Skill Level: Beginner
The Churn Dash quilt block is fun to put together with just half square triangles, simple strip pieced squares and solid squares.
It makes a great block for quilting bee and guild exchanges—quick to whip up at the last minute if needed—because of its simplicity.
There are enough pieces in the block design to switch up the fabric placement and come up with radically different looking blocks.
This two fabric quilt block is known by a whole slew of other names. Do you recognize any of them?
On this page you'll find instructions to make five different sizes, as well as seven common variations to add interest to your quilt projects.
When it's time to lay out your own finished Churn Dash quilt blocks visit Churn Dash Quilt Designs, part of our Quilt Design 101 series, for inspiration.
Time to start stitching!
Block Size: 6"(6-1/2" unfinished)
Grid Size: 2"
All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam.
Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
Click here for cutting instructions for additional block sizes.
Two 2-7/8"(3-1/8") squares
I do like to start with over-sized patches when stitching half square triangle units. Once sewn, the units are cut to the exact size needed. The actual size I cut the patches is in () above.
These are the cut patches.
Half Square Triangle Units
We'll use the Quick Piece Technique for making HSTs.
Draw a diagonal line on the back of the 2-7/8" squares, dark enough so that you can see it.
With RST, align a light and a dark square and stitch a quarter inch away from the drawn line on both sides. Repeat for the second pair of squares.
Cut along the drawn line to create 4 HST units.
Press the units flat and then open with the seam allowance towards the dark fabric.
If you chose to start with over sized squares, cut them to size now. (2-1/2"). For more detailed information on making Quick Pieced HSTs go to HST: Technique #1.
With RST, align the long edges of the light and dark 1-1/2" x 10-1/2" strip and stitch.
Press the strip set flat and then with the SA towards the dark strip.
With your rotary cutter and ruler, straighten one end of the strip set.
Then cut four 2-1/2" squares from it.
Lay out the HSTs, strip pieced units and solid squares.
Stitch the units in each row together.
Press, with the seam allowances away from the HST. This way your seam allowances will nest, making matching easier.
Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed.
Press the seam allowances in the direction of the red arrows below.
This is the finished Churn Dash quilt block.
A two fabric block with some swapping of the placements. A totally different look.
Two different fabrics are added to the original Churn Dash in the corners.
This 3 fabric block looks nothing like the original, but all the design lines ARE there.
This version is also called: Grecian Square, Grecian or Greek Square.
Add a fourth fabric and the block changes even more.
Then there are those that keep the same basic structure, but alter one of the elements.
This quilt block has four patches instead of strip pieced squares in the center of each side. This small change adds a lot of movement to the block without increasing the difficulty.
A third strip is added to the strip pieced squares creating a more delicate looking block.
For a rotary-cutter friendly block, make sure you choose a finished grid size that is easily divisible by 3.
In this last block, the Churn Dash design is drawn on a 5x5 grid (sometimes called an uneven 9-patch). The center and center side units are now a quarter the size of the HSTs.
Click here for instructions to make the Monkey Wrench quilt block.
Blocks all finished?
Need a dash of inspiration?
Then sprint on over to our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library to find blocks for your next quilting creation!