Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New (old) Top I - Jacob’s Ladder

69" x 80"
I keep saying I don’t need any more quilts and yet I bought two more at the Minnesota Quilter’s show this year from dealer Bill Wivell. (with the encouragement of a couple of  bystanders  - you know who you are!)  I thought I’d blog about both of them in this entry but have decided that each one deserves its own post.
Nothing beats a classic blue and white for me…. this one has a variety of shirtings as background and a single blue polka dot. I loved the diagonal graphic created by the placement of the darks and light in this Jacob’s Ladder; another block name with a biblical reference.

Actually, I guess you could called them summer spreads as each is backed with what appears to be a white cotton bed sheet. It’s hard to say whether that was done when the top was made or if it was added later. It does indicate to me that they likely came from the same household if not the same maker.  There is no tying, tacking or quilting. I believe them both to be from the turn of the century - 1880-1910.

The piecing is essentially a 9 patch composed of five pieced 4 patches (each corner and the center) and four half square triangles.
Placement of light and dark elements as well as block orientation creates a strong diagonal in this example...a block like this provides many opportunities for interesting arrangements.

54" x 72" Made by Margaret LaBenne c. 1995
As seen on page 242 Georgia Quilts; Piecing Together a History
Here's a variation I made in 2006. I used 9 patches from a group exchange instead of 4 patches.
89" square
Can you isolate the block?
Back to my project......
Damaged Block
Though the top appears to be unused, one block is damaged – it feels crisp, is torn and looks pinched somehow. I've decided to remove the backing and  take off the top row of blocks, replacing the damaged one and possibly a couple more that are stained. The quilt will be a square when I am done - a versatile shape– on a bed or wall. I wonder if I should add a border?

Next: New (old) Top II - Swastika


  1. Love the vintage quilt and I am really loving that 9-patch variation of Jacobs Ladder you made. The rainbow palette set off by the red--beautiful!

  2. Great finds Jean - - I'd be standing there cheering you on to make the purchase!
    I always found good 'pickings' in Hopkins ;-)

  3. Hmmm, I have a bunch of nine patches from an exchange. What a great way to set them. I love nine patches. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. I have a friend who bought a vintage blue and white Jacob's Ladder top and finished it with a couple of borders. It really looks great. Let me know if you would like me to send you a photo.


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