Climbing Jacob’s Ladders and the Aftermath

My funny-looking ripple eventually grew to its full length of 86 rows, or about 56 inches.

I consulted Heather Tucker’s Jacob’s Ladder Ripple pattern before attempting the next step – ‘climbing’ the ten-stitch chain sections.

Heather’s directions are clear, yet I wondered if I could find a tutorial somewhere on-line.

Crochet N’ Crafts has a great Jacob’s Ladder video tutorial! The first couple of minutes show how to climb a ladder using a crochet hook. You can ignore the border directions that come next because they won’t work on a ripple.

After doing some loops going from the bottom up like both Heather and C n’ C say, I decided to instead lay my blanket horizontally and then, being right-handed, worked from my right toward my left. This was easier for me; it might be easier for you too!

Start by picking up two adjacent ten-chain strands, one in each hand, in this case a cream chain in my left hand and a burgundy one in my right, and pull them up so they form loops.

Insert the center of the cream loop (left hand) into the burgundy loop (right hand)

Then pull the cream loop through and up with your right hand.

Pick up the next unworked chain to the left with your left hand. It’s a dark rose one this time.

As before, insert its center into the loop in the right hand.

Pull the loop through and up with your right hand.

Keep repeating these steps, moving from right to left, stopping to smooth your work after every few loops.

Once I had worked all the chain columns, I followed the pattern’s directions for the last row, which anchors the remaining topmost loop of each ladder. Finished, I excitedly threw my new ripple down to admire it, only to find that I had crocheted a blanket that reminded me far too much of my ripple’s sad-looking beginnings. sigh

Not only was it slightly rumpled, it had terribly curled points on both ends as well!

Not Good!

I wondered if anyone else had this problem, so I went to look at the finished Jacob’s Ladder Ripples already in Ravelry. I saw that lacyann74’s tips (click on 2nd photo from top) also curl a little and I suddenly didn’t feel quite so alone.

Obviously, I had crocheted at least my ripple’s chains, if not the entire blanket, too tightly. Ugh!!

I threw it in the dryer with a load of damp towels, hoping that would help the stitches relax. I read somewhere that this works with acrylic yarns. Fresh out of the dryer things looked much better! phew.

But I wanted flat points, with no curls, so I decided to try Sssssteam! Steam worked on the curly acrylic/wool neckwarmers I knitted for charity this summer!

It could work on my blanket’s curls too!!

Here’s my recalcitrant ripple, pinned down and thoroughly steamed. I am hopeful!

After letting it set to cool and dry I yanked all the straight pins and found its ‘ending row’, the lesser curled of the two ends, was now flat.

Don’t point out that single slightly curled tip on the far left end – that would just be rude.

The points on the more severely curled ‘beginning end’ were flat now too!! YAY!

What a Relief!

All well and good that the points were flat immediately after I removed the pins, but I was suspicious of what mischief they might get up to later, like a cowlick that reappears after an hour. Boing! So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that they stayed flat even while I flung the blanket about for its official photo shoot!

But my celebration was short-lived because. . . while taking the flat shots of my ripple I discovered a new problem.

I have a loose loop of the burgundy Red Heart Plush yarn! Aaaaaargh!!!!

It’s not a chain, so it wasn’t meant to be part of a ladder. . . I don’t know where it came from! But I do know that I can easily tack it down with burgundy sewing thread. Since I’m going to do that, I might as well fix the big holes at the base of the chain ladders too. sigh.

They’re almost two inches long, which is definitely big enough to snag a toe! Tsk.

April 12, 2017, edited to add . . . Dorothy Stephenson left a very helpful tip in comments today, (too late to help me, but maybe just in time to help you!) “If you twist the first loop before “climbing the ten stitch chain section” it’ll tighten that first loop so there’s not as bit a hole at the start. ”

And now, back to my original post. . .

I’m going to tack each slit at its middle, so it will become two shorter slits, each less than an inch long.

After all this trouble, do I ever want to do another Jacob’s Ladder afghan? Well, Yes, I do! This really is a simple pattern, made up of just double crochets and chains. . . oh, and dc3tog decreases, which the pattern explains how to do. I don’t like feeling that it nearly got the better of me – scoff! I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll simply move up one size to an I hook or add a couple extra chains to each ladder strand next time, but I know I will at least choose yarns of all the same weight – the pale rose is significantly heavier than any of the others. Well, whichever way I go, I’m keeping my little steamer handy! HAHa.

And once I’ve conquered the Jacob’s Ladder Ripple pattern. . .

Just Look at all the other Jacob’s Ladder patterns I can choose from!

More Jacob’s Ladder Patterns

1. Rectangular – basic with all ladders going in the same direction, or with alternating ladders, one going up, then one going down – Jacob’s Ladder Afghan by Bev’s Country Cottage. Many examples, here.

2. Rectangular with different distances between ladders – Jacob’s Ladder Stash Afghan by SpaceWhisper in Ravelry. No pattern. Link takes you to this afghan’s project page, where Nancy’s notes say she alternated 10 dc and 10 chains, with 5 dc and 10 chains.

3. Rectangular, ladders go in one direction but post stitches lead the eye the opposite way – Southwestern Cable Afghan by Karen Wolfram. A few examples, including some close-up photos, can be found here.

4. Rectangular with criss-crossed angled ladders – Jacob’s Snakes and Ladders Blanket by Becky Simmons

5. Another Ripple, but with ladders between the peaks and valleys – NW T4 Dissertation CAL – Jacob’s Ladder Afghan, Another wonderful idea from SpaceWhisper in Ravelry. The first link takes you to the afghan’s project page. This one takes you to the beginning of the Jacob’s Ladder CAL, which has many ideas hidden within.

6. A 12″ Square/Motif – link is to photo only – a Jacob’s Ladder pattern someone found in the book, “99 Granny Squares to Crochet”

7. Round with nine ladder spokes – Loops-A-Dazy

8. Round, begins with nine ladder spokes, which soon increase to twenty-seven!Round Jacob’s Ladder Blanket for Babies by Maxine Gonser. Many examples, here.

9. A Round Ripple with eight ladder spokes – Jacobs Ladder Round Ripple Pattern by Julee Reeves. A few finished examples, here.

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22 Responses to Climbing Jacob’s Ladders and the Aftermath

  1. Allyson Gilcrease says:

    That is beautiful!!! Well worth all the work and worry that you put in it!

    • Thank You!!
      and I agree – the fine results make it worth all the extra time invested!

      No worry for me though – I just saw this as an interesting puzzle to be solved. I love how our unconscious minds can work on a solution while the rest of our brains are busy with other tasks. Ah-HA! moments that appear ‘out of the blue’ are wonderful!! πŸ™‚

    • I have tried making a similar blanket. It is just a rectangle and i have the 10 dc that i need to braid up to the top. I got the pattern from my mamaw but sadly she passed away before i finished and she could explain to me how to finish. I have been searching and searching of how to finish off the end. The yarn is kind of a thicker yarn, it is the Lions Brand homespun yarn and i can get all the way up to the top, but then not sure what to do with that last loop, could you maybe email me and explain how to do it? i would be so grateful! thank you so much!

      • Hi Logan!
        Sorry about you mamaw’s passing. It is nice that you will always have this blanket as a memento. I’ll try my best to help you finish it. πŸ™‚

        I noticed that you called the 10 stitches for a ladder ‘dcs’ while I would call them ‘chain’ stitches, so beware. . . I don’t want to confuse you, but I think I’m using American crochet terms and you’re using British?

        Here’s a very good video tutorial that shows how to finish a rectangular Jacob’s Ladder blanket. It starts with making the ladders, which you already know how to do. She does suggest putting a safety pin into the ending loop as you finish each ladder though, – A paper clip would work as well. – so the loop can’t work itself loose.

        Keep watching – next she shows how to deal with all those the loops!

        Basically you’re going to add one more row onto your blanket. I hope you have more of the yarn you used for the blanket? If not, I’d probably pick a contrasting color rather than one that almost matches and just call it a border! lol.

        Work the first set of regular stitches. In the video they are dcs. – Guess that would be triple crochets for you? – Anyway, all you have to do is to match whatever stitch you did in your blanket’s previous rows. When you get to a loop do a slip-stitch into it. Now it can’t come undone. Yay! Repeat across the rest of the top edge, doing a group of regular stitches and then a slip-stitch into a loop. You’ll end with one last group of regular stitches and you’re done! Ta-Dah! πŸ™‚

        Please let me know how it goes.

  2. Thanks for making me laugh!!! Your blanket is really beautiful, and I think only you will notice any minute imperfection. πŸ™‚

    • It’s fun to share a laugh – especially with another crocheter who just happens to be a bazillion miles away!

      Thank you – I think it’s beautiful too, since I’ve finally gotten those naughty points to behave themselves. πŸ™‚
      Minute imperfections I live with in every blanket I make. You don’t know how many missing and extra stitches are hiding in this very one! I never rip back if simply adding or subtracting a stitch within the same point on the next row will bring the stitch count back to normal. Shhh, that’ll be our little secret. HAha.

  3. Wawanna says:

    It is lovely, the colors are so nice together! You are being so particular, can’t wait to see your next one. It will be just as lovely plus you have learned how to tweak the pattern to make it more in line with your expectations. Keep up the good work… its awesome!

    • Hi Wawanna – So good to hear from you!

      I couldn’t see any reason why this ripple’s points couldn’t look just as lovely as all my other ripples’ points. I just had to find the right kind of encouragement for them – like a good blast of steam! HAha.

      Yes, I expect my next Jacob’s Ladder Ripple will go much more smoothly. I even have a couple ideas to try for getting rid of those long slots at the base of the ladders. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for sharing your process and troubleshooting tips! I think I’ll wait for you to make another one before trying out a Jacob’s Ladder ripple of my own :).

    • You’re very welcome, Marie.

      Please don’t avoid this pretty ripple pattern because of my poor example. You can avoid my two biggest mistakes by using all the same kind of yarn and working those chain sections loosely. I think I paid too close attention to the crocheter who said that next time she would put fewer stitches in her chains and I consciously chained tighter than I normally do. :S

  5. jane says:

    Linda,
    You have given the most GOOD information on Jacob’s Ladder that I have seen anywhere! Bravo! I am currently working on a Jacob’s Ladder (non ripple) that I have enlarged. I am using only one gorgeous color & the BLO to add interest. I have been concerned about how I would do the loop process & get it right at the end. It would be terrible to do all that work & make it look tacky in the end because I couldn’t make them look like cables in one of those expensive sweaters. This is the look I’m going for. If it turns out right, this may be the afghan I keep for myself after 38 yrs of crochet. I have given all the others as gifts. Wish me luck.

    • Thank You, Jane! I hope my photos make working the ladders easier for you. They really were simple once I understood what I was supposed to do with those chains! And since you’re not doing a ripple blanket I doubt that you’ll have those long slits along the bottom edge like I did. πŸ™‚

      I know I don’t like swatching, but you might want to make a mini Jacob’s Ladder, just so you can see how it’s going to come out.
      A single color Jacob’s Ladder with the subtle texture of the BLO stitches will be very classy looking!

      I hope your blanket turns out even better than you imagine!! You’re loooong overdue to keep a special one just for yourself.

  6. Denise says:

    such a beautiful blanket! i am a beginner and attempting this pattern but my edges end up at a angle instead of a straight line. any advice?

    • Hi Denise! – Welcome to alottastitches and Thank You!

      Hmmmm. This is quite a puzzle. Let’s see if together we can figure out what’s happening. . .

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘my edges end up at an angle.’

      Could it be that your blanket is gradually getting either wider or narrower sort of like an Isoceles Trapezoid? (as labeled, the one on the right)

      Or maybe is it more like a parallelogram, which kind of leans to either the left or right?

      Let me know if either of those descriptions fits and we’ll go from there.

      • Denise says:

        It is definitely like the isoceles trapezoid, it gets wider and wider the more rows I add.

      • Uh-Oh, Denise! Sounds like you’re adding a stitch somewhere, probably at the beginning or end of the row.

        To give me a better idea of just how far off your blanket has gone, would you mind measuring it? The width at the starting row, width at last row worked and its height. And I’m going to go look over the pattern – see if I notice any place where the instructions are a little tricky.

        Oh, and you could try crocheting one more row by reading the pattern very carefully, phrase by phrase. . . maybe you’ll notice something in those areas (beginning and end of row) that you missed completely, it happens, or may have misunderstood. Let me know how it goes.

        I look forward to talking with you again.

      • I read through the Jacob’s Ladder Ripple pattern and then, thinking someone else might have had your same problem, I read all the comments too.

        Couldn’t help noticing that ‘Mama’ directed you to her YouTube tutorial. I hope it gave you the answer you need, because I don’t have a better one for you. Sorry.

        All I can suggest is that if the number of dc stitches in the last section is increasing by one on every row then make things work out by skipping one dc – just in that last section do 5 dc instead of 6.

        Please let me know how things go for you.

  7. I got an email from Denise:
    ” I putting 3 dc into the tr at the beginning lol thank you for your help! ”

    My reply:
    I’m so HaPpY for you!! πŸ˜€
    I’m glad that it was such an easy fix.

  8. What a beautiful afghan! The colors are so pretty! I just finished my first Jacob’s Ladder project, which was a square for a CAL afghan. It was really fun to do and I am considering making a larger blanket like yours for a baby gift. My question is about steaming/blocking because I am a very tight stitcher and my ripples curl, too. Do you have to resteam and block it after every wash? Or does it hold its shape?

    • Thank You! And congrats on finishing your Jacob’s Ladder square.

      Umm, the points on my other ripples don’t curl, only with this pattern. Since you know you crochet tightly – Have you ever experimented with going up one or two hook sizes from whatever is recommended for a particular yarn? You might like the results!

      re: steaming/blocking. . . It really depends on the kind of yarn. Results are permanent when you steam 100% acrylic, but you’ll need to redo wool.
      Be careful with steaming. Overdoing it, also called “killing”, will make acrylic limp/lifeless. If you use a steam iron rather than a steamer, hold it about an inch above the surface. You might consider steaming a swatch or two first.

      Best wishes,
      Linda74

  9. If you twist the first loop before “climbing the ten stitch chain section” it’ll tighten that first loop so there’s not as big a hole at the start. Love this pattern. Thank you.

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