Long Time Gone Quilt: Churn Dash Block

Shop book and Jen Kingwell Notions 


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The Churn Dash is the block I've struggled with the most during this sew along not because it is a difficult block but because it is tiny and there are a lot of them. There are two sets of churn blocks in this quilt top, a total of 21 individual churns. These blocks may be a tad wonky but remember that is ok. The beauty of this quilt or any quilt is that you’re not going to be able to tell when it’s quilted and being loved and used. If you have problems matching your points in the sections don’t lose sleep over it make it as best you can and then move on to the next blocks. 


General Supply Info: 

  • I use a wool pressing mat, cordless iron and fabric starch 
  • Schmetz universal chrome needles or quilting piecing needles 75/11
  • Aurifil 40 wt Mako Cotton thread, is what I sew with, I typically always use white thread. 
  • Clover Clips
  • Sewing Pins
  • Design Wall or extra piece of batting

Measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial. It is a prerequisite of making this block that you have a copy of the pattern, Long Time Gone. Measurements, where applicable, can be found in this book I will note any mistakes in the booklet however that I ran into when cutting my fabric choices. 

 General Advice

  1. Tolerance level for mistakes, I noticed that some of my blocks are a touch smaller than Jen's finished block measurements. For me this is okay, as I will correct it later. You need to decide what level of mistakes you may be okay with. 
  2.  Press your seams often and do it only to one side. I know fully pressed open seams may look pretty, but they actually weaken your quilt top and can cause issues for the lomgarm quilter you may hire later. So please try to only press you seams in one direction. 
  3. You can pre iron your fabric prior to cutting your fabric and starch it in advance. This will improve the accuracy of each shape your cut. 
  4. When possible, chain sewing is a time saver and a thread saver.


1: Make the Half Square Triangles

Each of my churns was made using 3 fabrics (some may only have 2 as a design choice). I found it easiest to chain sew. Some may suggest that you make all the half square triangles first and than assemble to rest of the block but it's quilters choice. 

Tip: I like to opt to make something slightly bigger and then trim to size to help improve my accuracy. With these HSTs I rounded the cutting measurements up to the nearest whole number to give me the space to trim down as needed.

  • On the wrong side of the background squares use a fabric pen/pencil to draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. This will be the line you use to work out your seam. Pair a background fabric with your feature fabric, place right sides together.
  • Stitch a scant quarter inch seam on either side of the diagonal line. (This is where having the little bit of extra fabric will come in handy if your seam is not as scant as it could be.)
  • Using a ruler and rotary cutter trim the square on the diagonal line to make two.
  • Press the squares open. Trim to the same measurement as the center square of the churn dash block.

Pattern calls for 84 total half square triangles - though i constructed each block individually  for the most part  

2: Make the Churn Dash Blocks

Chain piece the rectangles together to make the units as shown in diagram in booklet should help to keep your placement straight but accurate seam allowance and a good press and starch are also a key factor. 

3: Complete the Block

Join the three rows together to complete your churn dash block. 

You'll end up with 21 total. You'll stitch 9 blocks together to make one block, and the other 12 to makeup the second section. 

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