What Is the Ladder Stitch?

Written by christine lebednik
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What Is the Ladder Stitch?
(MASH/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Ladder stitch describes stitches in different needlework crafts, including beadwork, hand embroidery and knitting. In embroidery and knitting, ladder stitch has two meanings within the same craft including a seaming stitch in knitting.

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Except the seaming stitch, the commonality among ladder stitches in different crafts involves the completed stitch resembling a ladder.

Foundation Stitch

Ladder stitch often acts as a foundation for stitches such as herringbone or brick stitch, according to Beadingdaily.com


Beadworkers stitch through beads and also stitch a loop through the previous stitch along the outside edge to work ladder stitch.


In embroidery, ladder stitch involves a drawn thread technique where the ladder-like thread image results from threads remaining in the design region.


In knitting, ladder stitch involves a combination of knit and purl stitches alternating with all knit rows to produce, again, the appearance of a ladder where the knit and purl stitch groups alternate with each other, as shown at Knittingonthenet.com.


Finally, ladder stitch refers to a finishing stitch used in joining underarm seams in a hand-knit sweater, sometimes called mattress stitch. The crafter brings the yarn needle back under the yarn between the two preceding stitches to produce a seam both more secure than with other stitches as well as a nearly invisible join, as described at Annniesattic.com.

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