Saturday, September 21, 2013

Churn Dash Tutorial

I am writing this tutorial for my wonderful Bee buddies. October is my month to be Queen Bee. I am jumping the gun just a bit because I have to send fabric to Australia and New Zealand. It will take a couple weeks for them to get the fabric bits that I am sending out. Apologies if I seem overanxious.

As Queen Bee, I decree that I want to make a Red and White Quilt. I am sending the white fabric to everyone. I am asking my drones to gather reds from their own stash to add to my whites. I am requesting a Churn Dash block, 12.5" unfinished and 12" finished. I want my red and white churn dashes to be positive and negative, so I am asking half of my drones to make red churn dashes on white background and the other half of my drones to make white churn dashes on red background. Here are a couple samples I sewed up. Won't these make a fun quilt?

I am happy to have the blocks be scrappy as long as they definitely read as red and white. You will notice that the white fabric pieces I have sent are slightly scrappy in that they are not all the same brand/color. The difference is subtle, but I am happy with it. Here are some of the reds in my stash that will work nicely in this project.
Solids are fine, but so are these prints. The reds can be bright or dark. You will notice that I have even pulled out a red with white print, but that it reads as mostly red.

I hope these instructions will be useful. If you don't mind, I am going to be very detailed, not because I don't think my drones know how to sew, but I am also going to post this tutorial on my blog and it might be read by an inexperienced sewer.

When you get your envelope with the white fabric, you will find a paper asking you to make either the white churn dash with red background, or a red churn dash with white background. Either way, I have included all of the white fabric you need for your (my) block.

Here are the reds you will need to add to the whites I have sent:
2-5" squares; 4-2.5"x4.5" rectangles
1-4.5" square; 2-5" squares; 4-2.5"x4.5: rectangles
 1. Put the 5" squares aside for now and layout the remaining pieces as shown below:
Red churn dash/white background; for the white churn dash, the center is red, and you reverse the order of the rectangles

2. Notice that when you line up the fabric, the pinked edges are measured from the tips of the edges. Chain piece the rectangles as shown

3. Press seams toward red fabric.

4. Next we work on those HST corners. Get your 5" squares. This is how I mark the diagonals. Use your preferred method.
I use my handy dandy 1/2" wide ruler. I put the solid line from corner to corner.
I use my Frixion pen (disappears when ironed) to mark my sewing lines.
5. I sew on my drawn lines. You can chain piece both pairs of 5" squares.

6. Cut between the sewn lines for a total of 4 HSTs.

 7. Press seam toward red fabric. Square up to 4.5".

8. Lay out your units in the correct order to sew together.
White churn dash layout
9. Assemble into rows
Red churn dash layout

10. Press this way
Red churn dash
White churn dash
11. Trim to 12.5"

Ta dah! You are done. Thank you so much.


  1. This quilt is going to be so gorgeous. My absolute favorite block. I may have to make a red/white block(s) for the fun of it. :)

  2. I love the Churn Dash block - this will be a very nice red and white quilt!

  3. I've always loved this block. The contrast between the red and white is beautiful! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  4. Churn Dash or Monkey Wrench as I call it, is one of my favorite, favorite blocks. I will be looking for your fabric to arrive soon and will start pulling some reds out of the stash. Can't wait.

  5. This will be fun....but am I a white or red centre? I'll have to wait and see. No getting a head start on this one!

  6. Great job on the's going to be a fun block. My packette arrived today, thank you, Elaine

  7. Received my fabric. Can't wait to start. And amazing instructions.

  8. I thought we always did 2 blocks, so am I suppose to do 1 block?

  9. Thank you Karen! I had a lot of fun making your block. I love this pattern too and will use it in the future for some of my quilts. Thanks for a great tutorial too ;-)