From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
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:
...or just plain ol' Wrench.
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.
Pressing instructions are highlighted to make them easy to locate.
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 5" finished sample block).
After stitching they were trimmed to 2-1/2" unfinished.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|5"||7 1/2"||10"||12 1/2"|
|1**||L||2||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅞" x 3⅞"||4⅞" x 4⅞"||5⅞" x 5⅞"|
|2**||D||2||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅞" x 3⅞"||4⅞" x 4⅞"||5⅞" x 5⅞"|
|3||L||1||1½" x 7"||2" x 9"||2½" x 11"||3" x 13"|
|4||D||1||1½" x 7"||2" x 9"||2½" x 11"||3" x 13"|
|5||L||1||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3" x 3"|
|Unfinished Block Size||5 1/2"||8"||10-1/2"||13"|
|Grid Size||1"||1 1/2"||2"||2 1/2"|
| **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.
Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat. A valuable addition to your quilting tools—regardless of the piecing technique you use.
Our patches are cut and we're ready to continue.
Half Square Triangles
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the two #1 squares.
With RST, align the edges of a #1 with a #2. Stitch 1/4" away from the drawn line on both sides.
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.
Align the long edges of the #3 and #4 strips. Stitch.
Use the chart below to check that your stripset is the correct width. Make any needed adjustments.
Square off the end of the strip. (The strips were cut with 1" extra to accommodate this.)
Subcut into four units has directed in the chart below.
|Stripset Width after stitching||SubCut Width|
Arrange the units for form the Monkey Wrench design.
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 as needed.
Stitch the rows together.
This is the finished Monkey Wrench quilt block.
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!
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!
...chosen by our readers.
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