June 27, 2016

Chart 57: Our Block Paul or Farmer's Wife, Block 33 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

Since so many of you have discovered the versatility of the #8037 Log Cabin Ruler for strip techniques, it seemed appropriate to use it to make one of the blocks it was designed to make, the Courthouse Steps variation of a Log Cabin block. I’ve named the block Paul – the token male in this quilt. He was a farmer, but he was also our family's attorney and good friend, and he spent a lot of time going up and down the Courthouse Steps!

(Click on the image to visit the Shades website.)

This quilt is called "Magic Steps" in our Log Cabin ABCs book, Product #8043. In case you are tempted to make a similar wallhanging or quilt, I’m going to share a secret  that is in the book. I learned it when looking at an antique quilt. It is quite common to see what I call  “double-wides ” in Courthouse Steps quilts. That happens when people make blocks all the same size (which is a sensible thing to do…) and all of the blocks start with pairs of light strips and end with dark or vice versa. Then, when the blocks are set together, the smooth stair step design you see in the quilt above doesn't happen because it is broken by the double wide strips.

Here is the Trick

In this block, the last pair of strips in the block are dark.

1. When the blocks are joined into horizontal rows, position the light strip on the sides and the dark strips on the top and bottom. But, don’t join them yet.

2. Cut additional strips of the light fabric(s) the same width as the strips in the block, and the length of the block. Sew them between each block and at each end of the rows.

3. To keep those new light strips from connecting when the rows are joined, cut dark strips the same width as the block strips and as long as the rows and sew them between the rows of blocks.

4. To complete the look, sew a dark strip on all four sides of the quilt interior as we did in the "Magic Steps" quilt shown at the beginning of this article.

Here is Paul, our Courthouse Steps Block

Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link below to download the Chart for cutting and making Paul:

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W.

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