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Knitting with Ladder Yarn


Ladder Yarn Is Perfect for Beginner and Advanced Knitters

Ladder yarn is one of those wonderful yarns that allow you to use even basic knitting skills to make beautiful, eye-catching fashion accessories. If you aren't familiar with ladder ribbon yarn, it is a delicate looking yarn with blocks of colored threads anchored between two strands of (oftentimes, black) thread. Unlike ruffled yarns that require you work into the mesh of the yarn, ladder yarn is treated like a strand of yarn ... no need to work into the spaces between the color blocks.

When people see my ladder yarn scarves at craft shows, I often get comments from folks who have a handful of skeins at home but that they never knew how to work the yarn because it looked complicated. Ladder yarn is easy to work and the results are stunning. Many ladder yarns are multicolor so as you work the yarn you get a wonderful random pattern of colors.

Because you can work ladder yarn projects like scarves and shawls on large needles, you can create a finished project within hours. If you are still a bit intimidated by the yarn, further down this page you'll even find links to crafts using this yarn that require little more than measuring and knotting the yarn. If you know how to crochet a simple chain, you can also create a variety of stunning necklaces.

Photo of ladder ribbon crochet chains by the author

Ladder Yarns - So many color options

Although ladder yarns aren't inexpensive, you can usually make a hat or scarf from a single skein ... a shawl only takes three skeins. Worked on large needles, the projects work up quickly and you won't spend a lot of money on the results.

Knit Shawl

Knit Shawl

Knit Shawl

Ladder yarn is such a pretty yarn you really don't have to do anything fancy with it. The pattern links below direct you to projects that work up quickly and look more complicated than they really are. Make a skinny scarf, a beanie, a shawl, or a poncho is very little time. Even if you are a knitter who doesn't crochet, you can easily learn how to make the crochet chain that can be transformed into beautiful necklaces.

  • Ladder Yarn Crochet Necklaces
    You only need to know how to crochet a chain in order to make one of these seven necklaces. These necklaces work up quickly with minimal effort. The yarn really creates the look for the necklaces.
  • Beanie Skullcap
    Usually when I use ladder yarn to make a hat, I hold the strand of ladder ribbon together with a strand of acrylic or washable wool yarn. The ladder yarn sort of wraps itself around the worsted weight yarn so it doesn't change the gauge. This patte
  • Ladder Ribbon Yarn Scarf
    The great thing about ladder yarn is that you don't have to follow a pattern of knit and purl stitches. All you have to do is cast on and then knit ever stitch. The yarn makes the scarf look fancier and more complicated ... all the more impressive
  • No-Knit Scarf
    Fabulous look and you don't knit or crochet the yarn. Really! All you have to do is measure and cut the yarn and then knot it in strategic places. The pattern even shows you how to wear the scarf a few different ways.
  • Shawl
    Work this shawl pattern on large needles for a lacy effect. Beautiful and simple ... you only need to know how to increase to build the triangle shape.
  • Poncho
    Although Lion Brand discontinued their ladder yarn years ago, you can still find the yarn through other manufacturers. Make sure that the ladder yarn you use is 1/4" wide so that you keep the same gauge.
  • Window Treatment
    I couldn't resist sharing this fun pattern for a curtain made with ladder yarn. All you have to do is measure the yarn, hold several strands together and then knot it around a curtain rod. This would look fantastic if you worked together a few diff

Double Strand with Ladder Ribbon Yarn

Combine colors for a painted look

Most ladder yarns are multicolor yarns. One of my favorite things to do with the yarns is to work together two strands as the same time. The end result is a stunning painted effect. With the color patterns of two multicolor yarns leapfrogging over one another, the finished item takes on a depth of color.

Since I double-strand for scarves and shawls, the gauge isn't super important and the difference in size isn't dramatic. The item does end up a bit thicker, but a scarf or shawl made with two strands of ladder yarn is still lightweight and has a lovely flowing feel.

Photo by the author

Crafting Ladder Yarn Jewelry - Get inspired to make small accessories with yarn

Because ladder ribbon yarn is such a stunning yarn, you really don't have to do anything fancy with it to make a stunning item. Jewelry is just a one thing that you can make with ladder yarn. These are eye-catching items to sell or to give as gifts. Some of the videos give you directions for making a necklace or earrings, while one video will inspire you with a look through different styles. You can make a simple necklace or something more dramatic. Once you see how to make the necklaces, you may even be inspired to adapt the directions for a bracelet or two.

This simple yet dramatic necklace requires that you crochet six fairly short lengths of ladder yarn that you knot together. The ladder yarn really makes this a stunning piece.


The 20-Minute Necklace

Easy crochet pattern

This simple three-strand necklace will slide right over your head.

You will need one skein of ladder yarn (which gives you enough yarn for five-to-eight necklaces.

Scroll to Continue

You can use any size hook: H, I, J, K ... use the same hook for each chain or change to a different hook for each chain.

Leave a tail of 6". Chain 80 stitches. Leave a tail of 6" and fasten off.

Leave a tail of 6". Chain 90 stitches. Leave a tail of 6" and fasten off.

Leave a tail of 6". Chain 100 stitches. Leave a tail of 6" and fasten off.

Hold the three strands from one end. Knot the tails together.

Knot the tails at the other end of the strand together.

Next, knot together the two ends approximately 2" from the knots you just made. Trim the excess.

Note: If you are concerned about the knot coming undone, you can hold a lighter to the knot and melt the yarn so the knot holds. Do this in a well-ventilated area as the smell of melting synthetic yarn is stinky!

Okay, this isn't a tutorial, so you won't learn to make any of these necklaces. However, you will be inspired by the many, many patterns and color combinations.

This tutorial isn't focused on ladder yarn; however, it will inspire you to use ladder yarn and some of the other yarns that you have in your yarn stash to craft statement necklaces.

Trellis Earrings

I probably wouldn't wear ladder yarn earrings at the same time as a ladder yarn necklace, but if you find that you love this yarn, here is one more way that you can use it, wear it, and gift it.

Lots of Ladder Yarn Online- Ladder ribbon is addictive to work with!

My first ladder ribbon item was a shawl that I donated to a charity auction. I got so many requests for items using this yarn that I had to scroll around the Internet looking for options since the original yarn I used was discontinued from Lion Brand Yarns.

For a long time, I couldn't find ladder yarn but once I found a few places that offered this yarn I kept finding more and more manufacturers and dealers. You can find ladder yarn in different widths, different materials (usually nylon or polyester), different multicolor patterns (although sometimes you'll find solid colors), and sometimes you'll even find ladder yarns with a metallic glittery thread.

Have You Worked with Ladder Yarn? - What did you make?

Sheila McDowall from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on September 22, 2016:

I am into crochet and reading your article gave me an inspiration to try knitting.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on March 17, 2014:

Nice accessories!

lesliesinclair on June 24, 2013:

When I read the title I thought "new one to me" but as I see your photos and read your text I see that yes, I've used this yarn, and it does such nice things for my stitches.

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