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Easy Courthouse Steps Quilt Block and Quilt Pattern

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Make 12" Courthouse Step Quilt Blocks
Courthouse Steps Quilt Block and Quilt Pattern

Courthouse Steps quilt block schematic.

© Janet Wickell

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

  • (1) 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" square

Patches 2 & 3, Light

  • (2) 2" x 3-1/2" bars

Patches 4 & 5, Dark

  • (2) 2" x 6-1/2" bars

Patches 6 & 7, Light

  • (2) 2" x 6-1/2" bars

Patches 8 & 9, Dark

  • (2) 2" x 9-1/2" bars

Patches 10 & 11, Light

  • (2) 2" x 9-1/2" bars

Patches 12 & 13, Dark

  • (2) 2" x 12-1/2" bars

Be sure to sew an accurate quarter inch seam allowance, and have a regular or mini iron nearby to press seam allowances.

See page 2 for a quick guide to all sewing steps for the quilt block, or pull up a copy here.

  1. Sew a 2" x 3-1/2" light patch #2 to one side of the center square. Sew piece #3, which is the same size and color value, to the opposite side of the center square. Press both seam allowances towards the new strips -- continue pressing new seams towards newest strips.
  2. Sew dark patches #4 and #5 to opposite sides of the quilt block, positioning them to flow above and below patches #1 through #3.. Press seams.
  3. Sew light patches #6 and #7 to the block next -- refer to schematic above (click for a larger image). The new patches are adjacent to previous light patches. Press.
  4. Continue adding new patches to opposite sides of the block in the same way. Darker #8 and #9 patches are first, and are adjacent to previous darker patches. Follow with light patches #10 and #11, and finish with darker patches #12 and #13.
  5. One familiar with the technique, cut patches for several quilt blocks and chain piece units for speedy piecing -- technique is explained in the traditional log cabin pattern. You can sew strips on two opposite sides of the growing center before stopping to press.

 

 

 

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