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New on view in Heritage Hall: 'Courthouse Steps' quilt

Unknown Maker
 ca. 1860
 MSU Museum #2007:107.8
Kitty Clark Cole Collection
The technique used to make this Courthouse Steps quilt is an early example of "quilt-as-you-go." Quilts made using this technique are constructed by creating small units that are joined together to make a larger quilt.

To create the quilt blocks, a strip or small piece of fabric was placed with its printed side against the unprinted side of a foundation or bottom fabric. The strip was then stitched to the foundation fabric. Next, the strip was flipped to its right side. The next pieces were then added in a similar manner until the quilt block was complete. The stitches used to create the quilt block are also the quilting stitches or the stitches that hold the layers of the quilt together. The completed individual blocks were subsequently stitched together to form the quilt. Because the layering and quilting steps had already been completed, this technique has become known as "quilt-as-you-go."

The MSU Museum's Great Lakes Quilt Center has evolved from the sustained and significant quilt-related activities and resources at the Michigan State University Museum and the museum's long-standing interest in and commitment to preserving and presenting traditional arts history.  See the quilt and the Kitty Clark Cole Collection: