The next block we have in our Log Cabin series is the Courthouse Steps variation. The construction of this block is just a little different from the basic Log Cabin quilt pattern. Where the standard Log Cabin construction is strips of fabric “wrapped” around a center block, the Courthouse Steps variation is matching strips on opposite sides of the center block. The light and dark halves are divided on opposite sides of the quilt block instead of on the diagonals. Courthouse Steps looks like this:
According to Marin Hanson of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum and Patricia Crews of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Courthouse Steps variation is accepted as the easiest of the Log Cabin variations to sew, and would have made a great block for an inexperienced quilter.¹
Mary Fons had beginners in mind when she created this modern quilt, Courtside, with stark blue and orange solids. Fabric selection was a snap and so was piecing!
Hanson and Crews said Courthouse Steps quilts were likely made as early as the 1860s, and began to gain more popularity in the late nineteenth century. Most Courthouse Steps quilts were made with foundation piecing, and may have led to other foundation pieced designs like crazy quilts and string-pieced quilts.¹
Do you think Pennsylvania Puzzle was paper pieced? Its itty bitty pieces lead me to believe the answer is yes!
The last thing I’ll leave you with is a courthouse of my own. I took this gorgeous picture right outside the Fons & Porter’s quilt shop in Winterset, IA. It was Memorial day and the weather was beautiful.