Steps to the Altar Quilt Pattern

Steps to the altar quilt

Steps to the altar quilt

With spring in the air, I’m sure that many people will be organising weddings.  My niece is getting married in September which is very exciting.  So it seemed very appropriate to use the Steps to the Altar quilt block in a quilt pattern.  This is one of several quilt blocks with that name, but it’s the one that I like the best.  The quilt measures 52″ square, so it’s a good sized throw.  I have used 1.1/4 yards each of dark blue and white, with 3/4 yard of light blue.

Cutting requirements for the Steps to the Altar quilt

4.7/8″ squares:  sixteen each in dark blue and white, thirty two each in light blue and white

2.1/2″ squares:  ninety six each of dark blue and white – but cut these in lengths so that you can use strip piecing.  Six strips each of dark blue and of white.

2.1/2″ strips for the border:  five strips of dark blue fabric

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangle units

Make half square triangles

Use all the 4.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a white square right sides together with a dark or light blue square and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units from each pair of squares.

Sew together dark blue and white strips

Sew together dark blue and white strips

Make four patch units

Sew together a 2.1/2″ strip of dark blue and white fabric.  Press the seam allowance towards the blue and cut at 2.1/2″ intervals.  This will give you strips made of one 2.1/2″ square each of dark blue and white.


Sew together in pairs

Sew together in pairs

Sew these together in pairs, rotating one of the pairs of squares so that the white squares are diagonally opposite each other.

Steps to the altar quilt block layout

Steps to the altar quilt block layout

Steps to the altar quilt block layout

Lay the squares out in three rows of three.  Place the dark blue/white half square triangles in two opposite corners with the white on the outside.  Place a light blue/white half square triangle in the middle of each edge of the block.  You’ll have to check the photo to see which way the triangles are placed.  Place the four patch units across the remaining diagonal.  Note that the four patch units in the first and second rows have the blue on the left in the top half while the four patch unit in the third row has the blue on the right in the top half.  Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows together to complete the steps to the altar quilt block.  Make twelve of these blocks.

Pinwheel block layout

Pinwheel block layout

Alternative layout for pinwheel blocks

The four blocks in the middle of the quilt have a slight alteration to them to make a pinwheel for the centre of the quilt.  The only difference is the dark blue/white half square triangle in the bottom right corner.  This is rotated so that the blue is top right of the square instead of facing towards the middle of the block.  Make four of these alternate blocks.

First two rows of the quilt

First two rows of the quilt

Assembling the steps to the altar quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of four.  The first row is made with four of the standard quilt blocks.  Place these so that the light blue triangles form a stripe going from bottom left to top right for the first two blocks and then going from top left to bottom right in the second two blocks.

The second row is made with two of the pinwheel blocks in the middle and a standard block at each end.  Place the blocks so that the light blue triangles follow the same lines as the first row above them.  You should now see the top half of the pinwheel in the middle of the bottom of the second row.

Rows three and four of the steps to the altar quilt

Rows three and four of the steps to the altar quilt

The third row is again made with two pinwheel blocks in the middle and a standard block at each end.  This time the light blue stripes are placed to form stripes going in the opposite direction to form the bottom half of the diamond shapes that are being created.  You should now have the bottom half of the pinwheel at the top of this row.

The fourth row is made using the remaining four standard quilt blocks.  Again take care to place them so that the light blue stripes come down to a point in the middle.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

Border for the steps to the altar quilt

I have used a simple frame of 2.1/2″ strips of dark blue for the quilt border.  You will need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the steps to the altar quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding and you can find more detail on these steps in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

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  1. Well, silly me, I just noticed the print button and now I will print out each quilt that you share with us. Thank you so much for all that you have shared with us. I, too, feel that your pictures and videos are great–I have no problem watching the videos.

    • Thanks, Marlene. The print button isn’t terribly obvious, is it? Glad you find the quilting videos helpful.

  2. Rona thickpenny says:

    LOVE this quilt Rose , the colours are so bright and clean looking . Putting this pattern on my long list of things I will make one day . This one is special .
    Its a wonderful day for a family gathering weather wise , hope you are having a great time together .

    • Hi Rona. Glad you like the quilt pattern. Yes, it was indeed a wonderful day – so nice to catch up with the family again.

  3. Hello Rose
    Thank you so much for sharing your time with us.
    There’s always one isn’t there? And I’m afraid it’s me.
    I would love to have a go at quilting, but please tell me, when a pattern states
    2 1/2″ squares, does that mean that I cut the material that size or add on 1/4″ all round for the seams?
    Sorry for being so dense.. it must be this spell of sunny weather
    Love to you

    • Hi Liz. Don’t worry – if you don’t ask you won’t find out! The sizes that I give in my quilt patterns are for the size of square that you need to cut. So when I say 2.1/2″ squares, you cut them at 2.1/2″ so that you will have a 2″ finished size square in your quilt.

  4. Thank you for another beautiful quilt you never cease to amaze thank you for sharing have a lovely weekend

  5. I think this one is just gorgeous and will make this one when I finish my current 2 projects which hopefully won’t take too long. Thanks Rose for your clear instructions as it takes the fear factor out of it which for us beginners is a real thing. Enjoy your time with your children and of course London a place I love.

    • Thanks, Irene. You sound like me – several projects on the go at any one time! I’m glad you find the quilt patterns helpful. I agree – London is a wonderful place to visit.

  6. Hi Rose,
    What a beautiful quilt! And to think that you were able to make it in a week.
    Regarding your blurry photos. There must be something wrong with the complainant’s eyesight. I see nothing but very clear photos.
    Enjoy your visit to London. I hope you have nicer weather than we are having here. The temperature this morning was 9°F.

    • Hi Claire. Thanks for your comments. I did feel guilty gloating about our weather because I know that those in other parts of the world are not so lucky. I hope the weather improves for you soon.

      • Oops! Meant to write complainer not complainant. In any case, I watched your video again and you really hit the jackpot with this one. It’s simply gorgeous! The weather is better today. It’s warmer and the sun is shining.

        • Don’t worry – we all knew what you meant. Glad you liked the video and even more glad that your weather is improving.

  7. I agree with everything that Hilary said, keep up the good work!

  8. This is really BEATIFUL, Rose. Whatever you do in your life time…..don’t sweat that small stuff! Enjoy and just have a GRAND time with your family.

    Rose, not to get off the subject…..with you living in the UK, are you a fan of DOWNTON ABBEY? I would love to know.

    • Hi LaVerne. Thanks for your encouragement – I agree that life’s too short to worry. I have watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey but I couldn’t say I’m an avid fan.

  9. Sandra Barnett says:

    Dear Rose,
    How rude of some people saying your video was not good.
    I know I am very grateful that you do all this work all week and then send it to little old me.
    I love the pattern and it is great even if you know no one getting married. Keep up the good work. I wills always be in your debt. Thank You.
    Hope you enjoy your time in London with the children. I am sure you will.
    Thanks again,

    • Hi Sandra. That’s so kind of you. I’m glad you like the quilt pattern – cheerful and springlike, I felt. Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to London.

  10. Sharon Bell says:

    Have made several of your quilt patterns and love each and every one. Also see nothing wrong with the photos, in fact I think they are great. Hope you are taking the photo class because you want to and not because someone complained. Enjoy and keep brings the great pictures and videos to those of use that need all the help we can get. I feel your pictures, videos and instructions have always been very clear and understandable.

    Enjoy the day with your family and have a great day.

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Sharon. Oh yes, I am taking the photographic course because I want to. I’ve always felt that it would be nice to understand my camera better. I’ll practise on the children on Sunday!

  11. As always Rose another lovely quilt. I wish I could make them but unfortunately I’m too impatient and want to make it the same day. Hopefully though I will attempt to make one one day as you always give all the measurements and very easy to follow instructions .
    Keep up the good work . Xx

    • Thanks, Debbie. Perhaps you could start with a table runner – they can be made quite quickly because they are so much smaller and a colourful table runner is a real conversation piece.

  12. Rose, This is a beautiful pattern. Thank you!
    As usual Rose you give a very good tutorial
    Hoping the weather will stay fine and you will have
    a lovely weekend in London with your family.

    • Thanks, Mary. I’m glad you like the pattern – I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. I’m really looking forward to Sunday – should be a lovely day out.

  13. Hi rose, thank you for so much inspiration as I am new to quilting can you please tell me hoe to mitre the corners on the bias edging? I have done the boarder and made my own bias to finish many thanks .

  14. Wow I love this one Rose. It’s on my list ‘to do’!

  15. Thank you for sharing this beautiful work with us and for the steps to follow.

  16. This is beautiful,I will look forward to making this one.
    Will be thinking of you Sunday,have a wonderful day with your family,
    Love and best wishes to a special lady
    Carole x

  17. Pat Birch says:

    Love your quilt,step by step instructions and a video. You do make it look easy ,I grasp it much better when shown this way. thank you for your time and devotion to quilting

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Pat. I try to stick to easy quilt patterns – breaking them down into small steps is the key.

  18. Kathy Rice says:

    My friend, you have done it again! Beautiful. I hope to start quilting again soon. Been having a lot of pain in my neck and back due to arthritis and fibromyalgia.
    I do appreciate your hard work. God bless you and yours.

  19. How rude of someone to complain about the photos! All the time, excellent instructions photos and videos you provide free and they complain! Some people have no idea how lucky they are that you give of your time to help them. Love this quilt pattern Rose, no weddings coming up but I will still enjoy making it! Thank you once again for all the lovely patterns and for giving us all so much of your time and expertise. Hope you’re enjoying the better weather.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Hilary. Don’t worry – I’m under no illusions about my photography. I’m very much a point and shoot type of photographer and the light is usually dreadful for photos all through the winter.

  20. Just love this one Rose. So easy and effective. Have a great weekend with your family.x

  21. Wow this is beautiful! Thank you so much for your tutorials each week! I always enjoy receiving them.