Knitting ladders are pretty common when a knitter first undertakes circular knitting. They are almost always caused as the knitter transitions from one needle to the other–or in the case of circular needles, from the end of the round to the beginning of the next. Ladders are usually caused by not being vigilant as the work moves from one needle to the next, or may be more evident as the end and beginning of the round are transitioned on either double points or circular needles. The same result happens for both loose and tight knitters and the solution is similar for both.
Knitting Ladders: Between DPNs
This is has two parts, with nearly identical solutions.
A ladder occurs as you move between the working double pointed needles. If the ladder is narrow, it may disappear as your knitting relaxes away from the stress of being on the needles. But it is annoying and unsightly if it doesn’t disappear.
Solution: As you work the last stitch on the needle, work it just on the tip of the needle and do not push it off the tip until the next stitch is worked. Work the next stitch (which is going onto a new needle) on the tip as well. If possible do another stitch. Push the the stitches on the tips onto the full part of the needle, and carry on. The tightness of those stitches worked on the tips will absorb the yarn between them which would become a ladder. If you are a tight knitter you will need to take care not to get those stitches worked on the tip too tight, making it difficult for the stitches to slide.
Knitting Ladders: End and Beginning of a Round
A ladder occurs as you end one round and begin another round. Ladders here are likely have the same cause. Since you are moving from one round to another, it is not as easy to ease the yarn into the stitches on either side after the stitches are completed. You can visualize the issue by thinking of working in the round as working a very subtle spiral. So the yarn climbs up on top of the last round worked as the knitting moves from the end of the round to the beginning.
Solution: The solution is identical, except that the problem may occur on either dpns or circular needles. Working the beginning and ending stitches close together on the tips will work to get rid of that ladder. Don’t work too tightly, you need enough yarn for the first stitch of the new round to sit atop the first stitch of the previous round.
This is such a simple solution for getting rid of ladders, but it does take some practice and finesse. Remember when doing it that the goal is to make the transition behavior (knitting on the tip of the needle) a habit so you don’t have to always think about it. Habits are best created by practice. It would be great to work a toe-up sock to practice. As your technique improves, the ladders will go away. Any ladder made at the beginning will be hidden in your shoe!
If you have the issue when working with circulars, make some hats. Charities are always looking for hats, and often hospitals need new infant hats. No one will complain if you have a ladder or two in your knitting. Better yet, use the ladder as an opportunity to decorate and make the hat something that will be both appreciated and coveted!
Other Knitting Ladders
Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are climbing a knitting ladder? Want some help getting to the top of the ladder? I love finding solutions! Leave a reply for me, or email me, and I’ll help you find a solution so you can keep climbing your knitting ladder.