BLOCK Friday: Log Cabin Quilt Block – Courthouse Steps Variation

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:

Courthouse Block

That quilt block is from Courthouse Stars, which happens to be one of my absolutely favorite quilts EVER. It’s the ultimate scrap quilt. It’s a two-block wonder. Just see for yourself!

Courthouse Stars

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!

Courtside digital pattern

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!

Pennsylvania Puzzle digital pattern

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.


Happy Quilting!

¹ p90, p100-101, “American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940: The International Quilt Study Center Collections”, by Marin F. Hanson (Editor), Patricia Cox Crews

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