April 4, 2017

Week 4: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Jacob's Ladder Blocks

Make 9 Blocks

4 inches square, finished

Each block has 2 each of 2 units. All of mine are made with two fabrics, but I noticed some of Jen’s have more. The simplest unit is a four-patch. The other unit, sometimes called Honeycomb, is a B-12 square with two contrasting opposite D-29 corners.

Most of the fabrics in my blocks are new to the quilt because I did not have any already-cut 2-1/2 inch strips needed for the squares. It also seemed a good time to add more fabrics to the mix!

Selecting Fabrics

I’ve selected 9 pairs of contrasting fabrics and plan to cut and make 3 blocks at a time. The fabrics are assorted sizes, but none are longer than 18 inches. Since I measure from the right (see “the Marti way to Cut”) I’ve lined up 3 combinations – each pair right sides together – matching the upper right corner and right edge. I’ve turned back a corner of the stack so you can see 6 fabrics – if you look closely, sorry!

Cutting Strips

1. If you kept the Strip Chart from week 3 (U.K. Crosses) you know we need lots of 1 ½” strips so for the Four Patch units in this block, I’m cutting a strip from the stack of 6 fabrics 1 ½ wide and full length. That means some are 10” long, some are 18”, etc.
2. Cut at least 1 strip set 2 ½” wide for the second unit in each block.
3.While you are cutting, cut extra strips. In the next 3 weeks we need 1”, 1 ½” and 2” strips.

Making the Four Patches

1. Cut a section 6 ½” long from each pair of strips.  Sew then together lengthwise, press to the dark and then cross-cut into four 1 1/2” segments.
2. Sew into two 4-patches.

3.Finish off with swirl pressing. As you press all seams in the same direction, you may need to pop a couple of stitches or they may do it on their own to make a nice flat center.

Making the Honeycomb Units

1.Separate the leftover 1 ½” strips. Put the dark strips in the stockpile.
Stack the light fabrics and cut 4 D-29 triangles from each fabric. (Don’ forget to nip the corners!)
2. Separate the 2 ½” strips. Put the light strips in the stockpile. From the dark strips cut 2 B-12 squares.
3. Center the D-28 and trim 2 opposite corners as we did with the Bow Ties.

4. Chain piece D-29 light corners to altered B12 squares. Press toward triangles.

5. Join matching units to make blocks shown.
6. Repeat with two remaining groups of 3 sets of fabrics.

Jacob's Ladder: One Name, Many Ladders

When I got my four quarters of the first 3 blocks put together and looked more closely, I had rotated the 4 patches differently than shown in the pattern.

If it had been just one block, I would have probably taken it apart. But having been so pleased with my chain piecing, I decided it wasn’t a mistake but a new design opportunity! Fortunately there are lots of variations of Jacobs Ladder. Here are my nine.

Oh no! My favorite block…the one in the center…It is too strong…Sometimes your favorite block just has to be turned into a “mug rug” for the sake of the quilt. Ah yes, much better!


Download a PDF for a Jacob's Ladder quilt layout that you can use with almost any size square and half-square triangle combination. You might be surprised by how different the quilt design looks when the blocks are rotated!

We've also got a PDF for you on quick cutting and sewing four-patch units using From Marti Michell templates and strips. You might also be surprised to know there are 21 sizes of square templates in the From Marti Michell product line -- with matching half-square triangles -- and you probably have a lot of them! Click here to visit our website for a list of sizes and download that PDF for future reference.

More About Jacob's Ladder Blocks for Long Time Gone

Visit these other Long Time Gone Sew Along blogs, too, for tutorials and other info:



Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com

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