I’m mildly obsessed with Jacob’s ladders. Ever since I did the Jake’s Blankie Crochet-Along last year, I’ve been hooked. I used Jacob’s ladders in my Jacob & Julia bracelet, in my Accidental Beanie, and in my Criss Cross Applesauce square. I love the chunky, braided look, and the versatility of this stitch. A bold, Jacob’s Ladder edging just seemed like the perfect way to wrap up our 6 week discussion on crochet edgings.
Basic Jacob’s Ladders:
The idea of a Jacob’s ladder is to make a series of loops, and then chain those loops together. The loops can be made with chains, or with very tall stitches. If you’re working horizontally, across the ladder, you will probably be making one loop on each row. In this case, you will likely want to use chains. For example, here I have a ch7 on each row where I want the ladder. It should be noted that I only skipped 1 stitch under the chain spaces.
On the other hand, if you’re working in the same direction as the ladder, you will probably be making all your loops on one row. In this case, you will likely want to use tall stitches like these double trebles (dtr).
Once the loops are done, you pull each loop through the one before it to form the ladder – very much like making a big chain. The top loop then needs to be secured, usually by working another stitch into it on the next row. Different looks can be achieved by twisting all or some of the loops. Often the first loop is twisted to “close” the bottom of the ladder. In this picture, I have twisted the first loop, and I have secured the top loop with a slip stitch on the last row.
Taller stitches or more chains will create longer loops. The longer your loops are, the more they can stretch, and the chunkier your ladder will look. This takes some trial and error to get the look you want, and there’s no specific formula.
Jacob’s Ladder Edging:
For this edging, we’re making all the loops in one round, so we’re using the double treble like before. A double treble (dtr) is: YO 3 times, insert hook into next st, yo and pull up a loop, (yo and draw through 2 loops on hook) 4 times.
Starting in a corner, work ch 7 (counts as first dtr), dtr in each st across to the next corner. We want the ladder to go smoothly around the corner, so as we’ve discussed before, we need to add extra stitches in those corners. Let’s work 3 dtr in each corner.
Now repeat this for the other sides and corners. When you get back to the starting corner, work only 1 more dtr in that same corner. When we make the ladder, we want it to be seamless, with no starting loop and no ending loop. Instead of working a third dtr in this corner, just ch6 and fasten off. This chain will later become a “loop” with one end free, so we can work it into place where we need it. If you’ve ever done a seamless join when working in the round, this is very much the same idea.
Your piece is probably curling a bit at the corners and looks a bit floppy, but that’s ok. Now here’s where the magic happens. Pick up the starting ch 7 and fold it in half to make a loop, without twisting it. Use a stitch marker, safety pin, or paperclip to hold the loop in place. The stitch marker is important, don’t skip it – there’s nothing else to anchor this loop in place while you make the ladder.
Continue around, pulling each loop through the one before it. When you get to the end, you will have one active loop that needs to be secured, and that weird chain that we ended with.
Finally, take the end of the chain and pull it down through the active loop, from top to bottom, and pull it completely through.
This finishes the last loop, and leaves the tail at the back of the work, ready to be sewn in. By creating the last loop in this manner, you can’t tell where the ladder starts or ends.