Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you buy thru them, I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide all the free information on this site. To learn more, read my full Disclosure Policy.

Churn Dash Quilt Block
From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Churn Dash quilt block instructions

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 3x3

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?

Broken Plate
Double Monkey Wrench
Double T
Dragon's Head
Fisherman's Reel
Hens and Chickens
Hole in the Barn Door

Indian Hammer
Joan's Doll Quilt
Lincoln's Platform
Love Knot
Ludlow's Favorite
Old Mill Design

Picture Frame
Puss in the Corner
Quail's Nest
Sherman's March
Shoo Fly

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!

Construction Instructions

Churn Dash quilt block design

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.

Step 1: Cut the fabric patches

Fabric A:

Fabric B:
(Red Print)

Two 2-7/8"(3-1/8") squares
One 1-1/2" x 10-1/2" strip
One 2-1/2" square

Two 2-7/8"(3-1/8") squares
One 1-1/2" x 10-1/2" strip

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.

Cut patches to make a Churn Dash quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units

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.

Stitch on both sides of the line

The arrow points to my anchor cloth

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.

HSTs are ready to trim

Strip Sets

With RST, align the long edges of the light and dark 1-1/2" x 10-1/2" strip and stitch.

Stitch the strips together

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.

Straighten one side of the strip set

Align a straight line on the ruler with the seam line, and
cut off the uneven edge on one short side of the strip set.

Then cut four 2-1/2" squares from it.

Sub-cut the strip set into four sections

Again, align a straight on the ruler with the seam line before sub-cutting.

Step 3: Assemble the Churn Dash quilt block

Lay out the HSTs, strip pieced units and solid squares.

Lay out patches for block

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.

Seam allowances nest

Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed.

Stitch the rows together

The arrow points to my anchor cloth

Press the seam allowances in the direction of the red arrows below.

Press the seam allowances in each row away from the HST

This is the finished Churn Dash quilt block.

Finished Churn Dash quilt block

Common Variations

There are several variations of the simple 3x3 Churn Dash quilt block.

All involve a change in the fabric placement. Many radically change the look of the block.

Churn Dash quilt block design variation

Churn Dash Variation

A 3 fabric version of the standard Churn Dash quilt block.

Greek Cross quilt block design

Greek Cross

A two fabric block with some swapping of the placements. A totally different look.

Dragon's Head quilt block design

Dragon's Head

Two different fabrics are added to the original Churn Dash in the corners.

Grecian quilt block design

Grecian Design

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.

Mosaic quilt block design


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.

Prairie Queen quilt block design

Prairie Queen

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.

Crow's Nest quilt block design

Crow's Nest

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.

Monkey Wrench quilt block design

Monkey Wrench

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.

Cutting Chart for Other Block Sizes

If you'd like to over-size your half square triangle patches, they are marked with a **.

Finished Block Size
Background21-7/8” sq2-3/8” sq3-3/8” sq3-7/8” sq
Background 11” x 6-1/2”1-1/4” x 8-1/2” 1-3/4” x 12-1/2”2” x 14-1/2”
Background11-1/2” sq2” sq3” sq 3-1/2” sq
Medium21-7/8” sq2-3/8” sq3-3/8” sq3-7/8” sq
Medium11” x 6-1/2”1-1/4” x 8-1/2”1-3/4” x 12-1/2”2” x 14-1/2”
Trim HST units to...1-1/2”2”3”3-1/2”
Grid Size1”1-1/2”2-1/2”3”

Ready for More Blocks?

Dash off to your next quilt project

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!

Return to the top of these Churn Dash Quilt Block instructions

Go to the Generations Quilt Patterns Home Page

Click here to go to the Home Page

Share Your Comments, Tips and Ideas

Search This Site

Enhance your
Fabric Resource Center
aka 'Stash'

Click on the images to go to for more choices.

Click here for MORE
Kaffe fabrics

Click here for MORE
Batik fabrics

Subscribe... STASH Talk,
our free newsletter.
Simply complete
the form below...

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry...
Your e-mail address is
totally secure.

I promise to use it
only to send you
Stash Talk.