Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Building the Courthouse Steps

Today we:
went to the library
ate homemade vegan biscuits
checked out WAY too many books (again)
played computer games
took Sydney to dance class
baked vegan whole wheat hamburger buns
and ate them with veggie burgers and baked potatoes

In my scarce child-free time, I:
read from start to finish
bought a guitar
made vegan whole wheat hamburger bun dough
sewed and sewed and sewed more dinos

The log cabin quilt is probably the easiest kind of quilt to sew, after the one-block quilt, of course, because it doesn't require a template. And if you're not way into precision (which I'm not), sketchy math skills just make it look better.

The traditional log cabin block starts with a middle block that is a perfect square; since my middle block is made from the picture on the front of a T-shirt, however, my middle block is rarely a square. Here's how I start with that to build a Courthouse Steps log cabin block that IS perfectly square:

1. You can save some time while piecing if you have some guidelines in mind and prep accordingly. For instance, although I'm building my blocks with strips of various lengths and widths, I know that I want each finished strip to be no wider than 1.5" and no longer than 12". When you add in the seam allowances, that means that my largest possible strip could be 2"x12.5". So I pre-cut every strip to that measurement, and just trim off what I don't need as I'm piecing. To save extra time, I also basically chose that 1.5" width just so that I could cut strips to the width of my 2" clear plastic ruler and not have to measure.

2. You build a Courthouse Steps block with mirror-image symmetry, so that what you do to one side, you do to the other:
You do top and bottom, then left and right, then top and bottom again, taking turns to build up your block:
Obviously, some of the pieces on the longer side will have to be trimmed to be narrower than 1.5", otherwise you won't be able to get to a perfect square AND have the same number of pieces added.

When you're done with one block, repeat (can you figure out how I messed this one up?): And repeat again:

And then go do something else, because piecing gets tiresome.


cake said...

questions: you guys are not vegan, are you?
also, um, whole wheat hamburger buns would already be vegan, wouldn't they? just wondering.

love the title of this post.

julie said...

I've been eating vegan for a few weeks, and since I'm the only one who cooks or shops, I suppose everyone else just gets dragged along with me. The only differences are that I spend more time cooking and use real recipes, so stuff tends to taste better, and I've stopped spending a fortune on Trader's Point Creamery yogurt.

I don't know anything about bread. I just use a recipe, and the title of this one was Vegan Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns.

julie said...

Oh, wait--I do, too, know how it's vegan. The cup of unflavored soymilk that the recipe called for probably substituted for cow milk or something.