Jacobs Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder – Quilt blocks from the Bible

And he dreamed and behold a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reached the heavens and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

Genesis 28:11-22

Jacob’s Ladder is a very old quilt block pattern, dating to before the American Revolutionary War. It is classified as a pioneer quilt pattern.

Jacob’s Ladder was first discussed in writing in a 1915 book called Quilts : Their Story and How to Make Them, by Marie Webster. It was the first authoritative book on the subject, making the claim that this pattern got its name from the Bible story of Jacob sleeping and receiving a vision of a ladder that led all the way to heaven. 

This pattern is also known as ” The Road to California” “Stepping Stones”, “Covered Wagon”, “Road to the White House”, “Tail of Benjamin’s Kite”, “Wagon Tracks” and “Underground Railroad” depending in which area it was used.

The first publication of the pattern was in 1884, as Jacob’s Ladder. There are over a dozen variations in number of colors and values or sizes. The oldest version is done in only two colors.

Jacobs Ladder in two blocks
The First Publication of the pattern was only in two colours

In 1922, as part of the Ladies Art Company of St Louis, Missouri’s booklet Quilt Pattern Book, Patchwork and Appliqué, featured three variations. Number 207, which features a four patch at the corners and a full square on two diagonal corners in Number 237. In Number 239 the corner pieces are consolidated to form Road to Oklahoma.

I used two shades of red plaid in the red memory quilt and I scrambled the four patches to create a checker board of colour on the intersection of the blocks.

Jacobs Ladder in two shades of red plaid