First of all, I need to tell you that you’re awesome! You make my job possible and will never really understand how much that means to me. This week I put out a call on social media looking for blog post ideas and you delivered. Big time. You’ve given me enough feedback to keep this blog in fresh posts for a long time, and best of all, I know the content will be relevant for you because you suggested it!
This week’s topic is ladders: how to avoid them, banish them, and make them a thing of the past.
Laddering happens when working in the round; it’s a gap between the last stitch of one needle and the first stitch of the next needle. Sometimes this gap, or ladder, is small and disappears when the piece is blocked and sometimes it’s wider and quite obvious, even after blocking. The horizontal strands of yarn that are stretched between the two needles resemble the rungs of a ladder, hence the term ‘ladder’ or ‘laddering’.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID LADDERS?
Here are some suggestions for avoiding ladders when you’re knitting:
Ladders result from the stitches between 2 needles being stretched, so when switching needles, pull the working yarn on the first 2 stitches of the new needle more tightly than you normally would to pull those stitches closer together.
If you don’t mind a line of twisted stitches (it can be a design element), you can work the first stitch of the next needle through the back loop. This seems to tighten the stitch and close the gap.
I find I have ladders when the first stitch of a needle is a purl stitch (my gauge differs between knit and purl stitches) so I try to arrange my stitches so that the first stitch isn’t a purl stitch.
Use an extra DPN. If you’re working on 4 DPNs (where the stitches are divided among 3 needles and you knit with the 4th needle) you can try working on 5 DPNs. This will minimize the stretching between needles.
You can shift your stitches every few rounds so it isn’t always the same stitch at the start of a new needle (be sure to use a beginning of round marker so you don’t lose track of the beginning of round when you shift stitches around).
Consider switching to a different method of working in the round. If you have a ladder problem with DPNs, try magic loop or knitting with 2 circular needles.
What tips and tricks do you have for avoiding ladders in your knitting? Tell us in the comments!