Tutorial: Scrappy 9 Churn Dash block

>> Sunday, January 15, 2017

One of my goals this year is to offer more tutorials here. I've called this one Scrappy 9 churn dash - enjoy!

orphan christmas blocks row quilt christmas blocks

You can see my first attempt at this block in my Christmas sampler quilt from this year. I needed to make another 12" block to finish a row.

scrappy bento box blocks christmas quilt

I also had lots of small scraps left over to make more scrappy bento box blocks - all in Christmas colours. I combined the two and my love of the churn dash block to come up with my new scrap busting block!

scrappy 9 churn dash block scrap patchwork block

My first attempt only came out to 12" and was a tight fit into the quilt - but I did manage it ;) I thought I'd try again and make a full 12 1/2" block to share with you.

tutorial scrap block churn dash 9 patch


In my original block I used a mix of different colour fabrics for the 9 patch and the churn dash with light fabrics for the background. I decided to make my block using all one colour of scraps for the tutorial to make it easier to show you background and block units in my photos.

For the nine patch - 9 - 2 1/2" squares in your colour of choice

For the half square triangle units (hsts) - 2 - 3" squares in your colour of choice AND 2 - 3" squares in background fabric to make 4 hsts each measuring 2 1/2" square.

* I had leftover hsts from my 150 Canadian Women quilt blocks that I used for this red block. Use leftovers if you have them - even trimming down leftover larger sized hsts if you want! Othewise follow along below where I give brief directions to make 4 hsts.

For the 9 patch border - 2 background strips 1 1/2" wide x 6 1/2" long
                                       2 background strips 1 1/2" wide x 8 1/2" long

For the churn dash sides - scrap strips 1 1/2" wide in colour of choice and background fabric to make   4 strips in colour of choice 1 1/2" wide x 8 1/2" long
                4 strips in background fabric 1 1/2" wide x 8 1/2" long


bordered 6 inch nine patch block

To make the 9 patch, sew the 2 1/2" squares in the colour of your choice into 3 rows of 3 squares. Notice I didn't play with value here at all - I just made sure identical prints weren't directly beside each other. Most of my squares are all the same brightness! It's up to you and your fabrics how you sew them together (if you want a secondary patten to emerge or for the patch to read as just one colour.)

Press the seams in the top row to the left, the middle to the right, the bottom row to the left again.
Sew the rows together and press the seams whichever way they want.

Sew the top and bottom 1 1/2 x 6 1/2" border strips to the 9 patch, pressing these seams to the border strips.

Sew the side 1 1/2 x  8 1/2" border strips to the sides of the patch, pressing the seams to the border strips. 

The bordered 9 patch should measure 8 1/2" square.


framed 9 patch block scrappy block layout

To make the half square triangle units, on the wrong side of each of the 3" background squares draw one diagonal line; this is your eventual cutting line.

2 hsts tutorial

Match up one 3" square of the fabric of your choice with a background square, right sides together, and sew 1/4" away from each side of your drawn line.

cut on drawn line to make 2 hsts

Cut ON the line and press the seams to the churn dash fabric.

 Trim each unit to 2 1/2" square for a total of 4 - 2 1/2" hsts.


Sew strips of the colour of your choice together end to end to make 4 strips 8 1/2" long.
Repeat with the background strips to make 4 background strips 8 1/2" long.

assembly layout  scrappy 9 churn dash block tutorial

Sew together in pairs one background strip and one colour of your choice strip to make 4 sets.
Press the seam to the colour of your choice strip (in this case, red.)


Sew one churn dash side set to the left side of the bordered 9 patch unit; press the seam to the churn dash set.
Sew one churn dash side set to the right side of the bordered 9 patch unit; press the seam to the churn dash set.

Sew one hst to each end of the remaining two churn dash sets with the colour of your choice side of the unit facing in (the background to the outside of each end.) Press the seam to the set.

scrappy 9 churn dash block assembly

Sew one of the sets with hsts to the top and one to the bottom of the block. Press the seams to the added units.

scrappy 9 churn dash block pieced block tutorial

The completed block should measure 12 1/2" square.

two scrappy 9 churn dash blocks

It turns out I have a lot of scraps right now - including lighter ones which is rare for me. To take advantage of the scraps I made another scrappy 9 churn dash, this time in greens with my lighter background fabrics in more ecrus and tans. The red block has more white and grey fabrics. I like both! This just might be an ongoing scrap project for me this year  - think I can make one for each colour of the rainbow? 

I hope you enjoy using some of your scraps to make a scrappy 9 churn dash block - or two ;)

With Joy,

Sarah V.

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Quilting my way into the new year

>> Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year! Best wishes for some productive time quilting this year. 

sampler quilt row quilt Christmas orphan blocks made into a quilt

I spent the time leading up to Christmas and a few days after working at putting this lap quilt top together. It's made up of random blocks that were sitting in a pile waiting patiently - some longer than others. The 6 pointed stars near the top were actually handpieced by my husband's grandmother and have been sitting in my stash for almost 10 years! Happy to finally give them a home :)

Pat Sloan little wishes blocks

My traditional New Year's activity is spending quality online time with the Sloanie group of quilters where we have a luau together, sharing photos of projects picked to work on over the evening as well as photos to keep us inspired (coffee, drinks, cabana boys. . . wink!) I pulled out these Little Wishes blocks designed by Pat Sloan for a challenge last year(um, make that 2015!). They never  became anything at the time.

design wall block parts planning side by side layout of blocks

Over the year I had made a few more units to make more blocks but never got around to it until New Year's. I really like that this block when set side by side creates another row of stars with a four patch inside. Unfortunately most of my scraps are dark and this feature really gets lost in my layout.

quilt top  bright colours bordered blocks

I went back to my cupboard and found these bright pinwheel blocks that were leftover from another project from several years ago too. I know I used some to make one side of a quilt for my son a few years back, but I still had these ones. I decided to border the Little Wishes blocks I had done and set them with the pinwheels to get it done! My family thinks it's pretty bright ;) I plan to donate this one either through my local guild or somewhere else local. Donating a quilt (or more) has been on my list of things I want to do for a couple of years - now all I have to do is quilt it!

quilt top Christmas quilt

I do try to work on Pat Sloan inspired projects over New Year's as the luau is with a group of friends brought together by Pat's work. And also because a lot of my UFOs are based on her work (LOL). This year I'm going to make a second Season of Grace quilt which was a joint project between Pat Sloan and Emilie Richards several years ago now. I made my first one using up a lot of my husband's granny's stash which I inherited when she passed. Several years ago my mom gave me her Christmas stash and I set it aside knowing I wanted to make a second quilt with it. 

Here's a great flashback post showing the progress on the first Season of Grace quilt.

I had my son get out the fabrics and sort them so I could figure out which ones I had enough of to make the quilt top itself. New Year's Eve eve day I cut out the fabrics and put them together so technically, this top was finished last year ;) I'm going to cut out all the backs for the stockings next and plan to quilt the top long before Christmas so I have time to put the buttons on - which I may even try doing with a sewing machine!

150 Canadian Women quilt blocks

I also got caught up before midnight on the 150 Canadian Women quilt blocks being put out by Next Step Quilt Designs. My plan is to sew them into groups of 4 and set them with thirteen 12 inch Maple Leaf blocks. My sister gifted me with some of her stash at Christmas which is good because I have never really "stocked" red in my stash - nor whites for that matter! This project is fun for me on so many levels - a long project, sewing with others, patchwork (only so far!), and history. Each block is named after a Canadian woman in history and comes with her story. Also the challenge of working in such a limited palette - even though I am stretching into burgundy and pinks - is fun. And it will be a quilt for me which also seems to be a theme for me this year!

After all this catching up I slowed down. A lot. Overwhelm hit as I tried to figure out what next and to get my year of quilting planned out. I decided there was lots of time for that and to pick a quilt that I wanted to work on first. 

tea party applique tea cup blocks bright whimsical quilt blocks

Yup. You guessed it, another Pat Sloan challenge! These are my blocks from the Madhatter Tea Party challenge - in 2009! I finally finished blanket stitching one of the last tea cups during the Rose Parade and then made the Snapshots quilt along Let Them Eat Cake block. Now I'm pondering some more additions. I look forward to sharing some progress with you on this one again next month. My goal is to have it up in our house for April after our birthday season is over.

This holiday season I'm grateful to be a teacher with time off over the holidays! Wishing you much joy in the year ahead.

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Merry Christmas!

>> Sunday, December 25, 2016

scrappy bento box christmas quilt top

Wishing you JOY !

Sarah V.


Curling rock coasters to make in time - if you hurry!

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's my turn to share over at QUILTsocial.com this week!

PFAFF passport 3.0 sewing machine

Lucky me I'm reviewing the PFAFF passport 3.0! I call it a workhorse pony - it definitely helped me get ready for the gift giving season.

mug rugs ready to gift

First up I shared finishing up some mug rugs that I started last year (ahem.) Thanks to this sweet machine it took me no time at all to complete them in time to gift this year!

PFAFF passport 3.0 is a perfect sewing machine for holiday projects

tutorial for Curling rocks runner at QUILTsocial.com

Last year I designed the Curling Rocks runner for QUILTsocial and received some great feedback.

Shona's photo of her Trend-tex challenge curling rock block

 Actually, there's even a Canadian curler - who is also a quilter - using the block tutorial for her entry in the Canadian Quilting Association's Trend-tex challengehttps://www.canadianquilter.com/photo-gallery/trend-tex-quilters-challenge.php this year. Neat, eh!

curling rocks coasters

I decided to keep going with the curling theme and reworked the block into a smaller size to make coasters!

Start HERE to make the coasters :)

I'm not even a curler, but a fan of the sport:) Hope you find some joy in these tutorials and the last few days of making before the official gift giving day.

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Canadian women making history and quilts at the same time

>> Thursday, December 8, 2016

Next year marks Canada's 150 birthday and the preparations are well under way. As a Canadian quilter, I was thrilled to find out about a quilt along with 150 blocks each representing a Canadian woman.

Next Step Designs releases three blocks a week through their newsletter. There will be a CD available at the end of all the blocks if you're late to this party :) Each block is named for a Canadian woman and a one page bio explaining the role they played in Canadian history is included. 

150 Canadian women quilt first 3 weeks of blocks

I have been keeping up! So far the blocks have been piecing only so that helps:) Here's a photo of my blocks from the first three weeks.

150 Canadian women Viola Desmond block 9

Today's timely news is that Viola Desmond will be the woman on the new Canadian $10 bill. Her block is block 9 in this quilt! What a thrill to have a connection in the present to this woman from our past. I almost want to make her block again in purple - as our $10 bill is purple:)

CBC link to more information about Viola Desmond - be sure to listen to the speech by her sister at the announcement. 

150 Canadian women quilt blocks week 4

Here are my three blocks for this week. I think I'm going to need to get some more red and white fabrics to keep this party going!

Confederation Quilt Canadian Conservation Institute
Conservators at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa carefully stitched repairs, and used custom-dyed modern underlay fabric for the quilt’s most fragile sections (Canadian Conservation Institute) photo from CBC website

Another Canadian quilt that has been in the news lately is the Confederation Quilt, made by a dress maker and includes material from the gowns worn by the women at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 which led to the creation of Canada. Here's a link with a full shot of the quilt and another with more information about the restoration of the quilt.

I feel a year of historic quilt making - or making historic quilts {or BOTH!} - coming on!

With Joy,

Sarah V.

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