Churn Dash Quilt Block and Variation

Posted by Elaine Huff on

So today we're going to look at the easy beginner Churn Dash quilt block. I also did a variation that I'll show at the end. This is one of those basic traditional quilt blocks that can be used in many different ways. Of course being a basic block, it has lots of other names like Broken Plate, Double Monkey Wrench, Fisherman's Reel, Puss in the Corner, and Quail's Nest to name a few! Let's get started!

churn dash quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Churn Dash Quilt Block:

  • Light/Ivory: 2 - 5" squares, 1 - 4.5" square, and 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  • Medium/Brown: 2 - 5" squares
  • Dark/Black: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles

fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half-Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

Using the Light/Ivory 5" squares and the Medium/Brown 5" squares, make a total of four Half-Square Triangle units. Trim the units to 4.5" square. If you need help on making Half-Square Triangle units, you can find my tutorial at:

half square triangles

Half-Square Rectangle Units:

Step 2

So I made up the name for this unit but I think it's pretty descriptive. Match up one Light/Ivory 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle with one Dark/Black 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle and sew together along a long side as shown in the picture below. Press the seam allowance toward the Dark/Black fabric as shown. Repeat for a total of four Half-Square Rectangle units.

churn dash 2

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Putting It All Together:

Step 3:

Now you can lay out the Half-Square Triangle units, the Half-Square Rectangle units, and the center Light/Ivory 4.5" square as shown in the picture below.

churn dash 3

Step 4:

At this point, the Churn Dash quilt block is put together like a simple Nine-Patch block. Sew the units together in three rows as shown below.

churn dash 4

Step 5:

Press the seam allowances toward the Half-Square Rectangle units as you can see from the picture below.

churn dash 5

Step 6:

Sew the three rows together and you are done!

churn dash 6

Step 7:

Well....except for the pressing! As you can see in the picture below, I have pressed the seam allowances away from the center of the block. This will allow the seams to nest together nicely when putting several blocks together. But you can press however you would like.

churn dash 7


The Churn Dash quilt block is easy and fast to sew together. You can make it with only 2 colors, add in a nice embroidery piece in the center square, or even use it as a memory quilt where people could sign their names in the center square.


I did a slice and dice of the Shoo Fly block awhile back and it turned out really nice so I thought I would try it with the Churn Dash. Well, it didn't turn out near as cute (is that what you would call a variation fail?). Sometimes you just have to try something to see how it looks!

churn dash split 

churn dash variation

The Dark/Black patches aren't square. Maybe if I had made the Half-Square Rectangle units 4.5" x 5" and the center square 5", the variation would have come out better. Oh, well....

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial for the Churn Dash quilt block. If you like this tutorial and want to see more, you can sign up for my newsletter by clicking HERE (and you'll get a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".)

Happy Quilting!



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