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Monkey Wrench Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Monkey Wrench quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid:  5x5

The Monkey Wrench quilt block is a terrific block for the beginning quilter! It's made of just half square triangles and strip sets!

It also makes a GREAT block for block exchanges—either for your quilting bee or your guild because it's simple enough to whip up quickly. (We all know that if it weren't for the last minute...NOTHING would get done!)

You might know it as the 'Churn Dash' quilt block. But this simple, two-fabric block goes by a myriad of other names including:

Double Wrench
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
Pioneer Patch
Square Triangles
T Design
T Quartette
True Lover's Knot

...or just plain ol' Wrench.

Construction Instructions

Monkey Wrench quilt block drawing

Block Size:  5" (5-1/2" unfinished)

Grid Size:  1"

All seams 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

Rotary cutting instructions for Monkey Wrench quilt block

For this block requires four half square triangles. We'll use Technique #1 to make them two at a time.

I prefer to cut my patches over-sized and then trim after stitching. The squares marked with '**' were cut 1/4" bigger at 3-1/8" for this tutorial. After stitching they were trimmed to 2-1/2" unfinished.

(Blue dot)

Two 2-7/8" squares**
One 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" strip

(Red print)

Two 2-7/8" squares**
One 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" strip

Cut patches for the Monkey Wrench block

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangles

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the two light squares.

With RST, align the edges of one dark and one light square. Stitch 1/4" away from the drawn line on both sides.

Stitch on both sides of the line

Cut apart on the drawn line to create two units.


If you've cut over-sized patches trim to 2-1/2" square, otherwise trim off the dog ears.

Repeat for the other pair of squares to create a total of four half square triangles that measure 2-1/2" at this point.

Strip Set

Align the long edge of the dark and light strip. Stitch.

Stitch the strips together

The arrow points to my anchor cloth. Stitch on one first to prevent
your sewing machine from eating your patches' points.

Press with the seam allowance towards the dark fabric. At this point the strip set measures 2-1/2" x 6-1/2".

Square off the end of the strip. (The strips were cut with 1/2" extra to accommodate this.)

Sub-cut into four 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" units.

Step 3: Assemble the block

Layout the units.

Layout finished units

Stitch them into rows. Press the seam allowances toward the strip set units for each row.

Nesting your seam allowances helps to make for perfect matches. Use pins if needed.

Nest the seam allowances

Stitch the rows together.

Stitch the rows together

This is the finished Monkey Wrench quilt block.

A finished 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
Fabric Qty 7-1/2 10” 12-1/2”
Light** 2 3-7/8 4-7/8 5-7/8
Light 1 2 x 8-1/2 2-1/2 x 10-1/2 3 x 12-1/2
Light 1 22-1/2 3
Dark** 2 3-7/8 4-7/8 5-7/8
Dark 12 x 8-1/2 2-1/2 x 10-1/2 3 x 12-1/2
Grid Size1-1/2"2"2-1/2"

Ready for More Blocks?

Your Monkey Wrench quilt block is finished, but there's plenty more to keep you busy!

Just check out our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library to find blocks for your next quilting creation!

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