Bias Tape Block

Bias Tape Class Sample
Bias Tape Class Sample

I added this bias tape to my syllabus. My current students are very gung ho and want to learn more. I had gotten it to the point where I had all the bias tape pinned down, but hadn’t finished the sewing until the weekend.

I had a couple of small half finished projects laying around and they were annoying, so I just took the time to finish them.

I am pleased with how it came out and will probably use this block again when teaching.

I also used Saral Transfer Paper, because it is a great way to trace and transfer at the same time without using something like a Frixon pen or the blue pen that may come back to haunt me later. Saral paper is super old school, but works amazingly well. I couldn’t find the pack I had so I bought a variety pack, which means that I can use it on different colors of fabric.

I recently bought a tracing stylus to use with the Saral. This made Saral paper even more awesome. The stylus has a ball on the end and won’t rip through the relatively thin Saral paper. I can’t believe how smoothly it worked.

Using bias tape with Red Scribbles and now this block have made me rethink its usefulness and how I can use it in other pieces.







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Spiky 16 Patch Tutorial

This is more of a guideline than a tutorial. It will teach you how to make the Spiky 16 Patch block in a general way. You will need to review the Studio180 video and know how to do basic piecing.

This block is my own design and uses Half Rectangle Triangles (HRTs) and 2.5 inch squares to make a 16 inch (finished) block. I have used these blocks to make a number of donation quilts.


  • Fabric:
    • 16-2.5 inch squares
    • 8 -2.5 inch squares for foreground
    • 8-2.5 inch squares for background
    • 5 inch strip of foreground – you’ll have to work through what width you need. I use scraps, so I don’t know the exact length
    • 5 inch strip of background fabric
    • Background fabric for corner squares
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary cutting ruler large enough to cut 5 inch strips
  •  Split Recs ruler** (By Deb Tucker)
  • Optional: 4.5 x 8.5 inch Creative Grids ruler** to cut smaller squares
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press (or similar)
  • Optional: pins
  • sharp trimmers or scissors
  • thread for piecing
  • Iron
  • ironing surface
  • sewing machine in good working order
  • Computer or other device capable of viewing YouTube
  • Internet connection

Fabric Units Needed

This is a repeat of above, but with, perhaps, some additional information

  • 8 – 2.5 inch squares (unfinished) from background fabrics
  • 8 – 2.5 inch squares (unfinished) from foreground fabrics
  • 8 – 2 inch x 4 inch (finished) left facing half rectangle triangles (half foreground and half background)
  • 8 – 2 inch x 4 inch (finished) right facing half rectangle triangles (half foreground and half background)
  • 4 – 4.5 inch (unfinished)  squares from background fabrics

Center of block:

Take your 2.5 inch squares and sew them into 4- 4 patches

Blue Square Donation Block
Blue Square Donation Block

Sew your 4 patches together into a 16 patch as shown above.

I start with 5″ strips for the 2 in x 4 in (finished) HRTs. Remember: I am using the Split Recs ruler and it uses that size strip for the HRTs. You can make your HRTs using whatever method is convenient. Make sure they end up 2 inch x 4 inch finished.

It is really important to take the time to look at the Studio180 Split Recs video. It will make your life a lot easier.

Cut and trim HRTs using Split Recs ruler
Cut and trim HRTs using Split Recs ruler

Following the directions in the video, cut, sew and trim your HRT pieces:

  • 8 right facing triangles
  • 8 left facing triangles
Spiky Star in progress
Spiky Star in progress

Once you have sewn and trimmed your HRTs place them with your 16 patch, like the photo above. Note: until you sew the HRTs together, the laid out block will look uneven as my example above shows. The bottom left hand HRTs are already sewn together and you can see how they fit nicely next to the squares in the 16 patch.

Spiky Star laid out
Spiky Star laid out

Cut 4 corner squares from background fabric 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Sometimes I use a variety of background fabrics when I am cutting from scraps. It adds interest to the block. Just make sure you have enough contrast.

Group of 4 HRTs
Group of 4 HRTs

Start sewing your HRTs together into groups of 4.


Sew HRT units to center 16 Patch
Sew HRT units to center 16 Patch

Once I have the four HRT units, I sew one to each side, starting with the sides. Above shows the center block with two HRT groups of 4 sewn to the sides.

Group of 4 HRTs with background squares
Group of 4 HRTs with background squares

Once part of the block is made, I start making the last two sections, the top and the bottom.

Take one HRT section and sew it to a 4.5 x 4.5 background square. Sew the second background square to the other side of the HRT section. Do this step again for the top.

Spiky Star - 3 sections
Spiky Star – 3 sections

You will end up with 3 sections.

Complete Spiky Star block
Complete Spiky Star block

Sew one HRT/background square section to the top and then sew the second section to the bottom of the center section.  Once you have done this, press and your block is complete.

There are other ways to make the HRTs for this block. This is the method I use. Take a look at the Spiky 16 Patch blocks and quilts I have made using this technique.




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A Few More Donation Blocks

I haven’t been working on donation blocks lately, for the most part, but I have made a few.

For the moment, these are earmarked for the quilt I plan to make with a bunch of different colors of strip blocks. I may have mentioned it before, but I don’t remember. I had a few leftover blocks from the other Color Strip projects, so I thought a multi-colored quilt would be a good idea. I am collecting blocks right now as I make the other donation quilts. I have a ways to go before I can put a quilt together. I haven’t done pink or yellow and and I have more green scraps so I can make some green blocks.

More Donation Blocks

I made more donation blocks before I started working on the Charming Donation Top.

I am pretty pleased with the colors. I decided that I would try to use the donation blocks in a quilt top. The guild is still keeping up with making quilts, but moving them between people is harder and giving out packages of blocks isn’t working very well. It is easier for the Community Giving team to provide a quilt to be quilted. We’ll see how this works.

New Donation Blocks

9 donation blocks
9 donation blocks

While I began sewing FOTY 2019, I used some 2.5 inch squares as leaders and enders.

I realized as I was making them, that there is no rhyme or reason to the color scheme. I don’t have enough of one color to really do anything with the blocks.

The problem is also that making blocks when people can’t get a set at the meeting doesn’t help Peggy with Community Giving.

Looking at them now, I could make another 16 Patch Plus quilt top like I made for Peggy last weekend. I could use the black blocks for the outer legs of the Plus and a red one for the center block. The 16 Patch Plus tops turn out so small, though, and I really prefer making larger quilts.

Most of the Traffic Jam #2

I have all of the Traffic Jam #2 blocks done. That doesn’t mean I am able to show you them all, but most are available for viewing. Somehow I am missing 5 of the blocks

Now I need to find some sashing fabric and put the top together. I think I’d like to try making one of these tops with a darker background. Not necessarily black, but with a color rather than just white.

Traffic Jam #2

Traffic Jam 2- Block #1
Traffic Jam 2- Block #1

First, I started sewing more 16 patch donation blocks with the leftovers from the last Stepping Stones n.2 quilt I made last year. Then I looked at the two most recent 16-patch donation blocks I made and realized that the group of fabrics would make another great Traffic Jam donation quilt.

I made a number of 4 patches and just let them pile up. After awhile, as I was sewing other things, I finally started putting the blocks together. As I may have mentioned, Tim already quilted the last one and this is such a great pattern that I did want to do it again. I wasn’t planning to do it so soon, but here we are.

The leftover 2.5 inch squares from the Stepping Stones n.2 quilt plus some dots are looking fresh and bright. This will have to be another girl quilt, I think, as it doesn’t look very boyish.

July 2020 Donation Blocks

I just keep making donation blocks. Some of these 16 patches look really weird. Mostly that is because at the beginning of the month I was getting to the bottom of the donation patch bin. I know Peggy will find a good way to use them regardless of how they look. Eventually, I cut some cream background fabrics, so the blocks don’t look as weird. Still, I worked on other things, like finishing the Blue Strip #2 donation top,  and didn’t make as many blocks this month.  I sent her the 50 or so blocks I made last week, so I don’t have any blocks right now.

Blue Strip #2 Donation Blocks

Blue Color Strip #2 Donation Blocks
Blue Color Strip #2 Donation Blocks

By piecing FOTY 2018 together I was able to get the blocks for my next blue color strip donation quilt finished.

I know I have used a large portion of blue scraps, but I still have a full blue scrap drawer.  A lot of them are small or not strips, so I will be making a blue improv version next, though I still have to sash this one. I used yellow for the last one, which was unique. I am thinking about white, but that might be too conventional or too boring. I haven’t started cutting sashing, because I don’t know what to use.

June Donation Blocks

More blocks for June! I really scraped the bottom of the donation patch bin at the beginning of the month, so some blocks look a little strange. It was good to clear out that bin and start afresh.

New Donation Blocks

New Blue Strip Donation Blocks
New Blue Strip Donation Blocks

I started sewing some strips together and now I have started another donation quilt in the Color Strips & Chunks series.

It started sort of accidentally. I had a few strips left from a box that was stashed behind my old design wall. They were on my sewing table, so I sewed them together when I needed a leader or ender. Then, I opened my blue scrap drawer, which is not noticeably less full despite the last blue strip quilt I made, and used strips to make more blocks. I am pretty sure I have at least two more quilts in that drawer.

I am out of background fabrics for 16 patches, so this is a good way to use up scraps and have something for leaders and enders.

Plaid Determination

I am determined to use up the plaid. I used a good deal of it for the Plaid Block Party quilt for my cousin, but I still have some. Thus, I am making another donation top with the rest.

Plaid Remnants
Plaid Remnants

I am using the same Block Party pattern. I am using that pattern because it is easy and I had a number of leftover pieces that I wanted to use. I haven’t had much time to sew during the week, so I only have parts made. I am using these blocks as leaders and enders while I work on the Inside Outside Pouch.

More Plaid

6 Plaid Blocks
6 Plaid Blocks

I am well on my way to having the top of the Plaid Quilt finished.

I spent concentrated time last weekend sewing these blocks and finished all I need for the quilt top.

5 Plaid Blocks
5 Plaid Blocks

As mentioned, these blocks are quick to put together, but a binding and back also need to be done.

We’ll see how I do without a design wall. My felt is still in transit and will arrive next week.

May Donation Blocks

As I did last month and for previous months, I made more donation blocks. After April’s work, I had a stack of 24 blocks. Now I have XX. Peggy, the community quilt organizer for BAM, I hope, will be happy.

Sewing the Windmill means that I was also churning out donation blocks. Using leaders and enders between each Windmill piece generates a lot. I have to keep the Windmill pieces in order, thus so many donation blocks. I am thinking about making another Traffic Jam quilt instead of more of the 16 patch donation blocks, but we will see. Until I decide, there will be more 16 patches.

I had to spend some time cutting scraps for new 2.5 inch squares as I was running out. You can see that some of the blocks don’t have a lot of contrast, use a ‘different’ background or look unlike my normal meticulous monochromatic blocks. I guess I am making due. I didn’t really want to cut more foreground squares until I really need them.

I am pretty fond of the red-violet block in the second row. The background is made from a shirt I made for DH a few years ago.

More Plaid Blocks

Plaid Blocks - end of May 2020
Plaid Blocks – end of May 2020

I had 4 days off over the weekend and it was great to cross some things off my To Do list AND get some chores done. I have a number of bags and a swap gift on my to do list, but after 3 hours worth of video chats and an hour on the phone with the YM, I really only had time for the plaid blocks. I did press some new-ish fabric, though and found some pieces I’ll use for the swap gift.

I now have 25 blocks, so am definitely on the downward slope of block making for this piece. I ordered the felt for my design wall yesterday. I have little hope of it arriving today, but I am hopeful it will arrive int he coming week. I want to get these blocks up where I can see them all before I start sewing them together.