A Quick And Easy Churn Dash Quilt Block Tutorial + 15 Dazzling Churn Dash Quilt Patterns

The churn dash quilt pattern is a classic pattern that is easily recognizable.

This block has had many different names, such as monkey’s wrench, hens and chickens, love knot, and shoo fly. 

No matter what name you know this block by, the churn dash quilt block is a beautiful design to add to your quilt block library.

I’m going to show you how to make this versatile block.

We will also check several churn dash quilt block variations and examples. 

What Is a Churn Dash Quilt? 

Before we jump into the tutorial, let’s go over a bit of the history and background of the churn dash quilt. 

Like most traditional quilt blocks, we don’t know exactly when the block was first made or published, but quilters first utilized it in the early 1800s. The block’s original name was “church dash” because the design was reminiscent of a butter churn from the top view. 

This block was one of the first blocks taught to young girls when they first learned to sew and quilt. Simple blocks such as HST (half square triangles) and simple rectangles make this beginner block. 

How To Make a Churn Dash Quilt Block

The churn dash block is a staple quilt block that I would love to encourage any quilter, beginner or a seasoned pro, to learn. This tutorial will show you how to make the basic churn dash quilt block, so let’s make one without further ado!

How To Make a Churn Dash Quilt Block

Step 1: Select the fabric

I always recommend making a practice block with scraps before using any of your more valuable fabric for a first-time quilt block. Choose two coordinating fabrics and a background fabric. You will need ⅛ of a yard for each fabric.

churn dash quilt pattern

Step 2: Cut the fabric

For one churn dash quilt block, you will need the following pieces cut:

Background fabric

  • 5- 4” squares
  • 4- 2 ¼”x 4” rectangles

Light fabric

  • 4- 2 ¼”x 4” rectangles

Dark fabric

  • 4- 4” squares
churn dash quilt pattern

Step 3: Sew the HST

Take four 4” squares from the background and dark fabric and create HST (half square triangle) blocks. You will place one of each fabric’s right sides together and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the next.

churn dash quilt pattern

Stitch along the line you drew.

churn dash quilt pattern

Trim the excess fabric, leaving a ¼” seam allowance.

churn dash quilt pattern

Press the seam towards the dark fabric.

churn dash quilt pattern

Repeat this step three more times to create four HST blocks. These are your corner pieces.

churn dash quilt pattern

Step 4: Sew the rectangle square blocks

Take rectangles of each background fabric and the light fabric and place them right sides together. Sew along the long side of the rectangles with a ¼” seam allowance to create rectangle square blocks. 

churn dash quilt pattern

Press towards the darker fabric.

churn dash quilt pattern

Repeat this step three more times to make four rectangle square blocks. 

churn dash quilt pattern

Step 5: Sew the block together

Layout your pieces to see the placement of each block. 

churn dash quilt pattern

Sew the blocks together to make horizontal rows.

churn dash quilt pattern

Sew the rows together and press your beautiful churn dash block! The finished size of the block is 11”x11”. 

churn dash quilt pattern

Churn Dash Quilt Pattern Round-Up: 15 Dazzling Designs

As you can tell from the tutorial, this block is simple to construct and is used in various quilt patterns. This selection of quilt examples will show how versatile this quilt block is. 

1. The Cheeky Churn Dash Quilt

1. The Cheeky Churn Dash Quilt

This quilt pattern is an excellent example of taking a traditional design and giving it a modern twist. Using these modern, bold colors and HST brings a new life to the churn dash block. This pattern offers three sizes: mini quilt, pillow, and an 81” square large quilt.


3. Rainbow Churn Dash Quilt

3. Rainbow Churn Dash Quilt

Here is a quilt that has a beautiful scrappy look. The designer used rainbow colors for this quilt top, making the churn dash pattern pop against that white background. 


3. Churn Dash Court Quilt Pattern

3. Churn Dash Court Quilt Pattern

If you prefer precut-friendly quilt patterns, this is a perfect choice. This pattern uses jellyroll precuts (2 ½” x WOF strips) and has a lovely scrappy design. You will be able to make a 36” square mini quilt with this pattern.


4. Nested Churn Dash

4. Nested Churn Dash

This simple block is elevated by “nesting” three churn dash patterns inside one another. This is an excellent scrap-busting idea if you have a bunch of scraps and you’re not sure what to do with them. You can add this block to a sampler quilt, or you could make an entire quilt top using just this block.


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5. Churn Dash with a Heart

5. Churn Dash with a Heart

How adorable are these four blocks? We see a common theme with these churn dash blocks: they look GREAT in a scrappy style. This designer chose bright colors against a sweet grey polka dot design on a white background. 


6. Double Dash

6. Double Dash

Here is another variation on the original churn dash quilt block. The designer has alternated every other block with a white churn dash and white background, giving this quilt a checkerboard effect. The pattern will show you how to make 12” or 15” churn dash quilt blocks. 


7. Churn Dash + Nine Patch

7. Churn Dash + Nine Patch

Here we have a fantastic combination of churn dash and nine patch blocks. Adding an ombre effect with the colors gives this quilt exciting movement. This style of quilt top would be an excellent beginner project. 


8. Liberated Churn Dash Tutorial

8. Liberated Churn Dash Tutorial

Here is an abstract take on the traditional churn dash block. With this pattern, you can choose to make two different sizes of the liberated churn dash block, or you could make a quilt top using one size. This tutorial takes you step-by-step through the process of creating these playful blocks.


9. Half Dash Quilt Pattern

9. Half Dash Quilt Pattern

This unique quilt pattern features the traditional churn dash block but with a twist. Each block is divided in half using different fabrics for each half. Another wonderful beginner-friendly quilt pattern would be a fabulous choice for someone with many beautiful fabric scraps or precuts. 


10. Fall Dash Quilt Pattern

Fall Dash Quilt Pattern

The Fall Dash quilt pattern is a lovely pattern that features leaves and pumpkins in the center of each block. It also includes sashing between each block to allow each block to stand out on its own. This pattern will show you how to make a quilt that measures 53 ½”x 68 ½”. 


11. Modern Churn Dash Quilt

Modern Churn Dash Quilt

This design has three different-sized churn dash blocks scattered over the quilt top. The designer used bold blues, greens, and pinks to create this quilt and the various fabrics give this quilt a patchwork feel.


12. Hattie Quilt Pattern

Hattie Quilt Pattern

Doesn’t this quilt have a sweet cottage style? A beautifully written pattern and colorful fabrics make this quilt stand out in a crowd. This pattern will help you make a 68”x90” quilt top. 


13. Charm Pack Churn Dash Quilt Pattern

Charm Pack Churn Dash Quilt Pattern

Here is a beautiful patchwork style design. You can use this pattern to create a large quilt top like the one pictured above, or you could make pillows with individual blocks. The pattern has three different quilt size layouts to choose from. 


14. Wonky Churn Dash Quilt Block Pattern

Wonky Churn Dash Quilt Block Pattern

This quilt block pattern shows you step by step to show you how to make this fun, wonky churn dash block. This block is perfect for a Halloween-themed quilt or any other playful theme you choose. The finished size of each block is 7” square.


15. Free Churn Dash Quilt Pattern and Tutorial

Free Churn Dash Quilt Pattern and Tutorial

Andy from Bright Corner has written a free pattern featuring the churn dash quilt block. This pattern is a free download and will give you fabric requirements and step-by-step instructions on making this beginner-friendly quilt.

The finished size of the quilt will be 59”x68”, the perfect size for a throw quilt. 

There we have it! The classic, versatile churn dash quilt block is something that we should learn how to make and implement into our quilt designs. I hope this tutorial and collection of various patterns have inspired you to learn and master this staple quilt block. 

In this post, learn how to make churn dash quilt patterns and see some examples of these patterns you can try.

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