Block Blast from the Past

Pre-Blog block
Pre-Blog block

In the course of cleaning out my workroom, I found this block. It was crumpled up and dusty in the bottom of a bag I haven’t used in a long time.

I made this block in my second quiltmaking class. That class was focused on drafting blocks. None of the blocks were straightforward, so drafting and making templates was the only way to get them made. I drafted the pattern for this block before making the templates and piecing it.

In my early days of the quiltmaking, I primarily used solids. I did have a wild streak that you can see in the border. I fussy cut all of those pieces so that it looked like the block had a special border. I didn’t do a spectacular job on the fussy cutting, but considering it was one of the first dozen blocks I ever made, I am pretty proud of it.

Missouri Star Block

Double Missouri Star
Double Missouri Star

I talked about one of the Triple Play Missouri Star videos in a recent Various & Sundry post. In this video, Jenny, Natalie and Misty take the same block pattern and make different quilts. I really liked what Natalie did with her version and I decided to try it out myself.

I thought it would be a quick test. Then I thought that I know how those quick “tests” go and started surfing around the Internet for fabric, thinking I would make an entire quilt. Fortunately, I got myself under control and decided to make one block with the True Kisses fabric I have and go from there. Cotton Cure still has packs of yardage.

I stopped and started the video as I followed along with the Missouri Star directions. Unlike other shows, Jenny and the gang tell viewers what sizes to cut, show you how to sew and press so you can follow along and make the block or quilt just from watching a free video. I like this about them.

Double Missouri Star center
Double Missouri Star center

The Missouri Star is a block they use for their logo. In this video they redid it. Jenny shrank the block and made a quilt from smaller versions. This version provided the directions for the center of Natalie’s block (above).

I didn’t choose good fabrics from the True Kisses line. There wasn’t enough contrast in the legs. Unfortunately I succumbed to the lure of those fabrics and the desire to just make something.

Trimming alternative
Trimming alternative

In the video, they show how to use the Clearly Perfect Trimmer**. I didn’t have that ruler so I tried their alternative method of using a regular ruler and it absolutely didn’t work. I should have saved myself the trouble and just squared up the various pieces the normal way.

My pieces were all the wrong size. Since I followed the Missouri Star method for making HSTs, all of my edges were on the bias. The small center block looked awful. I took the whole block apart, trimmed and put it back together again. I was reminded of how bias can work against me. I also think I didn’t completely understand the alternative method of trimming.

Using the Clearly Perfect Trimmer
Using the Clearly Perfect Trimmer

I did end buying the Clearly Perfect Trimmer**. I had never heard of this ruler and I was curious to try it out. I can’t really tell if it was any better than trimming the regular way. The one difference was that you only make two cuts vs making two cuts, turning your piece and making two more cuts.

I haven’t read all of the directions for this set of rulers, but I am interested in learning how to use more of its capabilities.

Despite all of the ripping, I am pretty pleased with the way the block came out. I won’t be making a whole quilt, however.






**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Rock Star Test

My class is designing circle quilts. I decided that I had better try some of the rulers I have been suggesting my students try.

Rock Star Block Finished
Rock Star Block Finished

I tried out one of the new blocks using the Wonder Curve ruler. This is one of the blocks from their recent sew along. Sadly, they do not have a photo of the finished quilt in their IG feed. I think it will probably be a pattern sometime in the future. I wasn’t super enamored of their sampler, but I did like this block. I did think it would be a good test of the ruler, so I made one over the weekend.

I am still liking the blue and red-violet combination that I used in Frolic!. This blue is more turquoise than the blue-violet I used in Frolic!, however the combination is interesting. Also, the fabrics were handy and I didn’t have to rummage.

This is the first Sew Kind of Wonderful project I have made since Metroscape and Mod Lights. As I mentioned when I made those projects, I really liked the Quick Curve ruler and the mini Quick Curve ruler. The Wonder Curve ruler does those nice petal shapes, but I didn’t feel the love quite as much with this ruler. It could be that it was new to me and I only had a block pattern for directions. I didn’t watch the Live demos.

I am interested in seeing what patterns the SKOW team produces. I wouldn’t make or put the Rock the Block sampler together like they did. I didn’t think the design worked, though the individual blocks were appealing. You see the sampler top finished in a video at minute 5:30.

Rock Star block in process
Rock Star block in process

This block, after cutting the petals and putting the individual units together is a regular 9 patch. I thought about making a quilt with these blocks, but it doesn’t have enough appeal at the moment to make me do it. I do like the way the center layout makes the block look woven.

I am pretty impressed with SKOW, in general. Their rulers work well.

June 2021 Donation Blocks

I have started to make donation blocks again. When it isn’t convenient to work on the yellow improv donation quilt, then I work on a 16 Patch block. Both will be used eventually in some way.

More Yellow Improv

Yellow Strip Improv blocks - Mid-May 2021
Yellow Strip Improv blocks – Mid-May 2021

In between working on Scrap Dash, I made more yellow Improv blocks. I don’t have a tons of yellow scraps and I’ll be lucky if I can make this quilt and a straight Improv version like the other colors I have made. I’ll definitely be able to finish this one, but I have had to add chunks to the blocks. I don’t have enough strips to make all the blocks just from strips.

I sewed way more than one seam throughout the day. I felt kind of manic about these blocks. Even though I was working on Scrap Dash, I wanted to make progress on this quilt as well. I am pleased with the progress.

More Donation Blocks

I am slowly making more of these blocks. I know it seems like I am working on very little. I seem to be really busy on things that keep my mind scurrying in a zillion different directions.

Five Yellow Donation Blocks
Five Yellow Donation Blocks

I wanted to make enough blocks so I could see what I had. I think I will place the blocks 5 across. I might do 6 across, but we’ll see. My plan is 5 across right now. I also won’t set the blocks this close together. My design wall is a little full right now so I don’t have the blocks placed as they would be. I also am not sure what color I will use for the sashing. Blue is the complement, but I don’t think that blue will be good for the look I want. I think white.

Yellow strip donation block #6
Yellow strip donation block #6

I also made one more block, so I have a total of 6 right now.

BAM Donation Block

Green donation block
Green donation block

Yes, I wrote the title correctly. I have just one block to show you.

I worked to make many, many donation blocks last year. This year I feel like I am sewing a lot and not getting anything done. Am I not finishing things or what? I don’t know.

As I said, I have started some new color improv strip blocks, but I haven’t made any guild donation blocks.

I have been using other projects for leaders and enders. Do I need to get on the ball or can I take a break?

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.







**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

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.




**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

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.