template that tapes to the bed of the sewing machine. The lines are imprinted at a 45 degree angle. Exactly what’s needed to make half square triangles or the Flying Geese block without marking.

For those new to the concept, the low tech approach to making half square triangles is to use a pencil to draw a 45 degree line through the corners on the wrong side of a fabric square. You then sew 1/4″ on either side of that drawn line. After sewing both sides, cut along the line and the result is two half square triangle units.

The Angler 2 eliminates the need to draw the pencil line. The template provides a guide by which the fabric is aligned in the front and the back so it feeds under the needle at the required 45 degrees.

I rate the template 5 stars, handily worth the $8.00 price tag. By aligning the block in the correct ‘going in’ position and making sure the exit corner follows the line it’s very easy to feed the blocks through in a consistent manner. It’s not a miracle gadget, it does take a little practice. Once I got the hang of it my speed increased and it was enjoyable. The blocks I created were extremely accurate. I added on the extra bit of masking tape just below the template. I originally practiced with some larger blocks and that provided needed visibility.

As a side note. The template plastic as shipped is one complete square. The instructions step you through cutting out the U-shaped piece where the presser foot sits. Be careful as you cut this out. The cut out is saved and used to align the template to the machine bed.

As I was sewing I got a little too relaxed and ran the middle finger of my left hand under the needle. It’s the first time I’ve done that after sewing on a machine for 40 years. I’m mentioning it because I want you to be careful and also especially diligent when allowing children to sew on your machine. My eyes were focused on my tails staying aligned with the outer line and not on the needle area. The needle broke off in my finger. After a lively discussion with Greg about the best tool for the job (I convinced him to use the pliers), he pulled the broken 1/2″ of steel out in one try, thanks honey. Ouch. Next time I’ll drink the shot of bourbon before the surgery. I don’t plan to repeat that mistake and hopefully it never happens to you!