Beth Gutcheon's Here is the Steeple Patchwork Block
When you think of blocks, you imagine they were drawn hundreds of years ago but in fact new ones are being created all the time. This block was designed by Beth Gutcheon and was first published in the Quilt Design Workbook in 1976. Beth and her husband Jeffrey were quilting pioneers at the forefront of the quilt revival in the USA in the 1970s and 80s.
This is a five patch block. You can either use a measurement easily divisible by five such as ten inches. Or if you want to use a twelve inch block you can divide the square into a grid 10 x 10. Then use two of each square for the five patch grid. Once the small triangles are in place it is quite simple to draw in the rest. See Figure 1
The block is pieced into five separate units - the centre section and the four corners. Follow the construction diagram in Figure 2. Start with the large triangles in the corners and add the two either side. Press towards the dark triangles and then add the smaller triangles. When you have your five units assembled, join them together as shown in Figure 3.
Due to the two part nature of the block the middle section will appear to come forward when you use an edge to edge arrangement. You can enhance this effect by using lighter and warmer colours for the centre pieces as shown in Figure 4.
Another visual illusion you can achieve with this block is to create circular effects similar to the kaleidoscope block. In order to achieve this you need to plan your colour scheme carefully and need a numbered plan or diagram showing where to change colours. In Figure 5 the quilt as shown with bright green, fuschia and turquoise circles appearing in the background. Using this colour movement across block boundaries makes the quilt top look much more complex.
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