Churn Dash Quilt Block
From our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library
Skill Level: Beginner
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? (Those underlined and blue are links to other tutorials on this website.)
Double Monkey Wrench
Hens and Chickens
Hole in the Barn Door
Joan's Doll Quilt
Old Mill Design
Puss in the Corner
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!
These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
- RST - right sides together
- HST - half square triangles
SA are 1/4" and pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.
Pressing instructions are highlighted to make them easy to find.
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.
Step 1: Cut patches for a Churn Dash
Sample Block Size: 6" finished / 6½"" unfinished
Attributed to: Ruby McKim
Design Type: Even 9-patch
Two fabrics and simple piecing are all it takes for this block.
I prefer to starch my fabric before cutting. I find that both my cutting and piecing are more accurate that way.
I cut my HST patches a bit bigger than the dimensions in the chart, stitch the units and then cut them to size.
Perfect HST every time!
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
Churn Dash Quilt Block
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
| 3" || 4½" || 6 " || 7½" || 9" |
| 1** || L || 2 || 1⅞" x 1⅞" || 2⅜" x 2⅜" || 2⅞" x 2⅞" || 3⅜" x 3⅜" || 3⅞" x 3⅞" |
| 2** || D || 2 || 1⅞" x 1⅞" || 2⅜" x 2⅜" || 2⅞" x 2⅞" || 3⅜" x 3⅜" || 3⅞" x 3⅞" |
| 3 || L || 1 || 1" x 7" || 1¼" x 9" || 1½" x 11" || 1¾" x 13" || 2" x 15" |
| 4 || D || 1 || 1" x 7" || 1¼" x 9" || 1½" x 11" || 1¾" x 13" || 2" x 15" |
| 5 || L || 1 || 1½" x 1½" || 2" x 2" || 2½" x 2½" || 3" x 3" || 3½" x 3½" |
| Unfinished Block Size || 3½" || 5" || 6½" || 8" || 9½" |
| Grid Size || 1" || 1½" || 2" || 2½" || 3" |
| **I prefer to cut my patches extra large for HST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #1 and #2 above. |
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
These are some of my favorite tools and supplies for preparing and cutting fabric.
These are the cut patches.
Step 2: Assemble the units
Half Square Triangle Units (HST)
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.
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.
Use the table below to check the accuracy of your HSTs. Trim to size if needed.
For more detailed information on making Quick Pieced HSTs go to HST: Technique #1.
HSTs before trimming to size - need to get rid of those dog ears!
With RST, align the long edges of the light and dark 1-1/2" x 11" 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.
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.
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 into the Churn Dash design.
Stitch the units in each row together.
Press, with the seam allowances away from the HST so that your seam allowances nest. That makes matching easier.
Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed.
The arrow points to the anchor cloth
Press the seam allowances in the direction of the red arrows below.
This is the finished Churn Dash quilt block.
Variations on a Churn Dash design
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 Variation
A 3 fabric version of the standard 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.
Share your work to inspire other Quilters!
If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:
- On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
- Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love seeing your work!
Our readers do, too!
For even more blocks to make...
For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips...
...you can't have just one?!!
Check the amazing resources I rely on for the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website.
To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, read about them HERE.
NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.
This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com