Thursday, July 1, 2021

Hive 1 July Tutorial - Jacob's Ladder Block

I'm looking ahead to autumn with my quilt block pattern. My block for the month is Jacob's Ladder. Apparently it goes by a variety of names, but this is how I've seen it referred to most often. There's also a similar block that's done in a four patch rather than a nine patch style I've seen called the same name (that block is used in the popular "Jewel Box" quilt). I'll be setting this quilt on point, so the grid of light color squares will be straight up and across instead of forming a diagonal pattern.

I have written a tutorial below, but I found the free block instructions from Fat Quarter Shop to be very useful. Feel free to follow along from their PDF instead, if that works better for you!

For this block I want an autumn color palette--oranges, dark greens, reds, mustard yellows, and some gray/black all welcome. Nothing too bright, go more towards earth tones. My stash includes a lot of old-fashioned patterns because I had a fat quarter bundle of civil war prints I pulled heavily from for this block--but solids, tone on tone, batiks, and prints are all welcome here as long as they follow the color palette.

You'll also need a light-colored neutral fabric. Anything in the vicinity of cream to very light beige is okay here. No bright whites. Solids or tone on tone fabric preferred, but low volume is fine too as long as it clearly reads as the light color. I have a whopping two of these in my stash.

Fabric A, autumn fabrics (scrappy preferred): 
10 2.5" squares
2 5" squares

Fabric B, cream:
10 2.5" squares
2 5" squares

First we'll make the HSTs. I use the two at a time method. Stack the 5 inch cream square on top of the autumn square, and sew a quarter inch on either side of the midline. (I always use a marker for this--more power to you if you can eyeball it!) 

Cut down the middle, and please press seams open. Repeat with the other squares. Trim all HSTs down to 4.5" square.

Next, make five four-patches as shown, with the cream and colored fabrics opposite each other. Because I'm making so many, I am using the strip method for this. Make them in whatever way works best for you and your stash. Again, please press all seams open. These units should be 4.5" square.

Arrange the units into a nine patch as shown, and sew together. You'll see the line of all light-colored squares going diagonally across the block, with the dark half of the HST pointing towards the light line. Please press all seams open for this final assembly, too! Your final block should measure 12.5" square. I'll square them up when I receive them. 

(Sorry for the shadowy photo--the hazards of late night sewing!) Of course I only expect one completed block, but *if* you end up with just extra HSTs or four-patches and want them off your hands, I'll happily receive them as individual components.

Thank you all! Please reach out with any questions or clarifications. Happy sewing! 

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