So what exactly is a Churn Dash?

My bedtime reading had me puzzling over this question: So what is a Churn Dash? I know it is the name of a much used and much loved patchwork block but actually what is a churn dash?

Little House in the Big Woods Puffin edition by Allison Reid
My childhood Puffin edition of Laura’s book was printed in 1974

Little House in Big Woods is the first in a wonderful series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder telling of her childhood in the 1860s and 70s. The books tell of the adventures encountered and everyday activities lived out by her family as they followed the Pioneer trail for ten years from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to the Prairies of Kansas onto Minnesota until finally settling – at Ma’s insistence – in De Smet, South Dakota.

Mary Ingalls churning butter, illustration by Garth Williams
Mary Ingalls churning butter, illustration by Garth Williams

The recollections of everyday life for Laura and her family include a description of the weekly task of making butter. Laura describes how Ma poured cream into the tall crockery churn and then lowered the ‘churn dash’ attached to a long pole into the cream, dropping a lid with a central hole over the pole to stop the cream splashing out of the container before the lengthy task of churning got underway. Laura was too small to move the dash up and down but her ‘big’ sister Mary was able to take over every-now-and-again while Ma had a break from the heavy work.

Having read this description of butter making I wanted to know what a churn dash looks like. I tried ‘images of churn dash’ in my computer search engine and received links to lots of very lovely variations of churn dash blocks used in patchwork quilts! I was in danger of disappearing down a rabbit hole …. But managed to resist and instead tried a more specific search, ‘images of butter churn dash’.

 

Image result for images of butter churn dashThis second search provided the answer I was looking for. Seeing this image and others showing the churn dash at the end of the pole has helped me to see how the patchwork block got it’s name. The dashers vary from simple ‘X’ shapes through to circles with several round holes. Wisemen Trading have a variety of replica churns and dashers on their website.

 

 

 

The Churn Dash patchwork block is simple but very versatile. Here it is in a straight layout and then turned on end in an on-point layout.

Churn Dash 3 x 3 by Allison Reid

Churn Dash on point by Allison Reid

Allison

PS. If the photo of my Puffin book has made you nostalgic then have a little smile at the price on the back cover πŸ™‚

Little House in the Big Woods cost 20p by Allison Reid

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (81)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) and share in some of the inspiration to be found thanks to the generosity and kindness of members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Do leave links of interest and the thoughts you’d like to share in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

My apologies for the late arrival of this edition. I spent Saturday teaching the first session of the Beginners Course at Purple Stitches. One class in the morning and then a repeat of the session in the afternoon for a second class! Isn’t it great that a whole new bunch of people want to learn how to make a patchwork quilt? πŸ™‚ I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these new-comers to our craft and the day sped by in a most enjoyable way, but phew! I was talked-out and fit for not much at all in the evening! Hats off to those of you who teach more than one whole day a week!

Dashing Stars Blocks Beginners Autumn 2019 by Allison Reid

Like my students I have some homework to do to keep up with the class – we meet again in a fortnight. I completed just two blocks yesterday so need to make the remainder of these blocks in five more colourways. This afternoon I cut out the remaining fabrics so I’m all set to make examples of the next two blocks, a Churn Dash and a Sawtooth Star ready for the second session of the Beginners Course. Now I’ve got all the pieces cut and carefully packed I shall take them along to Thursdays sewing day with the aim of completing my homework and preparing for the next class πŸ™‚

Square in a Square (2) ready to quilt by Allison Reid

At last I can return to the second Square-in-a-Square quilt and get down to quilting it. I’ll be using Aurifil 2110 40wt thread. It’s a very pale yellow and blends well with all the warm summery colours in the quilt top.

There have been loads of interesting and inspiring blog posts to read this past week. Here are links to just a few:

Rachel has found some very neat solutions to a downsize in her sewing space. Moving to a Dutch townhouse from an American farmhouse has brought to light many differences in the way everyday living is conducted on either side of the Atlantic!

Sharing skills is one of the ways we build up our Worldwide Quilting Community. Jayne has been demonstrating hand quilting at a local show for several years. In her recent post she shows some of the quilts she’s taken along (some more than once – well it does take a long time to hand quilt a quilt!). I’m particularly intrigued by her version of the ‘The Long Road Home’ quilt – the pattern is by Paula Barnes.

It’s that Worldwide Quilting Community thing again πŸ™‚ Reading Alyce Blythe’s email newsletter I was intrigued by a link she had provided under the heading ‘How to Quilt Wavy Borders’. I clicked over to HollyAnne Knight’s blog and found lots of helpful tips in her tutorial. A good article to keep Pinned for a rainy wavy day πŸ™‚

And on her own blog page Alyce is sharing the beautiful boxed set of twelve 50wt Aurifil threads she has curated under the name ‘Mini Masterpieces’ – in honour of her latest book. The thread collection is lovely and is definitely on my wish list.

Switching blocks from a horizontal grid to an angled, ‘on-point’ layout can really transform a quilt. Amy Friend was playing with her spider web blocks, took the plunge and cut into them to set them on point. The finished quilt looks so much more dynamic than the original.

Suzy has some wisdom to share re. attacking our mounds of WIPs (Works In Progress). There’s some sound advice – even down to throwing away projects we no longer love! Steady…..!*!

Don’t forget to add your thoughts about the links in Saturday Quilting Bring & Share to the comments box right at the end of this page. And just under the comments box is discreet little ‘subscribe’ email notification sign-up box – fill it in and you’ll receive an email each time I publish a blog post πŸ™‚ (This isn’t an ’email list’ so rest assured you will not be receiving any messages direct from me!).

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Autumn Colours Quilted Wall Hanging

Well! Start ringing the bells! I have finished another quilt! I know I said I’d be slowing down to normal pace but the seasonal colouring of this DrEAMi* project gave me the focus and determination to have it completed and on display THIS Autumn rather than NEXT Autumn! πŸ˜€

Read moreAutumn Colours Quilted Wall Hanging

Building a Log Cabin Workshop

The Log Cabin block is one of my favourites to piece. I find the huge range of layouts that can be made just by re-orientating a few of these blocks quite fascinating. So when a quilt group friend expressed an interest in learning how to make a Log Cabin quilt my little brain cogs starting whirring!

Whirligig Log Cabin by Allison Reid
Log Cabin blocks arranged in a ‘Whirligig’ pattern – I made this quilt way back in 2015
Another of my Log Cabin quilts. The blocks are arranged in a ‘Fields and Furrows’ layout

First of all I gave some thought to the skills and techniques I could teach using the Log Cabin block. I decided to teach a basic square-in-the-middle block using speedy strip piecing techniques for part of the workshop and then switch to the slower, but more precise, individual rotary cut piece technique to make curved Log Cabin blocks.

Log Cabin Class Quilt (1) by Allison ReidNext step was to draw up the blocks and play around with layouts on EQ7…

The blocks are 10″ finished and the quilt top with borders measures 68″ square. Once I started getting down to the nitty-gritty math of the quilt I was pleased to find this pattern will be ‘Jelly Roll friendly’. I was even more pleased when I found a Moda French General Jelly Roll listed on Lucy’s ‘Secret Garden Quilting’ website that looked to have the limited colour palette I had in mind for my sample quilt πŸ™‚

And whoopie-do when the Jelly Roll arrived – and I did that brave thing and unrolled it – I found just the right number of blue strips and red strips required for the quilt top πŸ™‚ There are a few beige strips too and theseΒ  can be used as background. The beige strips helped me to colour-match low-volume fabrics from my stash to make up the 2m of background fabric I’ve calculated is needed to complete the design . We shall see! Obviously making up a sample quilt is a good and necessary part of testing a pattern but it’s fun too; seeing an idea move from paper or a screen to being realised in fabrics.

Stars and Moons jelly roll by Allison Reid
Moda ‘Vive La France’ Jelly Roll
Stars and Moons jelly roll strips by Allison Reid
Vive La France Jelly Roll strips decorating my design wall πŸ™‚

This morning I spent a couple of hours making a start writing the pattern on my lap top. It takes me quite a while to do this. As I’m writing I think through the logical steps in choosing fabrics, cutting the fabrics, making the blocks and putting the quilt top together. I enjoy teaching workshops using my own patterns as I get to see them being used and I learn more about the different ways patchwork quilters read and interpret patterns.

I’m planning to schedule the ‘Build a Log Cabin Workshop’ for early in the New Year. Keep an eye on the Workshop of this blog for a date and venue πŸ™‚

While the Log Cabin workshop pattern has some way to go before publication you can find my other patterns by clicking on to my Etsy Shop, www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AllisonsPatchworks . Most are available as instant download PDFs, a few are hard copy paper patterns for sale in the UK only.

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday. Judy has a teeny-tiny Apple Core quilt in the making. Also linking with Beth for Monday Making, she shares the beautiful square-in-a-square applique quilt she has been busy working on the past week.

Allison