The Churn Dash

Daily Prompt:  Churn, Explore

I have been exploring the origins of names of some quilt blocks that have been around for years.  One of my favorite blocks is the Churn Dash.

churn dash blockThe Churn Dash is one of the oldest 9-Patch quilt block patterns.  It came about sometime between 1800 and 1849.  The block got its name because it resembled the triangle and rectangle perimeter of the block to a butter churn and the center square to the stick or “dash” of the butter churn.

This was one of the first patterns that young girls learned.  It’s simplicity of rectangles, triangles, and squares also provide a challenge for advanced quilters because it lends itself well to intricate designs.

A few years ago I participated in a block exchange.  This was the block we used.  I still haven’t put them together.  I had actually forgotten about the blocks until today when I immediately thought about the churn dash after checking on the daily prompt.





D is for Darning


Darning is a sewing technique used to repair holes or worn areas on fabric.  It can also be done on knitted and crocheted things too.  Usually, it is done by hand, but can also be done by machine.

Darning consists of anchoring the thread in the fabric on the edge of the hole and carrying it across the gap. It is then anchored on the other side, usually with a running stitch or two.  This is a simple over-and-under weaving of the threads.

Belgian darning,  which is fine darning attempts to make the repair as invisible and neat as possible. Often the hole is cut into a square or the darning blends into the fabric.The use of fancy weaves, such as twills, chevrons, etc., is achieved by skipping threads in regular patterns.

Invisible darning is the epitome of this attempt at restoring the fabric to its original integrity. Threads from the original weaving are unraveled from a hem or seam and used to effect the repair. Invisible darning is appropriate for extremely expensive fabrics and items of apparel.

In machine darning, lines of machine running stitch are run back and forth across the hole, then the fabric is rotated and more lines run at right angles. This is a fast way to darn, but it cannot match the effects of fine darning

I learned to darn when I was quite young.  I still have the darning egg that was my grandmother’s.  It has proven to be very handy in repairing sweaters, hats, and scarfs for the kids over the years.



Pattern Darning




Using a darning egg.




Sweater Darning




My Darning Egg



C is for Crewelwork


Crewelwork is a type of surface embroidery using wool.  An outline of an image is put on a piece of fabric, then the areas are filled in with different types of embroidery stitches.  This technique has been around for at least 1000 years.

I have made several crewel pieces over the years.  The only one I still have is the first piece I ever did.  My husband’s grandmother taught me how to do crewelwork after he and I were married.  We were at a yard sale in Lancaster.  As we were walking around, Nana found a kit to make a pillow or wall hanging.  I think we paid 25 cents for it.

When we got back to her house, she showed me how to do the crewel.  I really liked the effect that using the yarn made.  Regular embroidery floss does not give the dimension that the yarn gives.

My granddaughter Alannah did a crewel piece for her mother a couple of years ago for Mother’s day.  It is an easy project to teach young children since it works up fast and the stitches can be very basic.

Here is the wall hanging I made from that 25 cent kit we got at the yard sale.


I have always loved this piece.  Not just because it was the first crewel piece I did, but because of the bright colors used.