The Jacobs Ladder quilt block is one of those traditional quilt blocks that can be used again and again because it’s so versatile – as well as being very simple to make. I have made this small quilt 28″ by 36″ using twelve quilt blocks, but of course you could enlarge it by just making more blocks.
For the quilt top alone I used 18.1/2″ each of the black and white fabric and 10″ of the red fabric for the border – those measurements are across the width of fabric.
three 2.1/2″ strips in both black and white
twelve 4.7/8″ squares in both black and white
four 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric for the border
Makingthe quilt blocks
Part of the jacobs ladder quilt block is a four patch unit. This is made by sewing together a2.1/2″ strip each of dark and light fabric. Press the strip and then cut at 2.1/2″ intervals. Place two of these strips together so that the black and the white squares are diagonally opposite each other. Sew them together to make a four patch unit. You will need twenty four of these.
In order to make the half square triangle units, lay a 4.7/8″ light and dark square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line. This produces two half square triangle units. You will need twenty four of these.
There are different ways of placing these patchwork squares together to make the jacobs ladder quilt block. You can see that the four patch units have remained the same in these two photos, but in one the light triangles are in the centre while in the other the dark triangles are in the centre. It really changes the look of the block, doesn’t it!
For this jacobs ladder quilt I have chosen the layout with the dark triangles in the middle. Make twelve of these blocks by sewing the squares together in pairs and then sewing the two pairs together to make each block.
When you have made the quilt blocks, there are still plenty of choices. The layout in the left hand photo makes a striking design that I will definitely use in a different quilt, but for this quilt I am using the right hand layout. This is more what I think of as the traditional jacobs ladder layout. Sew the blocks together in three rows of four blocks each. At this stage the quilt measures 24.1/2″ by 32.1/2″ as these are 8″ quilt blocks.
Jacobs ladder quilt border
For the quilt border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric to provide a bold frame for the quilt. Cut two lengths of 24.1/2″ and sew one to the top and one to the bottom of the quilt. Cut two lengths of 36.1/2″ and sew these to the sides of the quilt.
The jacobs ladder quilt top is now complete and ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section. I think that it makes a delightful quilt that is very quick and simple to make – great if you are looking for an easy project to make for charity fairs.
Here’s the video: