New video! Make an easy Churn Dash quilt block

Summer Dash quiltDid you know that the Churn Dash block dates back to the early nineteenth century? It’s made from elements—usually half-square-triangle units, rectangles, and a square—placed in a Nine Patch–style grid. The simplicity of the layout makes the Churn Dash block a favorite among many quilters (including Kim Diehl!).

There are LOTS of fun variations on this classic block—the design has been around so long, of course quilters would think of new ways to “churn” things up! But before we delve into those fun variations, let’s learn how to make a Churn Dash block in its most basic form. Here’s our latest video to show you how!


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Carriage Wheels Churn Dash blockAnother interesting fact about Churn Dash is its name, which is also a clue to its history. The term comes from the design’s resemblance to the staff or pole (referred to as the dash) used in a traditional wooden butter churn.

While Churn Dash is the most common name for this block, you might also hear it called Monkey Wrench, Double Wrench, Hole in the Barn Door, or Lincoln’s Platform, among other names. As is the case with many traditional blocks, different names for the same basic design tend to pop up over time, depending on the era or region.

In Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Churn Dashes, you’ll find 15 creative takes on Churn Dash—note how the block slides into traditional quilts and modern quilts with the same amount of charm:

Butterscotch and Blue quilt
Butterscotch and Blue by Jo Morton

Churn Dash Daze quilt
Churn Dash Daze by Amy Ellis

Carriage Wheels Churn Dash quilt
Carriage Wheels by Carol Hopkins

Toast and Cheddar Churn Dash quilt
Toast and Cheddar by Churn Dash mega-fan, Kim Diehl

So many churns, so many dashes—so little time! See 11 more quilts from I Love Churn Dashes here.

Do you know this classic block as Churn Dash, Monkey Wrench, Hole in the Barn Door, or something else? Tell us in the comments—we love them all!

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25 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Heard and seen all of the above names.

    —Peggy on October 30, 2017
  • I always call this the Churn Dash. I love it, and made a mini quilt of Churn Dashes. I love that Cheddar Churn Dash you showed in this blog,

    —Joy Dickson on October 30, 2017
  • I’ve heard all those other names, but I call it Churn Dash.

    Jeanne on October 30, 2017
  • I know that block as churn dash and I love it and the book.

    —Frances Claassens on October 30, 2017
  • Yep, I’ve always called it Churn Dash. Made several Churn Dash quilts, on point and straight set. I love it with varied center blocks, too.

    —Mary Ann Thompson on October 30, 2017
  • When I was first shown the block it was called churn dash but whatever you call it, it is my favorite block.

    —Barbara on October 30, 2017
  • I first learned this block as churn dash. It was the first quilt block I learned – cutting all by scissors, stitching by hand. Fond memories.

    —carol on October 30, 2017
  • I’ve heard the other names, but I’ve always called it Churn Dash – one of my favs.

    —Sandy May on October 30, 2017
  • I’ve always known it as churn dash.

    —Jean on October 30, 2017
  • I have an antique quilt which I had appraised and I could name the blocks any way I wanted. I thought that was neat and decided upon churn dash as well. It is a lovely quilt made in all pinks.

    —Althea Klosterman on October 30, 2017
  • I have seen other names. I’ve always rreferred to it as churn dash.

    —Karen on October 31, 2017
  • The first time I saw this pattern it was called, SHERMAN’S MARCH.

    Since then… all the other names….
    churn dash, hole in the barn door, and monkey wrench.
    I’m always drawn to any pattern, so guess it’s my favorite, whatever it’s called.

    —Marianne on October 31, 2017
  • I always called it the Monkey Wrench. I made a pink and brown Monkey Wrench and it turned out really pretty. I have made others that didn’t turn out as well. I love the old blocks and think your book is really nice. I really loved the cheddar churn dash. Now that I look back at them, they are all pretty. I never thought of putting a block inside them and of course I always love what Jo Morton does. This is one I will have to get. Now that I think of it, they would be pretty with printed pictures inside.

    —Kay Menefee on October 31, 2017
  • Love Churn Dadhes. The block makes a great 2 color quilt!

    —Tammi on November 1, 2017
  • Made this block before and heard it called all these names. Might have to make this again using my Cival War Prints!

    —Rose Landon on November 3, 2017
  • Churn dash – I love a three-color version I made using black, red and white!

    —Carole on November 3, 2017
  • Churn Dash if each of the nine-patch pieces are the same size. Monkey Wrench if the middle nine-patch pieces are smaller.

    —Judy B on November 3, 2017
  • I’ve always known it as a churn dash. I especially love the one pictured called Butterscotch and Blue by Jo Morton.

    —Karen on November 3, 2017
  • I’ve known it as churn dash. Love Churn Dash Daze and Butterscotch and Blue.

    —Kathie on November 3, 2017
  • I’ve always known this block as Churn Dash, but have seen it called Monkey Wrench, too. Thanks for these quick and easy to follow how-to videos!

    —YvonneJ on November 3, 2017
  • Hole in the barn door. Over the years, we have discovered our cattle sauntering into the garden, a few times…the name of this block has always made me chuckle.

    —Debbie on November 3, 2017
  • Churn Dash has always been a favorite of mine, but I just love the name Hole in the Barn Door. I’ve been thinking about combining it with Handy Andy in a positive-negative effect.

    —Linda Towers on November 5, 2017
  • Churn Dash is a Churn Dash … not experienced enough to know all those others!

    —bookboxer on November 8, 2017
  • One of the first I learned to recognize by name and to make. Helped me learn to understand the 9 block design and spot in other blocks.

    —S Brewer on November 24, 2017
  • Churn dash, monkey wrench, hole in the barn door – another name I discovered is Alaskan Homestead!

    —Sally Atkinson on January 22, 2018

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