Easy Churn Dash Variation Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

This variation of the traditional Churn Dash block keeps the simplicity and charm of the original while adding a bit more interest. It could also be a variation of the Shoo Fly and/or Monkey Wrench block, but I think Churn Dash is a better fit. (I have some layout examples at the end.) Let's check it out!

churn dash variation

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

  • Light/White: 2 - 5" squares, 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 8 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Blue: 2 - 5" squares, and 2 - 2.5" squares
  • Dark/Green: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 2 - 2.5" squares

churn dash variation fabric requirements

This block also translates well to a 9", 15" or 18" finished block. Because it is based on a Nine Patch block, it works best to have a size that is divisible by 3. 

Sewing Instructions:

Four Patch Unit:

Step 1:

The center unit of the block is a simple Four Patch block made with the Medium/Blue 2.5" squares and Dark/Green 2.5" squares as shown in the picture below. You can find the tutorial for making a Four Patch block at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-four-patch-quilt-block. If you are making a quilt with this Churn Dash Variation block, you could certainly use the strip piecing method for making the Four Patch units.

Churn Dash variation 1

Half Square Triangle (HST) Units:

Step 2:

Using the two Light/White 5" squares and the two Medium/Blue 5" squares, sew together four Half Square Triangle Units as shown below. Trim/square up the units to 4.5" square. You will find my tutorial for sewing HSTs at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-half-square-triangle-block. Normally, I would press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric but I must have been having a "senior moment" and pressed toward the white fabric. It really doesn't matter which direction on this simple block.

Churn Dash variation 2

Flying Geese Units:

Step 3:

This is the most difficult to sew piece of the block - and it's not that difficult if you follow my "no need to trim" method of construction. You can find that at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-flying-geese-block. Carol, my friend/quilting mentor (and local quilting instructor), taught me this method many years ago.

Anyway, make four Flying Geese units using the four Dark/Green 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and eight Light/White 2.5" squares like the ones in the picture below.

churn dash variation 3

Step 4:

Match up a Step 3 Flying Geese unit with a Light/White 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle and sew together as shown in the picture below. Press the seam allowance toward the Light/White fabric. Repeat for a total of four units.

churn dash variation 4

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Putting It All Together:

Step 5:

Lay out the Four Patch unit, the Half Square Triangle units, and the Flying Geese units as shown in the picture below. From here the block goes together just like a typical Nine Patch block.

churn dash 5

Step 6:

Sew the units into three rows as shown below.

churn dash variation 6

Step 7:

And press the seam allowances away from the Flying Geese units as shown in the picture below.

churn dash variation 7

Step 8:

Sew the rows together and you're done!

churn dash variation 8

Step 9:

Well, except for the pressing! Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block as shown below.

churn dash variation 9


I really had fun sewing this block together. Quick, easy and very pretty! Couldn't ask for more! 


I thought I'd add some layouts of this Churn Dash Variation quilt block. Here's a plain 4 x 4 layout.


In this example I've added in sashing and cornerstones.

block with sashing

My friend and I were playing around with layouts and she suggested setting it on point and here's what we came up with. I really like this layout!

quilt on point

hope you've enjoyed this Churn Dash Variation quilt block. If you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click here to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF quilt pattern called Chained Weathervane.

Happy Quilting!


P.S. To print a PDF of this tutorial, check out the free app at https://www.printfriendly.com/

P.P.S. To figure out yardage for a quilt, check out this post: https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-much-fabric-do-i-need

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