Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BOW #23 Courthouse Steps

Courthouse Steps is one of those versatile blocks that can be arranged in different ways for very different effects, or can be pieced with various widths of strips that change the effect.

For a 12" finished block (shown here in a sampler quilt--more from this quilt later) you'll need:

(1) 3-1/2" square
(2) 2" x 6-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 9-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 12-12" strips

(2) 2" x 3-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 6-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 9-1/2" strips

With right sides together, sew the light 2" x 3-1/2" strips on opposite sides of the dark 3-1/2" square.  Fold back and press.

Sew 2" x 6-1/2" dark strips on the opposite sides of the dark square.  Fold back and press.

Continue to alternate light and dark strips on opposite sides, always folding back and pressing after sewing each seam.

MK: As a variation, you could start the first round with the dark strips, rather than the light strips: that is how it is shown in the BlockFab library. You can easily try out both versions by just changing the color of the center square. Personally, I prefer Karen's arrangement.

Here's a small "scatter quilt" that holds my TV remote; a simple Courthouse Steps with Flying Geese on both ends.   The center square in this Courthouse Steps is smaller, proportionally, than in the block in the sample quilt. (I tend to adjust the size of the center square to help me get the finished dimension I want without having to do odd measurements for the strips.

Courthouse Steps doesn't have quite the arrangement versatility that the Log Cabin block (coming up in the future) has, but you can still try out a variety of arrangements:  light sides next to light sides, light side next to dark, or alternating.  It can create some very nice movement in a quilt.

You know that I love scrap quilts, so that's one of my first choices for a CS, but you can make quilts with scraps from a given color palette.  I made a small quilt for my sister Rita to carry with her when she traveled (she traveled a lot) so she could have a little piece of home comfort. (Unfortunately, it was stolen from her hotel room.)  The fabrics were all different but they were all in the mustard and deep red colors.  Your have many, many options with this block.

Have fun with it!

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