August 4, 2011

Tutorial Thursday - The Churn Dash Block

How about a tutorial on this fine Thursday afternoon!

The Churn Dash (as my Granny Ida called it)

First we will choose 2 complimenting fabrics and cut (2) 5 1/4" squares from each as well as (4) 3" x 5 1/4" rectangles from each. We will also cut (1) 4 1/2" square from the fabric we choose to be our background.  In my case, I want my Churn Dash to be the darker green so my background will be the pinkish fabric and I will cut the center 4 1/2" center square from this fabric.

Next we will lay the pieces out in segments, right sides together.

We will begin by sewing the rectangles together on the long side.

To save thread and time we will chain piece them together.

Here are all (4) 3" x 5 1/4" sections joined at the hip so to speak from chain piecing.

Go ahead and clip these 4 segments apart and trim any threads.

Next we will sew the (2) 5 1/4" squares together on the diagonal. Take your ruler and lay it on your fabric and draw a line all the way from one corner to the other. 

Draw the line on both segments.

Line the 'toe" of your machine foot up on the drawn line and sew all the way down to the other end of the drawn line. This will sew a scant quarter inch seam. (click on the photo to make it larger to see what I am referring to as the toe of the foot)

And again, staying true to saving thread and time, pull out just a slight bit of thread just so you can turn the square segment enough to put it right back under the foot so you can proceed with sewing back up the other side of the drawn line. Remember to put the toe of your machine foot centered on the drawn line.

Without removing the first segment from the machine, proceed with the second segment to save time.  Chain piecing is your friend my dear quilters!

When you get to the bottom of that stitched line on the 2nd segment, repeat and turn it to go back the other way as you did on the first segment.

Here they are clipped apart and standing on their own!

Now we will take our scissors and cut them apart along the drawn line. Steady as you go and cut right on that drawn line.

 Now we have all 4 of our HST blocks for our corners of the Churn Dash block!

Take the rectangle and HST segments to the ironing board and press them open, pressing to the darker fabric. Do not manhandle your iron as this will get them wonky and out of shape. 

And here we have all of our units pressed and ready for assembly!

But first we must square them all up to 4 1/2" square!  
For your HST blocks....Line up the diagonal line on your ruler with the diagonal seam line on your block. Move the ruler to adjust to be sure you have 4 1/2" within the desired square size and then trim whatever excess there is left on the right side and across the top of the ruler.  Take note of the dog-ears in the upper right corner and the lower left corner. On this first cut, you will be removing the upper right dog-ears.

Then rotate the block so that the dog-ears that are in the lower left corner are now on the upper right corner. Place your ruler back down, having your 4 1/2" lines exactly on the outer left side and the lower edge of the block. Then finish trimming whatever excess remains from the right side of the ruler and across the top, once again.

 You may not have much excess left but if you leave even this much and you do it on all of your blocks in whatever size quilt you are making, your quilt will not be square!  It will all add up to too much extra fabric when all is said and done!

For your rectangle segments... Position your ruler on the block, making sure you have 4 1/2" available within the 4 1/2 inch placement of your ruler ... and also line up the 2 1/4 inch line of your ruler with the seam on your block.  Trim up the right side and across the top.

Close up of 2 1/4" line on the seam line.

Rotate the block and lay your ruler back down..with your 4 1/2" line exactly on the outer left edge and lower edge... Check to be sure the 2 1/4" line is directly across the seam of the segment.  It should be!  Now trim the excess from the right side and across the top once again.

 Now you have (4) 4 1/2" HST blocks and (4) 4 1/2" squares from your rectangles!

 Lay out your segments before sewing the block together so you are sure you have the fabrics in the right position.

Starting with the first row of segments pick up #1 and #2 and sew them together. Be sure and take a FULL 1/4 inch seam!

And yes, we are still chain piecing, pick up #1 and #2 from Row 2 and sew them together! 

Continue for Row #3!

SEE! A full 1/4 inch seam assures you that there is enough space left at the top of our point to sew another block or a piece of sashing to this block without having boxed off points!

Next we will proceed to finish sewing these row segments together by sewing on the 3rd block in each row.

Don't forget to chain piece!!  Just think about all the time you will have saved to do something else  with!

Now you have all 3 rows sewn together completely and it is time to take them to the ironing board and press the seams.

 Press the seams of Row #1 and Row #3 to the middle of the block. And press Row 32 towards the outside of the block.  This will ensure that your seams nestle up to each other to get those sharp intersecting points!

Pin the seams together making sure they nestled up together correctly.

Before you begin to sew make sure the top edge matches and then proceed to sew the rows together.  Sew all the way to each pin and "walk" your machine over the pin and then remove.  This ensures that your fabric does not move and your seam intersections should match dead on!


Matching intersections!! This is the power of not being afraid to 'walk" your machine over those pins! You don't want to run a race and sew right over them now... just "walk"... slow and steady....

And enough space by all points to sew another block or add sashing and still have sharp points!! The power of those FULL 1/4 inch seams!!

And in the spirit of waste not, want not... No orphan blocks allowed!  I finished this block into a candle mat for my dear sister Charlotte!  She loves to play her guitar and does some singing!  And as always, "She makes my heart sing!"

So, how did I do for my first tutorial?  Would you like to see more?  Did I show enough... too much... Did I explain it in a manner you could understand and follow along?  Were the photos ok? ...Help me to help you with constructive criticism if needed. :)

Linking up with....

House of Hepworth's

Making It With Allie

It's A Keeper

Remember, 3 links are a charm!!


Needled Mom said...

Nice tutorial. I have always enjoyed that block.

Darlene's Quilts and Stuff said...

Wonderful job very clear and concise. I do love this block and you made it look easy.

Diane H said...

Thank you! Wonderful tutorial. I really appreciated the squaring up lesson. I don't know how to take full advantage of my rulers so any info on them is welcome. Great photos, explanations and easy to understand. Great job, more please!

tisme said...

Thearica, YOU done good girl! It is very easy to follow, instructions are clear. Perfect!

SeeingStars said...

The Churn Dash quilt looks different to me b/c I usually see it with sashing strips. This one makes a diamond as 4 blocks line up. Very pretty! Your tutorial is easy to understand. Anyone with experience can skim over the parts they're comfortable doing and quilting newbies will appreciate the photos and explanations of how to make those seams behave.
- Kim

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

Wonderful tutorial! I agree with Kim. I think it is generally better to go in depth in case a new quilter isn't quite sure. Plus, there are as many different ways to do things as there are quilters. I love learning new tricks from other quilters.

Elizabeth said...

wow, that was such a good explanation! i'm new to quilting, and am wanting to make a churn dash quit as my second. thank you!! this will make it much easier than trying to figure it out on my own.

Elizabeth said...

is the finished size 12"?