Happy Thursday friends! It’s time for block #2 in my 2021 Sew With Me Sew-a-long! Join me as I teach you how to make some of the most fun and classic quilt blocks!

Throughout this series, I hope to teach you some new skills, tips, and tricks, and at the end of the series, we will have a fun selection of blocks to sew together into a sampler quilt! 

Block #2 is a super easy and cute quilt block. It is called the Churn Dash block. This is classic quilt block originated somewhere around 1800 to 1849. It is part of the equal 9-patch family of blocks. Its name is a result of the resemblance of the block to a butter churn, with the middle block resembling the “dash” (the stick that churns the butter).

This block also had a variety of names over the years, some being the Monkey Wrench, Shoo Fly, Hole in the Barn Door, Lincoln’s Platform, and the Quail’s Nest to name just a few. Folklore has it that the Churn Dash or Monkey Wrench block was used as a clue to gather all tools required for a fleeing slave’s journey to the Underground Railroad. Other quilt blocks such as the Flying Geese, Bear Paw, Bow Tie, Log Cabin, North Star, and more all had different meanings for those traveling by Underground Railroad as well. If you are curious about these legends, do an internet search for “Quilt Codes Underground Railroad” and you’ll find a fun rabbit hole to journey through!

But let’s get back to this our Churn Dash block! This classic quilt block is so much fun to make, and it is a great block for beginners. Today I will be showing you a new technique called the “four at a time” half-square-triangle technique. Of course, you can make the half-square-triangles in a variety of ways, but the four-at-a-time method will make this block so easy! We will also strip-piece the side blocks making this block so fast and easy to put together!

Ready to get started? 

Dive into your scrap bins and come sew with me!

->>Download the Churn Dash Block PDF Pattern here!

Watch my 2021 Sew With Me – Churn Dash Block – Block 2 video tutorial here! 

Supplies Used in this video:


  1. Erica, Thank You!!! I am retired with some leg issues and I have watched most of your tutorials trying to learn to quilt. I have a rather tiny income and discovered my sewing machine doesn’t allow dropping the feed dogs, so I won’t be able to free motion quilt. It is cost prohibitive to have it quilted. I remembered your rug tutorial so I thought perhaps I could quilt and bind each block and then attach them as you did the rug. Anyway I spent a good portion of the day trying to make a couple blocks and try the theory, but I kept messing up. Just as I was about to throw out the plan, you posted this block. I followed your ( thankfully) easy to follow directions and I Did It!!!! I sure appreciate you! Do you think my quilting and binding, then attaching each block will work? Any advice you can offer will be Hugely appreciated. Blessings sweet lady!

    Crickett Stone
    1. Hi! Actually, you CAN still free motion quilt on your machine even if you can’t drop the feed dogs! It just gives it a bit more stability. Make sure you still set your stitch length to zero and you’ll be just fine 🙂

    2. Hi Erica,

      As a Black quilter from a long line of quilters, I really appreciate your discussion of the connection between quilting and traditional quilt blocks to enslavement and the Underground Railroad. I hope others will take the time to explore that aspect of our country’s history.

  2. Erica,
    Thank you so much for helping me to understand and learn to love to quilt. My mom loved to quilt and when she passed away 5 years ago I kept everything she had…hoping someday I might decide to learn. As luck would have it I just happened to see one of your videos while looking on YouTube….and the rest is history.
    I LOVE seeing all of your new ideas and how very simple your instructions are. I am doing your Vintage Truck of the Month and now I think I am going to try this as well. Thanks to you I actually think I have (somewhat 😄) mastered binding.
    Again thank you so very much for all of the hard work and dedication that you put into EVERYTHING you teach!!

    Carolyn K McGinnis
  3. Love your SAL…having a lot of fun and picking up great tips. You may want to check the text and links in part of your blog post. Above the block is “Watch my 2021 Sew With Me – Churn Dash Block – Block 1 video tutorial here!”…this is referencing block 1, but it’s demoing block 2. And, when I tried to save the PDF, it was trying to save a Block 1 and replace the last file. Just thought I’d let you know so you could possibly make changes to your post if necessary.

  4. Hi there. Love your channel and all your tips and especially love your opinions and honesty about products you have bought or received. Good work. I am trying to download the churndash block 2 but it just does a little jump and goes straight back to where I was on your blog page. I had no trouble with block 1. Is there a problem?

    Coralee Moss
    1. Please ignore my post. I worked out why it wouldn’t download. It was set up to go to Adobe Acrobat and not ask me the question of where I wanted it downloaded it to. You learn something new every day. All good now.
      Coralee Moss

      Coralee Moss

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