Courthouse Steps quilt blocks are a variation of the traditional Log Cabin quilt block. The difference? Instead of sewing strips around the block's center in a circular motion, two patches are added to opposite sides of a center square first, and then two patches are sewn to the remaining sides of the center. The same back-and-forth motion continues as the block grows in size.
If you aren't familiar with log cabin block assembly, be sure to read my traditional log cabin quilt block pattern before beginning. That tutorial includes ideas for layouts, color choices and speedier piecing, along with graphics for that version of the block. Translating the graphics to Courthouse Steps is very easy, just follow the instructions below.
Cutting for One 12" Courthouse Steps Quilt Block
Remember that the words 'dark' and 'light' are usually different for everyone -- one quilter's lightest fabric might be a dark for another layout. Color also controls how visible a fabric is in the design -- cool colors often recede and warm colors often 'pop' in the design. Color Value Basics and Color Wheel Simplified might help you choose fabrics.
The contrast layout illustrated is not the only choice. Perhaps you would prefer to have lights on three adjacent areas of the quilt block, with only one of the block quarters a darker value. Choose contrast to suit your needs.
In my small quilt, Pitchers for Tildy's Cabin, portions of Courthouse Steps blocks are used to frame on-point quilt blocks containing applique pitchers. Beverly, one of our online quilting members, used the same pattern, but put her quilt blocks in a straight setting, sometimes called a horizontal setting. The pitchers still have an on-point appearance -- take a look at Beverly's version of the quilt.
Block Center, Piece 1, Darkest
Patches 2 & 3, Light
Patches 4 & 5, Dark
Patches 6 & 7, Light
Patches 8 & 9, Dark
Patches 10 & 11, Light
Patches 12 & 13, Dark
See page 2 for a quick guide to all sewing steps for the quilt block, or pull up a copy here.