Goose in the Pond Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

The Goose in the Pond quilt block tutorial starts here

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Grid: 5x5

A Goose in the Pond quilt block is much simpler to make that it looks at first glance.

It's a wonderful block to practice the basics—9 patches, quick pieced half square triangles and Rail Fences—blocks you learned to make in our Beginner Quilt Blocks series or other beginning quilting classes.

Like so many blocks, this one has many aliases which include: Gentleman's Fancy, Geometric Garden, Mrs. Wolf's Red Beauty, Patchwork Fantasy, Scrap Bag, Unique Nine Patch, and Young Man's Fancy.

It's time to get busy before this Goose is cooked! :D

General Instructions

All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4" and are pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.

I choose to pre-wash and starch my quilt fabrics before cutting. This removes any dirt and gunk left from overseas shipping or the quilt shop and makes the fabric especially easy to sew with.

Step 1: Cut the Goose in the Point patches

Goose in the Pond quilt block designGoose in the Pond design

As the block size increases, you can use larger and larger prints more effectively.

For a 7-1/2" Goose in the Pond, I suggest using fabrics with small scale patterns or tone-on-tones that 'read' as a solid or just plain solids. That way you don't loose any of the points in this patchwork design.

Strips for the Rail Fence and 9-patches are cut 1" longer than needed so you can straighten the edges for cutting.

Squares for HSTs in the chart are the exact measurement and are noted with **. (See my note below the chart before cutting.)

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Goose in the Pond Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
7½" 15” 30”
1 Background 5 2” x 2” 3½" x 3½" 6½" x 6½"
2** Background 6 2⅜" x 2⅜" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 6⅞" x 6⅞"
3** A 6 2⅜" x 2⅜" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 6⅞" x 6⅞"
4 A 2 1” x 13” 1½" x 21” 2½" x 37”
5 Background 1 1” x 13” 1½" x 21” 2½" x 37”
6 Background 2 1” x 9” 1½" x 13” 2½" x 21”
7 A 1 1” x 9” 1½" x 13” 2½" x 21”
Unfinished Block Size 8” 15½" 30½"
Trim HSTs to... 2” x 2” 3½" x 3½" 6½" x 6½"
Grid Size 1½" 3” 6”

**I added an extra ¼” to these patches and then cut them, i.e. for the 15" finished block the 3⅞" x 3⅞" square was cut at 4⅛"x4⅛”. After stitching the HSTs are trimmed to the measurement in the 'Trim HSTs to...' row.

Step 2: Assemble the basic units

Half square triangle unit

Half Square Triangles (HST)

Make 12

Since we're using the Quick Pieced Half Square Triangle method, mark a diagonal line on the back of the light #2 squares with a pencil.

Layer a marked #2 and a #3 square with right sides together (RST). Stitch a 1/4" away from the line on both sides.

For larger squares, it's helpful to pin the layers together to keep them from shifting as you sew.

To make half square triangles, stitch a 1/4I like to use my standard quarter inch presser foot for this step.

Cut each pair of squares apart between the two lines of stitching. Press, with SA to the dark.

If you cut your patches oversized, you'll need to trim them. Use the 'Trim HSTs to...' row in the Cutting Chart to find this measurement.

If you cut your patches exactly as listed in the chart, the finished HSTs should equal this same measurement.

Repeat for the remaining #2 and #3 squares for a total of 12 HSTs.

Rail Fence units

Rail Fence

Make 4

For this step, you can see in the photo below that I've switched to my 1/4" foot with a guide. Between this guide and using starched fabric, sewing a perfect quarter inch SA is a breeze!

With RST stitch the #4 and #5 strips together.

I prefer to press after adding each strip because it's so much easier. If you find yourself frequently getting tucks at the seam allowance try fingerpressing the seam allowance before using your iron.

Sew the strips togther in pairs, press and then add the final strip to each strip set.Sewing with my quarter inch foot with a guide—perfect for piecing strips!

Add the third strip, alternating lights and darks. Press.

Straighten one short edge of the #4/#5/#4 strip set by aligning a line on your ruler with one of the seam lines. Trim away only as much as needed for a straight cut.

Using the chart below, find your Goose in the Pond's finished size. Subcut the needed patches.

SUBCUTS for #4/#5/#4 Strip Set
Cut Finished Size of the Goose in the Pond Quilt Block
7-1/2” 15” 30”
4 2” x 2” 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” 6-1/2” x 6-1/2”
4 1” x 2” 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” 2-1/2” x 6-1/2”

After subcutting, we have 4 Rail Fences (left), four centers for our nine-patches in the next step and a wee bit of scrap.

Nine patch units

Nine Patches

Make 4

With right sides together, stitch the #6 and #7 strips together. Alternate light and dark. Press after adding each strip.

Straighten the short end of the strip set. (See below)

Using the chart below, find the finished block size. Make your subcuts.

SUBCUTS for #6/#7/#6 Strip Set
Cut Finished Size of the Goose in the Pond Quilt Block
81” x 2”1-1/2” x 3-1/2”2-1/2” x 6-1/2”

These are the patches with just a bit left over.

The outside patches for the Nine-patch units.

Lay out two #4/#5/#4 and a #6/#7/#6  as show below.

With RST stitch one of each together, press with the SA toward the center.

Add the remaining #4/#5/#4. Press again with SA to the middle.

Repeat with the remaining units to make 4 nine patch blocks.

Step-by-step for constructing a 9-patch

Step 3: Assemble the Goose in the Pond units

We assemble our Goose in the Pond as an uneven 9 patch. To do so, first we much construct corner and side subunits.


Corner unit 1

Make 4

Make 4

Each corner is stitched and pressed exactly the same—I promise, the seams will nest for easy matching.

With RST, stitch two HSTs together, pressing the SA toward the dark.

With RST, stitch the dark edge of a HST to a nine patch, pressing the SA toward the nine patch.

Construct the corner units from half square triangles and Rail Fence units.Press the seams in the direction of the red arrows.

With RST, join the two units together to form a corner. The seams nest.

To make sure the points match, I always use pins. My favorites are IBC's Glass Head Silk Pins. They are 1-3/8" long with a glass head and a super-fine 0.5mm shaft. Because they're so fine, there's little distortion when you pin match your points.

Yes, they ARE expensive as pins go.

Yes, you will need to replace them periodically. Since they're so fine, they will bend over time.

However, they ARE the perfect pin for the job.

To finish this corner unit, press with the SA toward the nine-patch. Repeat for a total of four corners.

Side units
Make 4


Make 4

With RST, stitch a #1 background square to the dark side of a Rail Fence unit.

Press the SA away from the Rail Fence.

Repeat for the three remaining pairs.

Step 4: Assemble your Goose in the Pond quilt block

Lay out the corners, sides and cut patch into three rows—this is an uneven 9-patch formation—to form the Goose in a Pond design.

Stitch the pieces in each row together, pressing the SA toward the Rail on the top and bottom rows and out in the center.

And finally, stitch the three rows together.

After one final press (check out this wickedly simple pressing technique—it tames even the lumpiest of blocks!) your Goose in the Pond quilt block is finished!

Quilters have pressing matters!

Like most quilters, once your most recent quilt is bound, you're surely itchin' to start the next one.

Use our Free Quilt Block Patterns library to help you brainstorm for your next project.

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

Can you tell?

It's in color.

It's got a ton of blocks.

What's not to love?

Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.

This book is no longer in print.

If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on

UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020. 

However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.

This is terrific news.

Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.

Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.


Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!

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