How to Knit the Purled Ladder Stitch

For an easy way to add texture, try the purled ladder stitch

If you’ve ever fallen asleep while knitting (as I have), you understand why sometimes you need a stitch pattern with a bit more bite than garter or stockinette.

On the other hand, if you ever knit while doing something else that requires your attention–for instance, while listening to an important lecture–you also understand the need for an easy-to-memorize pattern repeat.

These two reasons are why I love a little stitch pattern called the Purled Ladder Stitch!

Instructions for the Purled Ladder Stitch

This pattern is so simple! It’s nothing more difficult than straight knits and purls, but it brings loads of texture to the table (or rather, to the fabric).

Purled Ladder Stitch

Cast on any multiple of 4 + 2. For instance, 18 (4X4=16, +2=18), 22 (4X5=20, +2=22), or 26 (4X6=24, +2=26). If you’re knitting flat, you’ll probably want border stitches on either side.

Rows 1 and 2: Knit.

Row 3 (RS): P2, *k2, p2; rep from * to the end of the row.

Row 4: K2, *p2, k2; rep from * to the end of the row.

Rows 5 and 6: Knit.

Row 7: Repeat Row 4.

Row 8: Repeat Row 3.

Repeat these 8 rows until the work is as long as you want. (You can end the pattern repeat after Row 4, if you need to.)

Get This Stitch Pattern…

… plus 4 others (ad-free, available for download and printing anytime, anywhere!) in this PDF pattern set!

Put it to Use

So now that you know how to do the purled ladder stitch, what can you do with it?

Here are some ideas for ways in which you can use this stitch:

  • Baby blankets
  • Lap blankets
  • Scarves
  • Rectangular shawls
  • Washcloths or dishcloths
  • Hats
  • Socks

First, this stitch is great for making baby blankets and afghans. You simply cast on in multiples of 4 plus 2 extra however wide you want your finished project to be. Once you get into the rhythm of the stitch, you can work quickly and turn out many projects for gifts and charity using this simple stitch.

Other great projects would include socks, rectangular shawls or dishcloths. I especially like the idea of using this stitch for dishcloths because the added texture will provide more scrubbing power.

For socks, just take a basic sock pattern (I really like the tutorials in Kristin Belle’s sock classes and this Knit Picks Two at Once, Two at a Time, Magic Loop pattern) and add the stitch pattern to the leg and the top of the foot.

A Fantastic Sock Pattern Book with a Purled Ladder Stitch Pattern


  • Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch has a purled ladder stitch pattern! It has a fabulous collection of other sock patterns as well.

Similarly, for a hat, you can add this stitch pattern to the body of a simple beanie pattern, aside from the brim and the crown. (This Basic Beginner Hats for the Family would be perfect for this.)

Try this stitch if you’re new to knitting and are looking for a new, non-garter stitch pattern. Or knit this stitch if you’re an experienced knitter needing a repetitive pattern to give your brain a break. Either way, you’ll love it!

How to Knit the Purled Ladder Stitch
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