Riffing on Tradition:
Modern Interpretation of the
Churn Dash Block

This popular and seemingly simple block dates from the 1800s and has many variations. Below are three sites to help you get started. You can also check out #riffingontradition on Instagram for inspiration.


Let your imagination run free for this challenge.


  • Maximum perimeter is 64
    (eg 16 x 16 x 16 x 16 inches);

  • Does not have to be rectangle, all shapes are welcome;

  • You may also use a repurposed/up-cycled fabric as a nod to the block’s history;

  • Must be predominantly solids but you may include a small amount of one print; 

  • You are encouraged to include one or more of the five VMQG logo colours: Kona Nightfall, Kona Kumquat, Kona Aloe, Kona Wasabi, and Kona White — or colours that read as those;

  • Your design must feature two or more design characteristics adopted by the modern quilting community (see below);

  • Quilt as desired and finish with binding or facing;

  • Include a sleeve and a label on the back of your mini quilt.
    A two inch sleeve will work to hang the minis (we hang them on wires, not rods), however if you prefer a four inch sleeve, that is acceptable. Here is a tutorial for adding sleeves.

    Modern Quilt Design Characteristics

  • No borders, unless the borders are part of the negative space
  • Minimalist
  • Bright and graphic colour palettes
  • Improvisational piecing
  • Grid work
  • Asymmetry
  • Modern traditionalism
  • Exaggerated scale
  • Pixelization
  • Texture
  • Less is more
  • Use of negative space.

    Source: Modern Quilt Guild