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 Free Pattern : A Churn Dash Block

Churn Dash is a popular variation on the Nine-Patch block. Because it works up with such ease, it is often selected for use in first-time quilting projects. Although it is a standard, Churn Dash can be used to create intricate designs and should not be overlooked by seasoned quilters.

Historically, Churn Dash was chosen to make use of scrap fabrics on hand. For this purpose, it is best to separate blocks with white, neutral or light-colored sashing. For best results, choose prints of similar values.

Churn Dash block

How big is it?

This is a 9-inch block.

Construction instructions

Like most Nine-Patch designs, Churn Dash pieces very easily. The block features right triangles, rectangles and a square. Its three rows are formed by combining units from these shapes; triangle-pair squares and rectangle-pair squares. This block works up in three steps; cutting, unit assembly and row assembly.

Cutting - Rotary cutting provides quick results for this block. Two fabrics are needed, typically white and a print. Any colored solid may be used in place of white, but it should be a light shade and coordinate with the print used.

  • Cut one square from a 3 1/2-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut four 3 1/2-inch long rectangles from a 2-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut four 3 1/2-inch long rectangles from a 2-inch strip of fabric B.
  • Cut four right triangles from a 3 7/8-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut four right triangles from a 3 7/8-inch strip of fabric B.
  • Cutting diagram

Unit Assembly - Churn Dash uses pairs of triangles and pairs of rectangles to form some squares. In piecing these units, use a quarter-inch seam allowance.

  • Gather all right triangles.
  • Place a fabric A triangle over a fabric B triangle, right sides together, and stitch.
  • Repeat with all remaining triangles to form four triangle-pair squares.
  • Press all seams.
  • Gather all rectangles.
  • Place a fabric A rectangle over a fabric B rectangle, right sides together, and stitch.
  • Repeat with all remaining rectangles to form four rectangle-pair squares.
  • Press all seams.
  • Unit assembly

Row Assembly - The rows in this block work up easily, but it is important to pay attention to the positioning of the units created in the previous step. Rows 1 and 3 are mirrored opposites of each other, so row positioning should also be checked before sewing. Compare your layout with this pattern to avoid the need to use a seam ripper.

  • Gather all triangle-pair squares and two rectangle-pair squares.
  • Place one triangle-pair square over a rectangle-pair square and stitch in place.
  • Place another triangle-pair square over the same rectangle-pair square and stitch in place on the other side to create row 1.
  • Repeat to form a row 3.
  • Place one rectangle-pair square over the fabric A square with right sides together and stitch.
  • Place the other rectangle-pair square over the fabric A square and stitch to the other side to form row 2.
  • Lining up seams, place row 1 over row 2 and stitch in place.
  • Lining up seams, place row 3 over row 2 and stitch in place.
  • Press all seams
  • Row assembly

Now that I've got it, how do I use it?

Churn Dash blocks form very interesting geometric designs when placed side-by-side. In this example, purple blocks are surrounded by a thin white border and a secondary thicker purple border. The white triangles of each block join together to create an appealing diamond pattern across the quilt.

Churn Dash blocks with puple border

More ideas

Churn Dash also works well with strips of sashing. In this layout, neutral white sashing frames purple and green blocks. A purple border echoes colors in the quilt and ties the design together. This sampler-style layout is a good choice for blocks made of various scrap fabrics.

Purple and green with sashing

A layout with sashing also works for quilts done up in single color family. In this example, pink blocks are surrounded by coordinating sashing.

With sashing

A combination of solid blocks and sashing used alongside Churn Dash blocks creates an eye-catching effect, and provides ample quilting space. This example is worked up in both white and pink fabrics. By using a small group of fabrics, this design can carry off a more complex motif without appearing too busy.

Churn Dashs and solid blocks

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