One look at  these blocks and you realize they’re almost identical.  The only difference is the Churn Dash uses three fabrics while Wrench uses two.

Since learning so much about the Century of Progress quilt block, I wondered if there was any historical data about the Churn Dash.  I couldn’t find anything.  Then I started looking for the Wrench.  It is most often called the Monkey Wrench, and I found some interesting theories about it’s origins.  The one I liked best is that it was used during the Civil War as a code to slaves using the underground railroad.  It meant “gather your tools for the journey ahead.”  The monkey wrench was a common tool on the plantations and something the slaves would have been familiar with.  Apparently this block is known by roughly 30 different names!  Regardless of it’s origins, or what it’s called, it’s a quick, fun, easy block to make.

Both blocks call to use templates 1, 3, and 25.

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The first thing I noticed is that the 4 sides of the block consist of a 2 fabric strip set, with each piece of fabric measuring 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.  I took two pieces of fabric, 1 1/2″ x 12″, placed them right sides together, and sewed down one side.  Once the seams were pressed, I subcut my strip set into 2 1/2″ segments.


2013-02-20 16.51.36The corners of the block are made up of HSTs.  I laid the light and dark pieces right-sides together and chain pieced them, pressed them open, and set them back in place.



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From here on out, it’s smooth sailing.  Create three rows by sewing the right and left pieces to the center piece of each row.  Then sew the three rows together.  And that’s how you make a Churn Dash and/or Wrench block.


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Here’s my finished Churn Dash.  I liked all the fabrics together, because each pulls in tones from the others.  Note that two different fabrics that make up the Churn Dash, portion of the block.





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Here’s my finished Wrench block.  You can see just one fabric is used to make the wrench.  For this, rather than using yardage, I pulled from a quickly diminishing charm pack, and fussy cut the center.  It’s amazing to me how just changing the fabrics can change the look of a block.

A couple weeks after I finished both these blocks, I was looking at Churn Dash and decided I didn’t like it.  I just didn’t.  Still don’t.  So I looked around at my fabrics and decided to go a completely different direction.  It wasn’t until I was completely done, and had laid out all my blocks, that I realized what I’d done.  Check it out!


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Yep, I used more of the same charm pack and fussy cut the center piece.  I’m such a dork!  Even still, putting these side by side, you can see what a difference changing one little fabric can make.