Antique Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Top

This is my latest quilt top purchase. My plan (as usual) was to take this apart to make antique doll quilts, but now that I’ve had a chance to look at it in person, I am almost tempted to remake it in it’s current form. There are many puckers (which really bother me), together with some split seams, poorly matched seams, and a few stains. Although I haven’t examined every print, the fabrics appear to be sturdy. There are some pieces in the top that look very old – the cadet blues, mourning prints and shirtings, but then there’s the pastel and brighter blue prints that look more like 30s prints. It’s obvious from the stitching that the blocks were all constructed by the same quilter, so maybe she just had some older scraps in her stash — like I do. If I were going to remake the top, I might not include the newer fabrics because they just don’t look quite right to me.

This top is both hand and machine sewn, and I don’t know what it is about these very old machine sewn tops — the quilters used unbelievably tiny stitches that are just horrible to remove. I wonder if the stitch length was not adjustable on those early machines, or maybe it was standard practice to sew with 26 stitches in an inch (I am not kidding — I counted them).

I love all the shirtings in this quilt, and most of the prints are a good scale for a miniature quilt. Maybe I could make a Jacob’s Ladder doll quilt, and then I’d feel less guilty about taking it apart.

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