Snakes and Ladders Quilt

Snakes and ladders quilt

Snakes and ladders quilt

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

Add the border

Add the border

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.

Add the wadding and mark the numbers

Add the wadding and mark the numbers

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.

Make the numbers with satin stitch

Make the numbers with satin stitch

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.

Use satin stitch for the ladders

Use satin stitch for the ladders

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.

Cut red shapes for the snakes

Cut red shapes for the snakes

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.

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  1. Cecilia Alcantar says:

    Hi Rose, I have followed your tutorials with complete attention . As a novice to quilting you make it possible to not be anxious about getting started. This is the best way for encouraging beginners to get started in making the project from start to finish. Wishing you continued good Quilting in this brand new year of 2016. Your happy admirer, Cecilia Alcantar

    • Thanks, Cecilia. That’s very kind of you. Just think about the stage you’re making – not the overall project (which I agree with you can seem overwhelming!)

  2. how cute Rose, my son tells me my daughter in law hates changing quilts on the kids beds so maybe this one for the daughter instead, the boys will like it, hahahaha

    • Hi Twemyss. Could be fun for all the family. I’m backing mine in green fabric so that it can be used outside and won’t show the grass stains.

  3. Ummm…….What is snakes and ladders? Is this a game for children? Is it like Chutes and Ladders?

    • Hi auntiepatch69. Apologies – I should have mentioned that for anyone who doesn’t know the game. Yes, it’s a children’s game – you move along the rows according to what you throw on the dice but if you land on a snakes head square or the foot of a ladder you either go up the ladder or down the snake. I don’t know Chutes and Ladders, but it sounds as if it’s similar if not the same.

  4. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Love the quilt and it will be great for when my granddaughters get older not only as a game but also learning to count. Getting back to quilting now that the holidays are over. This will not take long to do.
    Hope you had a fun time at the shows Wish I was there to go with you.
    Have a great weekend and Happy quilting.

    • Thanks, Sandra. I used to play board games a lot with my children, and I’m looking forward to doing it with my grandchildren one day. Even though Christmas is lovely, it’s quite nice to get back into routine, isn’t it. The shows were lovely – informative as well as showing great fabrics.

  5. April Troje says:

    Hello Rose. I just saw your You Tube video of the Storm at Sea and I have to thank you so very much for showing how to make it without paper piecing and without templates. I had to look for a bit to see how I could leave this comment for you, and was so glad to find it. I hope somehow you get to actually read this and know that you have made a novice quilter extremely happy to be able to be able to try this beautiful quilt pattern. I have also printed out your Beacon Baby Quilt Pattern – It seems that I can make smaller quilts without anxiety, but when it comes to thinking about anything larger … I get panicky. However, that being said – I think with your tutorials and patterns – I just may try something larger! Thanks again so very much for taking the time to show that these patterns aren’t as daunting and scary as I thought they were! Cheers to you, and keep doing your lovely work!

    • Thanks for your kind comments, April. Some patterns just have to have templates, but this was one that I felt could be made using basic primciples. Don’t be nervous of larger projects – just think of each individual block and then make lots of them!

  6. Many thanks Rose, I love this idea and will also encourage my little granddaughter to count! I hope! Warmest wishes for 2016

  7. Rose, This is a “happy quilt / playmat” and would be a lovely gift for a baby.
    Thank you. Hope you enjoy London. Where’s the exhibitions on?
    Are they quilt /craft related?
    You have loads of energy long may it last.

    • Hi Mary. Yes, it would be useful as a baby gift. The exhibitions were really interesting. The first one was at the V&A museum – very crowded because it ends soon, but beautiful fabrics and a wealth of history. I hadn’t realised how important fabrics and weaving have been throughout India’s history. The second one, at the Museum of Fashion and Textiles, was all about Liberty prints through the years. There were some gorgeous Liberty fabrics from the 60’s that I can remember seeing in clothing at the time.

  8. hi Rose Happy New Year and this first quilt is a sure save me one for Henry when he is a bit older .So glad your holiday went well love and hugs Sheila xx

  9. Hi Rose,
    A very fast and easy quilt to make in an afternoon if you use a charm pack. Great to have on hand for 2 upcoming baby showers. Enjoy the show.

  10. Margaret Garlinge says:

    What a fab idea. Would be nice to make for a child who likes games.

  11. Christine Southgate says:

    What a fun quilt Rose, thank you. Enjoy your trip to London.

  12. Laura Nicholls says:

    Hi Rose

    What a great idea, not only is it fun but practical too. I have added this to my todo list as it looks good fun. Happy New Year.


    • Thanks, Laura. It’s definitely fun – the quilt itself takes no time at all, and even the numbers didn’t take as long as I’d thought they might.

  13. My four year old great grandson is going to love this quilt. Thanks, Rose, for the great tutorials.

  14. Butz Detail says:

    I love that idea for a quilt you can play a specific game on. I will do that as soon as my best friends girl’s a little older. 🙂

  15. Beryl Holmes says:

    What a good quilt for me to make during the next month. I broke my ankle white dog walking in mud and spent all Christmas in hospital waiting for it to be reconstructed. I have been knitting but as I improve mobility this quilt with the hand stitching will be just right. it can be machined when my pot is removed so thanks for the idea.

    • Hi Beryl. I am so sorry to hear of your accident. What a terrible way to spend Christmas. I hope that your ankle heals quickly. You definitely need to be looking at projects with plenty of hand sewing.