If you’ve looked around this website then you know I knit a lot of socks and hats and other items that are knit in the round. I frequently use double pointed needles to do so. In fact, that is my preferred method for knitting socks. Unfortunately if you knit with double pointed needles, sometimes you get what are known as “ladders” – this is a wider than normal space between the columns of stitches in your knitting. These happen because it can be hard to maintain a consistent tension as you knit between needles. This is what ladders look like:
There are a number of ways people try to prevent laddering. As a rule you want to snug up your tension on the last couple of stitches of the first needle and the first few stitches of the second needle. My own experience is that when I focus too much on doing this, the ladders are actually worse. The less I focus mentally on preventing them, the less laddering I see. When I think about it, I do snug up the first few stitches on the needle.
I also don’t see them when I knit larger projects like hats. One thing I find weird is that I don’t get ladders on the leg portion of the sock nor on the gusset or where the top of the sock meets the sole. I only get them on the sole of the sock. I have no logical explanation of why this happens. It’s just how I knit.
You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you.
Removing the ladders from your projects
As you become a more experienced knitter, the need for fixing ladders when knitting should diminish but for many of us, there will still occasionally be a need for removing any created. Here’s a short video of a technique I created for fixing ladders. (best viewed in full screen mode).
To fix the ladders I use one a DPN to lift up the bars between the two or three stitches on either side of the ladder. I’ll do this up and down the row. Then pull on your fabric lengthwise. You may have to do this a few times to get pleasing results. Blocking or washing sometimes improves it even more.
I hope you find this video helpful as you work to perfect your projects.
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