First Monday Sewday · Quilt Bee

9-Patches and Churn Dashes • First Monday


So what if you were trying to think of the basic blocks for beginning quilters?  What would you choose?  So far in our First Monday Sew-Day series, we’ve done four-patches and square-in-square and half-square triangles and flying geese and a few others (Log Cabin was last month), so I thought I’d take a look at another basic: nine-patch blocks. Above is a version of this block, colored a little differently than what we usually see.

June 2020 FirstMonday Sew-Day Illus

For the handout for the nine-patch/churn dash blocks, click to download a PDF file:

Bee Happy Quilt_Feb_1
You think I might have caught that wonky churn dash.

I recently made some churn dash blocks for the #dungeonofcute quilt I’m making, and yes, I did fix the problem in the upper left.  For this beginning class handout, however, I chose to make the churn dash blocks more like nine-patches, rather than the adjusted proportions, seen above.


Here’s another variation of proportions: large corner squares, and smaller centers.

Frivols #6, Practice Makes Perfect

This is one of those Frivols quilts that I did in 2018, which frankly seems like it was about a century ago.  All churn dashes, cozied up to each other.


This quilt is the result of a bee; Linda asked us for small churn dashes, with skinny sides and big, fat centers, in these colors.  It’s a really fun way to work with churn dashes.

Carla Block Jan

While I’ve never done a large quilt with churn dashes, more bee-mates at the time asked for them, in two more different styles.  The blending of value and color in the bottom really makes it interesting.


Here were my two blocks that I made for Carla T, and the finished quilt, with giant churn dashes interspersed in among the smaller ones.

from OpEdgeArt

Here’s a nine-patch “quilt” done by an artist I follow.  He works in paint.  He told me his mother was a quilter and I can see her influence.

Quilt Frolic_front

And here’s Quilt Frolic, a series of nine-patches, set in a an off-set white block, with tons of Amy Butler large-scale prints.

All our Handouts and topics can be found in the tab at the top of my blog: Projects for 2020/First Monday Sew-days.  More quilts can be seen below, in a gallery.

Happy sewing!

Baby Quilts Nine Patch
I’ve made a lot of baby quilts using nine-patch variations.
Mom Churn Dash
My mother helped make these nine-patch variation (shoo-fly) blocks nearly 85 years ago.
Amish Double Nine Patch
Mini Quilt: Amish double Nine-Patch
Nine Patch green
Carla Churn Dash
Carla’s quilt, from here

12 thoughts on “9-Patches and Churn Dashes • First Monday

  1. Oh Elizabeth there is sew much fun Quilty goodness in this post. Thank you for sharing. It’s the perfect way to start my rainy gloomy day with all these cheerful photos! 😉 Carol

  2. I just love how a simple block transforms into beauty. Thanks for sharing this wonderful variety of two of my favorite blocks.

  3. What a nice collection of blocks and quilts! I sure remember making those bright and beautiful churn dash blocks for Carla. Her finished quilt turned out fantastic. You know, the blocks you’re sharing with your First Monday group are what I know as “Hole in the Barn Door” blocks. Different names for two different blocks, though construction is similar. I like them both! They’re versatile. I hope your lesson goes well!

  4. Amazing what a simple 9-patch can do. Beautiful examples you gave us. Thanks for sharing what a beginners block can make a spectacular show worthy quilt.

  5. The Churn Dash block is such a versatile one, isn’t it? I too remember making blocks for Carla’s pink and orange Churn Dash! Maybe a Sawtooth star could be another option to teach?

  6. Very fun to see all these variations on classic blocks. You are teaching your group some great stuff. They will have good building blocks with the blocks you’ve covered. Maybe sneak in a simple appliqué block to the lineup?

  7. What an inspiring post. Loved seeing all these fabulous quilts.
    What great color inspiration too.

  8. Knowing these basic designs opens up so many possibilities for your students. (Jacquie Gering’s deconstructed 9 patch is on my bucket list.) I hope your First Monday group realizes what a treasure they have in your guidance and experience.

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