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Churn Dash Quilt Designs

From our Quilt Design 101 series...

Churn Dash quilt block

The Churn Dash is a terrific little quilt block for beginning quilters to make.

Whether your version is based on a 3x3 or 5x5 grid, the basic construction is like that of a nine patch quilt block.

A perfect choice for a scrappy quilt or a bee block exchange!





The Building Blocks


Traditional Churn Dash quilt block

Pictured here is the block based on a 3x3 grid with two fabrics.

This quilt block is known by many other names that include:

  • 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
  • And last, but not least, Wrench

To learn how to make this 3x3 version, go to the Churn Dash quilt block tutorial. Instructions are included for 5 different sizes. Eight different variations.

This next version (below) of the Churn Dash is based on a 5x5 grid and is called the Monkey Wrench.

You can see that the center patch in the sides and center of the block are half the size of the corner units.

This is sometimes referred to as an uneven nine patch design.

It, too, goes by many other names (including some of the same ones from above):

  • Double Wrench
  • Aeroplane
  • Airplane
  • Alaska Homestead
  • Bear Paw Design
  • Bride's Knot
  • The Broad Axe
  • The Crow's Nest
  • Dragon's Head, French 4's
  • Hens and Chickens
  • Hole in the Barn Door
  • Honey Dish
  • Maltese Cross
  • Monkey Wrench
  • Pioneer Patch
  • Square Triangles
  • T Design
  • T Quartette
  • True Lover's Knot
  • Wrench.

To learn how to make this 5x5 version, go to the Monkey Wrench Quilt Block tutorial. Instructions are included for 4 different sizes.


Churn Dash Quilt Design Ideas


Here we explore straight and diagonal sets, with and without sashing, varying the size of the blocks i the same quilt and using color to emphasize the block.


Straight Set Layouts


Choose a color palette, vary the values of the background fabrics from light to dark and you create this fun scrappy quilt.

Churn Dash quilt blocks in a straight set, no sashing

Did you notice how some of the blocks are very low contrast--there's very little difference in the value of the two fabrics in the block.

I like the effect this gives my quilts...a bit of a space for the eye to rest.

It doesn't have to be scrappy. A two color Churn Dash quilt is a graphic quilt. Just reverse the fabrics for alternating blocks and you get this quilt...

Churn Dash blocks set edge to edge, two fabrics

It's a more modern looking quilt—without much effort!

Back to a scrappy quilt and now adding a sashing strip between the blocks. The sashing helps make a little bit bigger quilt without a lot of extra piecing.

Another benefit of sashing is that you no longer have to match the points on the Churn Dash blocks to get other when assembling the quilt top.

Churn Dash quilt blocks, straight set with sashing


On-point or Diagonal Layouts


The Churn Dash takes on a whole other look when the blocks are set on-point.

First, the blocks are set edge-to-edge. Solid setting triangles complete the layout.

Churn Dash blocks, on-point, edge-to-edge

Next, sashing is added between the blocks.

Churn Dash, on-point with sashing


One Block, Two sizes


This final example uses blocks in two different sizes. It's a fun way to showcase your fabrics, the bigger blocks providing a space for larger scale fabrics. In this quilt, the small blocks are a quarter of the size of big blocks.

Churn Dash alternating large and small block


Designing YOUR Churn Dash Quilt


When you're ready to start your own quilt design, we have a couple free downloads to help you plan and stitch your quilt. Each download will open in a new window.

To assist you with color placement for your quilt designs, use one (or both) of our coloring pages.

Printer icon

You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

On the Adobe Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.



Quilt Design Tools and Resources




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Pattern of the Week

"The Dance of the Dragonfly"

by JoAnn Hoffman

Available as a Pattern or as a Kit.



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