Skill Level: Beginner
The Jacob's Ladder quilt block is characterized by strong diagonal lines running in both directions through the block.
Four patches fill the corners and center of this variation on a nine-patch pattern, with half square triangles completing the design.
This block goes by a number of other names including:
Further below you'll find cutting instructions for 5 block sizes, 8 variations based on this patchwork design, and finally a look at a few other blocks that carry the 'Jacob's Ladder' moniker.
Visit our page Jacob's Ladder Quilt Design and scroll down to the 3x3 Grid section to jump start your idea factory on what to do with all the blocks you'll make.
Let's get to our Jacob's Ladder!
Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
Sample Block Size: 6"(6-1/2" unfinished)
Grid Size: 1"
Design Type: Even 9-patch
Watch for the half square triangles are marked with '**'.
I prefer to make my HSTs larger and trim them down to the actual size after stitching.
The Quick Piecing method is used to make them.
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1**||L||2||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"||3⅞" x 3⅞"||4⅞" x 4⅞"|
|2**||D||2||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"||3⅞" x 3⅞"||4⅞" x 4⅞"|
|3||L||1||1¼" x 13½"||1½" x 16"||1¾" x 18½"||2" x 21"||2½" x 26"|
|4||D||1||1¼" x 13½"||1½" x 16"||1¾" x 18½"||2" x 21"||2½" x 26"|
|Unfinished Block Size||5"||6½"||8"||9½"||12½"|
And these are the cut patches...
Our Jacob's Ladder needs four HSTs.
With a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the back side of the two #1 squares.
With RST, layer one marked light square with one dark #2 square. Stitch a quarter inch away from the drawn line on both sides. Repeat for the second pair of squares.
Cut on the drawn line to create two units from each pair of squares.
Find your finished block size in the chart below. Check your accuracy. Trim if needed (if you cut oversized patches you will need to trim.)
|Trim HST to…|
These are your trimmed units.
Jacob's Ladder quilt block needs a total of five 4 patch units.
With RST, align the edges of the light and dark strips. Stitch the long edge with a quarter inch seam.
With your rotary cutter, straighten one short edge of this strip set. Now cut it into ten 1-1/2" segments that look like this.
Alternating light and dark fabrics, stitch pairs of these segments together to create five 4-patches that measure 2-1/2" square.
To reduce bulk at the center of a four patch, I like to twirl or pinwheel the seam allowance. It looks like this (below, right).
Lay out your sewn units in rows.
It is REALLY easy to get the patches discombobulated! (Ask me how I know!) Just remember that the triangle squares border the light diagonal chain of squares.
Stitch the patches into rows.
You can press in either direction—towards the 4-patches or towards the HSTs—just be consistent. That way your seams will nest which makes matching them so much easier.
Stitch the rows together. After a final press your Jacob's Ladder quilt block looks like this.
You've learned just how simple this design is to make.
Your blocks are finished.
What to do?
How to arrange them?
Climb the ladder to quilting success!
Just check out our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library to find more blocks for your next quilt project!
Step by step and you'll be finished in no time!