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Jacob's Ladder

the Jacob's Ladder Quilt Block

Here is another classic block that is made from simple shapes- Squares, Rectangles,  and Half Square Triangles.

There are five 4-Patches in this block, and four Half Square Triangles. 

Contrast is what makes this block so directional.  All the dark squares run in diagonal lines.  There is a lot of movement to this block, which seams to climb upwards. Hence the name of the block, Jacob's Ladder.

Here are the measurements for the pieces:

Cut the squares 2-inches wide for the 4-patches.  
(If you have 4-inch squares, you can just quarter them)

The large Half Square Triangles will be made from squares that are 3 7/8 inches. 

(Tip:  When you are dealing with an eighth of an inch, as above, it is often easier to just go higher on the measurement, and then cut down the unit afterwards.  Try using 4-inch squares, and then cut down your Half Square Triangle.  See The Flower Basket Block for a good picture on how to cut down a Half Square Triangle )

Here is how you figure the size for the large squares.  Looking at the picture you can see that both the 4-patch units and the Quarter Square Triangles are the same size.  The width of the 4-patch will be the width of the two small squares when they are sewn together.  Two plus two, minus one seam allowance of 1/2 inches,  is equal to 3 1/2 inches (raw).

In order to get your Half Square Triangles the same size, you add 3/8 of an inch to the size of the squares you use to make the Half Square Triangles (raw).   See Half Square Triangles.  So that is why you cut your larger squares at 3 7/8 inches.

If you want to make a Sampler Quilt, you will want to know how to adjust the size of the blocks.  If you don't understand it at first, give it some time, and eventually it will all "click".

Strip Piecing the Jacob's Ladder Quilt Block  When you begin piecing together your squares, you will have 10 pieces to sew.  Chain piece them together.  Run them under the needle of your sewing machine one right after the other, without breaking the threads.

When you are done, you will have a long strand, as in the picture above.  Cut them apart, and then chain piece the units that you put together for the 4-Patch. This saves time and thread.

Construction of the Jacob's Ladder Quilt Block Here is how you will lay out your units when they are sewn together.  You can see that this is a simple 9-patch. 

Piece together your horizontal rows, turning the top and bottom seams away from the center, and the seams in the middle row toward the center. 

Sew the remaining seams, which should all next together nicely.

It can be confusing which way to turn the blocks, so leave your connecting threads (from strip piecing) in place as long as possible. 

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