Churn Dash Quilt Designs

From our Quilt Design 101 love the what?

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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!

At the end of this page, you have the opportunity to download coloring pages for a straight set or on-point layout quilt design using the even 9-patch version of a Churn Dash shown here, just below.

Churn Dash quilt block

Tools to make quilt designing easier...

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The Building Blocks

Traditional Churn Dash quilt blockEven 9-patch, 6x6

Pictured here is the block based on a 6x6 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.

Churn Dash quilt block, uneven 9-patch variationUneven 9-patch
5x5 grid

You can see that the center patch in the sides and center of the block are half the width and height 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 in 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.

[To learn more about calculating the dimensions and cutting setting triangles, click here.]

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

Use our FREE coloring pages to design YOUR Churn Dash Quilt

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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.


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