Vintage Quilt Top — Crazy Courthouse Steps

The last top I quilted was a wonky antique log cabin variation. This Courthouse Steps version is much crazier in every way — design, fabric selection, and construction (the only consistent element is the red center square in every block). It’s not completely flat, the foundation stitching is too big, and the edges are not straight (the photo is cropped). Despite all its flaws, and even though it’s unlike any quilts I make, I think it’s wonderful and has a sort of cool Gee’s Bend vibe.

The top was probably constructed no earlier than the 1940s, and this quilter obviously had an amazing scrap bag to work with. The top contains fabrics spanning decades — from 19th century mourning prints and indigos all the way to 1930s pastels and 1940s bright florals. Somehow, for me, it all just works.

Fortunately, the top is clean with no damage, stains, smells or inappropriate fibers — although there are a few pieces of seersucker that I’m not going to bother replacing. I will need to do some close quilting to get it flat and keep everything secure.

So, are you a fan of this craziness, or is this just too much?

Crazy Courthouse Steps Quilt Top
Unknown quilter, 1940s
76″ x 80″





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