Monday, January 1, 2018

Jacobs Ladder Series-Original Drawing

This is a series I have wanted to start for a long time. 

It all started when I saw a photo of this quilt.

Underground Railroad
c. 1870 USA 90x90
Museum Quilts Gallery, London, England

      Here is the cover of the book it came from.

     Ljiljanna Baird writes that: 
     The resonance of the bitter debate on slavery is felt in the naming of this quilt. The "Underground Railroad" was an organization of individuals who helped spirit black fugitives to the safety of the North. It's pre-Civil War name was Jacob's Ladder, and in other parts of America it is variously known as Stepping Stones, The Tale of Benjamin's Kite, Trail of the Covered Wagon, and Wagon Tracks. 

     This two-color quilt is a rather simple nine-patch construction of thirty-six blocks. However, the finished appearance is one of considerable complexity.The overwhelmingly strong diagonal thrust dominates it's square construction and requires the viewers concentration to "see" the nine-patch block.

     I was fascinated with the simple graphic beauty of this quilt, but anyone who has seem my quilts would never believe that I would have the self control to make a quilt a  with only 2 solid colors. I began to play with what I could do with this block in EQ. I ended up with over 200 drawings, more quilts that I will ever be able to make, given of course that not only is that an awful lot of quilts, but I do have interests in other design ideas as well. So I thought it would be fun to share some of the drawings with you. I hope this will inspire you to see what you can do with this block and with other basic traditional blocks. I hope you will share with me, and the rest of us, what you come up with.

     This is the first drawing, of the original quilt.  

     Notice, this layout has an A block and a B block and that they are oriented in different directions. These are elements that we can play with to make different designs.

     This quilt measures 84" by 96" and is made from 12" blocks. 

I plan to post 2 of these drawings each week. I hope this will inspire you to see what you can do with this very versatile block. I would love to see what you come up with! You can send photos to

     Let me know what you think! 

A Block

B Block


  1. I really like how it makes it's own sashing. Sharon B in Franklin

  2. Simple rotation, symmetry, even a slight change in colour, all can create the most beautiful secondary patterns!