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Knitting with Ladder Yarn

Updated on October 8, 2014

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.

Dazzle By Knitting Fever - #113 Purple Green Brown
Dazzle By Knitting Fever - #113 Purple Green Brown

Purple and green is one of the most popular yarns that I work with ... people love the dramatic color contrast. The brownish copper color tones down the colors a bit.

Knitting Fever Dazzle #115 Pinks
Knitting Fever Dazzle #115 Pinks

What a fabulous color for girls and teens! Ladder yarn is definitely dressier than an acrylic yarn scarf and is perfect for girls who love to dress up.


Knit Shawl

Knit Shawl
Knit Shawl
Premier City Life Ladder Yarn - Grenadine Glitz
Premier City Life Ladder Yarn - Grenadine Glitz

Some ladder yarns include a glittery thread that dresses up the yarn, making it appropriate for even black-tie events (or gift recipients who love a little shine).


Ladder Yarn Knitting Patterns - Links to making beautiful fashions accessories

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.

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.

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.

Knitting Fever Dazzle Metallic Ladder Yarn New Color 3 Sky, Blue, Silver
Knitting Fever Dazzle Metallic Ladder Yarn New Color 3 Sky, Blue, Silver

Did you know that blue is the most popular favorite color? When in doubt, you can't go wrong making a gift item in blue. The metallic thread adds a dressy touch; although the item can also be worn during the day.


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?

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    • Sheila Mcdowall profile image

      Sheila McDowall 

      2 years ago from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia

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

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Nice accessories!

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      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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