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  • I’m a firm believer in rearranging the stitches as I go with the caveat that I knit in the round with a total a five DPNs. With four I find the torque between the needles is a little to fiddly. Simply knitting a stitch (or a few) of the next needle before I start with the new working needle is smooth and easy for me where the other methods involve more paying attention and, dare I say it, thinking. If I’m cranking on a sock, I usually don’t want to think. I also am generous with my stitch markers. I add them at the beginning and end of the gusset when I’m doing a flap heel and the same for the toe. There can be a tiny bit of visibility but it wiggles itself out on the first was, never to be seen again.

    • PS. I buy little packs of jump rings in the jewelry section of any of the chain craft stores to use as makers in the round. They’re nice and small for sock knitting, are easy to slip, and are very thin wire so they don’t get in the way.

      • I’m going to try the jump rings. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • Another fan of jump rings here! I also like to make a chain of them (with a different market at one end of the chain) if I’m counting rows. Each time I come to the marker, I pick up the next ring of the chain. Once I’m through the chain I know I’ve knit 5 rows or 10 rows or whatever.

      • Brilliant!

      • Great idea! Thanks

      • Heidi, that is brilliant! I want to leave work, go home, and make a little chain right now!

    • Ha, this is what I do too – 5 dpns IS easier than 4, and I also use the last stitch from the previous needle to become the 1st stitch on the next. Also I use the lockable stitch markers as pictured above – if they cause a baggy stitch issue, I move them from the needles to fabric below, sitting between the relevant stitches as they would be so I know where the BOR or similar is/was, and move them up every 20 rounds or so (I usually knit jumpers and cardigans).

    • I do the same – working an extra stitch or 2 on each needle as I go round.

  • I magic loop all small circumference knitting and snugging up the 2nd stitch has always worked for me, even when a purl is the first stitch (that and the Don’t Worry About It solution!)

  • Magic loop is my technique….works for most situations..deb

  • With magic loop, the last stitch worked on one side is left on the thin cable (not the points of the needle). As I begin the first stitch on the next side, I pull the yarn snug, making a smaller than normal stitch on that cable. This balances out any extra yarn in that first stitch.

    • I was just thinking about this yesterday, while magic looping a fingerless mitt. Works for me, too!

  • Hmmm. When I knit colour work Mittens, I turn them purlside out to get longer floats. This also results in ladders at the beginning of needles. (Two circulars) So if I slip the first stitch, etc., I could tighten up that stitch!
    I have been thinking I should needle felt the gaps together! #Kate always has a better way

  • I rotate my beginning of round when working on DPNs for the opposite reason—I get “inverse ladders” at the transition between needles where the two stitches on either side of the transition pull together much tighter than the rest of the stitches. Other than loosening up, any suggestions for that?

  • When working small circumference things, I use 2 20-inch circulars, each usually having half the stitches. When I get to the end of the half-round, I pull the needle so that both ends are in the correct position for its next use. This means the stitches completed are sitting on the wire, a much narrower diameter than the needle. I begin the next half-round, knit or purl, without a worry of a large stitch…it just seems to work out.

  • I belong to the Don’t Worry About It school of thought. In general, by the time they have been worn and washed once or twice, the ladders have worked themselves out.

    • Socks. The only thing I generally knit in the round is socks, and they are for me anyway.

  • Nice article I am very surprised that you didn’t mention that if knit your socks using 5 .needles you can make the ladders all invisible

    • I work on five needles and still get ladders. I think it’s one of those things where we all have our own little quirks so need a whole bunch of trial and error to see what works best. I rearrange the stitches as I around and around which is super easy to do one five needles.

    • I’m so glad you’ve found a solution that works for you. It depends very much on your individual knitting style – I could work with 20 DPNs and I think I’d still get them!

  • Thank you for this article! I still struggle with pesky ladders, especially if I am working on circulars or using the Magic Loop method. Working with 5 DPNs helped improve my laddering when I work with small projects like socks. I appreciate having some new methods for working with other knitting tools.

  • I like the new flexiflip needles. I don’t have laddering problems with them.

    • Agreed! I’ve never gotten laddering with flexiflips.

  • I snug up the last stitch on the needle (using DPNs) kind of strongly, and the first stitch on the next needle a little less strongly. Seems to me like the weight (of the yarn? the stitches on the previous needle?) is pulling backwards a little bit and needs to be re-directed. That, and the occasional shifting of a few stitch every 10 rounds or so, seems to eliminate ladders for me.

  • I hesitate to mention this since it smacks of elephant guns and mosquitoes. But if the ladders really bother you, this works. In your first round, leave one stitch at each junction on a safety pin. Knit away merrily, ignoring ladders. When you get where you’re going, use a crochet hook to pick up that stitch in the first round and zoom up the ladder just as if you had dropped a stitch. Instant perfect! I wouldn’t try this in a pattern stitch, or garter. That would be weird.

  • You point out how the travel distance between those last and next sts is the problem. I deal with it by reducing that distance through positioning the needles appropriately before making the first st on the next section. Thus, whatever the combination of first and last sts, find the right position of needles–over, under–that makes the yarn bridge between them shortest. If it takes a finger to hold it that position while the st is being worked, that soon becomes automatic. Preventing ladders makes more sense to me than remedial measures afterward.