My snakes and ladders quilt is actually a belated Christmas present – my only excuse for being so disorganised is that I was away for two weeks over Christmas. It’s a very simple quilt measuring 33″ wide by 42″ long and can be used as a quilt or as a playmat. I have used 5″ squares so that you could use a charm pack if you prefer. I actually used 5″ strips of fabric cut into 5″ squares. Six strips of fabric gave me forty eight squares. The only important thing to remember is that you need half dark and half light for the squares.
Cutting requirements for the snakes and ladders quilt
5″ squares: forty eight – half dark and half light
For the border you will need four 3.1/2″ strips of brown fabric cut across the width of fabric
For the snakes you will need some scraps of red fabric and interfacing
The numbers and the ladders are all embroidered
Making the snakes and ladders quilt
Sew the squares together in eight rows of six squares and sew the rows to each other.
For the border I have used 3.1/2″ strips of brown fabric. You’ll need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the two long edges and two lengths of 33.1/2″ for the two shorter edges. Adding the border to the longer edges first means that you won’t have to piece the border – each length can come from one strip of brown fabric.
Lay a rectangle of wadding down (about 35″ by 44″), lay the snakes and ladders quilt on top and pin in place. Please note – wadding only at this stage, not backing fabric.
Using fabric marker, mark the numbers on the squares, beginning with 1 in the bottom left corner and going from left to right or from right to left as you move up the rows. Number 48 will be in the top left hand corner. I found that I could use my normal fabric marking pen on the light squares but needed to use a white chalk marker on the dark squares.
My numbers are probably larger than you are used to seeing on a snakes and ladders board, but I felt that if I tried to make the numbers too small they would be a lot more difficult to embroider.
I have embroidered the numbers on using the satin stitch setting on my sewing machine. I used a stitch width of 2 and a stitch length of 0.5 – I didn’t want the numbers to be too obvious as it’s the snakes and the ladders which are the important part. I used white thread on the dark squares and blue thread on the light squares.
Adding the snakes and ladders
For the ladders I used satin stitch again. This time I used red thread so that they would show up well and I made the stitch width a bit wider (3). In order to avoid having too much stopping and starting, I sewed the ladders in two sections. In the photo you can see one side of a ladder in the top left of the photo. When sewing the second side I sewed over the rungs of the ladder twice, but overall it seemed the easiest and quickest way to make the ladder shape.
For the snakes I cut some different lengths of snake shapes in red fabric that had been backed with interfacing so that I could press them in place first and then sew them down afterwards. I haven’t done it yet, but I will be adding eyes and forked tongues in black thread to finish off the snakes.
Altogether I made four ladders and four snakes, but of course you can choose how many you wish to use.
Finally add the backing fabric. I have quilted using stitch in the ditch only because I didn’t want any quilting on the squares themselves. Now your snakes and ladders quilt is ready for binding. Full details of this stage can be found in the beginner quilting section.
Here’s the video:
By the time you read this I will be on my way to London for the day. I had the V&A exhibition of ‘Fabric of India‘ on my must see list, but I have only just realised that it closes on Jan 10th, so I’m dashing down to see it before it shuts. If time permits, I’m also hoping to get to the ‘Liberty in Fashion‘ exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. That one is on till February 28th, so there’s not so much urgency there.