Today's block is an old traditional block called Fifty Four Forty or Fight. The name originated with an Oregon Boundary dispute way back in 1844.
It is a basic nine patch block, meaning that each subunit will be 2.5 inches unfinished. One subunit is a spikey star point while the other is a nice basic four patch.
I used three colors for my block, a dark, a light and a medium. The light and medium will make up the four patches. You will need two strips that are at least 15 inches long ( 1.5 inch subcuts times 10 units to make 5 four patches). Feel free to leave a little extra length for mistakes and straightening. The wider strips are 2.5 inches of light and dark fabrics. I cut mine using the tri-recs specialty ruler.
**If you don't have a tri-recs ruler, you could also draw a paper piecing pattern or even (gasp) make yourself a template. Just draw a 2.5 inch square and mark the center of one side, then draw a straight line from the corners to the center mark. **
For the tri-rec method You will need a strip about 10 inches long of the dark and 14 inches of the light. I say about because the width isn't a nice even increment, just the height.
The background for the star points is cut using this pyramid part of the tri-recs ruler. You will need four background pieces, I doubled my fabric and cut them two at a time. Just line up the 2.5 inch mark with the bottom of your fabric and then cut your triangles out.
The spikey portions are cut in a similar manner, but they MUST be cut two at a time. Because they are mirror image pieces, your fabric should be folded wrong sides together which will give you the pairs you need. Notice that the ruler gives you a little indentation on the top to help you align your blocks for sewing. Make sure you are lining your fabric up along the 2.5 inch line on the ruler.
Take one side of each pair and line it up so that the indentation is even with the bottom of the base piece. There is a little triangle of light blue sticking out the bottom and part of the dark blue hangs off the top. This is why the indentation is so important. Sew all four wings on and finger press. Repeat with the other wing to make 4 spikey star blocks. Each should measure 2.5 inches unfinished.
The four patches are a breeze by comparison. Sew your light and medium 1.5 inch strips together and press toward the medium. Sub cut these into 1.5 inch sections. You will need 10 sections to make 5 four patches.
Nestle the seams and sew these together making sure to press carefully. These units should also measure 2.5 inches unfinished.
Notice the color placement of the four patches. They rotate nicely around the block.
Sew the sub units together and press carefully. Generally the seams should go away from the spikey star point as much as possible to allow them to lie nicely.