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 Ladders in circular knitting

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lucybug Posted - 11/08/2013 : 09:29:22 AM
I know there is someone out there in knitting land who has conquered this problem. I'm a fairly experienced knitter who does not like to knit on DPNs but realize they are necesary in some instances. I've knit 1 pair of socke, lots of hats and several pairs of mittens and just cannot get rid of the silly ladders. I've tried pulling the stitches tight on each side of the break. I took a sock knitting class from the Yarn Harlot this summer (lucky, lucky me - she's wonderful) and her suggestion was to wrap the yarn backwards (making sure to knit into the correct side of the loop). STILL have ladders.

When I'm knitting mittens I just shift the stitches around so you can't see it, but since I've only made a total of 3 socks I don't feel comfortable moving the stitches. Any suggestions?

Pam in the Colorado mountains
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
knitnspin99 Posted - 04/30/2015 : 08:49:14 AM
Hi Sally, I've used a couple different methods. The first thing you can try is to cast on an extra stitch, move the last stitch on the right needle onto the left needle and then knit those two stitches together when you start your round - so you'll have the proper amount of stitches. Another method which is a little trickier is to move the last stitch on the right hand needle over to the left hand needle and then slip the second stitch (formerly the first stitch) over that stitch (just moved over), to the right hand needle - In effect changing the position of the first stitch on each needle to the opposite needle. This provides a really tight join. Both of these have worked well for me. I love knitting with double points and although I have used the Magic Loop method, double points are my favorite. Hope this helps.
socks4all Posted - 04/30/2015 : 08:13:13 AM
Sally, try giving a tug between the 2nd & 3rd sts of each needle. Tug hard enough to pull in the yarn between the needles. Yarn can have the tendency to relax between stitches, but only for 2 sts. Then the tension of the subsequent sts holds the yarn in place.
I use circular needles, either 2 circulars or one long in magic loop. With these methods, the stitched on the back needle are wrapped aound the thin part of the needle's cord. This ensures that your tug after the 2nd st really tightens the gap between needles. (I have overdone this and ended up with a ridge that looks like the sock has been ironed into a crease - but no ladder)
grandmasally Posted - 04/30/2015 : 07:10:55 AM
Thanks for responding, Jane. I have knit lots of socks and just can't get rid of the ladders completely when decreasing in 4 places on the toe. My usual solution is to do the star toe - that is, k2tog 6 times in a decrease row. That solves it, but still, I want to use the more conventional toe shape. I did better this time by yanking on the first of the k2tog sts, twisting it, replacing in the left needle and then k2tog. The yarn was light fingering on size 1 needles and dark navy in color. It was not fun! There still is a bit of a ladder, but I'm hoping that the twist will save me. Only time and wearing will tell.

Again, thanks for your advice.

Jane Posted - 04/28/2015 : 02:43:38 AM
Hi Sally—I think you'll find that your little holes will disappear when you wash the socks. You've manipulated the yarn right at the end of the needles, and you're decreasing, so I'd expect it to look a little funky at first. Keep going (because you're so close to being finished!) and I bet you'll find that it's okay.


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grandmasally Posted - 04/27/2015 : 1:38:22 PM
My problem is ladders on the toe of a top down sock. I conquered the skk side, but still I have a ladder next to k2tog side. Oh, I need to say that I reversed the order - k2tog on right, skk on left of each side. Thanks for any advice.

Sally from NY
Margie Posted - 02/26/2014 : 6:30:55 PM
I have no problem with ladders be it working with 2, 3, or 4 needles (sts on those needles).

I knit two sts from the next needle so the change is never in the same place. I do this all the way around, be it with circs or dps.

Say 5 sts per needle, so I knit 1-5, then first two from next needle. Now I need more sts on that needle, so I get them from the next (and the next and the next all the way around till finished.)

Margie and Mimi (my hearing dog who doesn't knit -- yet)

rnypaver Posted - 01/16/2014 : 07:02:30 AM
Yes! Put knitting on four (4) needles. Knit with fifth. Everything seems to settle down then, or use two circular needles and divvy up the stitches based on the sense of the project. Knitting settles down re the pattern....what happens in your lap is unfortunate, especially when using more than one yarn. Reread my earthier rants and realized that in didn't say that I hold the yarn on my left index finger unless stranding, in which case right index finger gets to play.
infosynth Posted - 11/24/2013 : 2:15:32 PM
Originally posted by onebutterflykoi

I was holding the right hand needle under the last needle used to continue around, when I moved it above the last needle, no more ladders

Exactly what I do. Also, if you're only using 3+1 dpns (3 with stitches and 1 to knit with), try 4+1. That extra needle reduces the tension between the needles and also helps to minimize ladders.
rnypaver Posted - 11/23/2013 : 7:04:26 PM
I agree, two circular needles work best for me also when working in the round unless I'm doing mitten thumbs where I give up and use short square needles. I guess that I said that a couple of days ago. At intersections I do put the new needle on top of the old one to make the first stitch. I've tried yanking the yarn tight using various formulas which doesn't work well for me. What does work for me is to put my right index finger on top of the first stitch and trap/hold the tension between needles correctly. Don't remember learning to do it. The trapping finger needs to stay in place for several more stitches to keep the yarn from sneaking back. While on the subject of ladders, maybe I should go back to allowing them to form and making cute vertical vines on them, like threading long rose canes onto a trellis. New area for unique design elements. Perhaps we should make sure ladders do exist to mark our work as handmade. Maybe we should leave ladders intact as extra ventilation. I've never tried to make a uniform ladder as part of an open stitch pattern, sort of a little yarn over. No, I'm not poking fun at anyone, just writing down the background muttering. Exasperating rascals. Robin.
FiberFevered Posted - 11/23/2013 : 5:36:30 PM
2 circular needles for me! DPNs and Magic Loop both yielded ladders when I use them to knit in the round. With 2 circs, I can pull extra tight on the last stitch once the stitches just worked have moved back onto the cord. You just can't pull the stitch as small with DPN's and Magic Loop.

annalilly Posted - 11/22/2013 : 5:44:43 PM
I've found that tightening the second stitch from the beginning of the new needle does the trick. In the process it also tightens the first stitch.
Daylily Posted - 11/21/2013 : 12:30:40 PM
When I am knitting in the round, I do it in circular needles using the Magic Loop. To prevent ladders I do this after knitting the first stitch, I tighten it up , then knit the 2nd stitch and tighten both stitches, then knit the 3rd stitch and tug it a little tighter and then keep knitting, no ladders . I recently made a pair of gloves on circular needles even did the fingers on the circular. I do not have double pointed needles in my knitting supplies.

Daylily, another one tomorrow
ItzMe Posted - 11/21/2013 : 09:34:14 AM
The thing that helped me the most with ladders to how I approach the first stitch on the needle. If it's a knit stitch, I go UNDER the right hand needle to knit the stitch. If that first stitch is a purl stitch, I go OVER the right hand needle to purl the first stitch on the left needle. That of course is in addition to the aforementioned advice to tighten the first few stitches.
salpal1 Posted - 11/21/2013 : 08:18:49 AM
Originally posted by ikkivan

"who does not like to knit on DPNs but realize they are necesary"

Pam, the more I knit, the more I discover that DPNs are rarely ever needed. Try using the Magic Loop method for socks and mittens ... even if you should see some sort of line (which, as noted above, usually disappears with washing and wearing), there are only TWO to deal with rather than three or four.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)

Donna is right - and in addition to these choices, I often use two circular needles instead of 4 dpns, or magic loop.
knitterchristy Posted - 11/21/2013 : 08:11:51 AM
For socks, if the pattern places stitches on needle #1, #2, #3, and #4, try using markers instead. Just place one after needle #1 stitches, etc. I would use one color for the beginning of the round. Also, pick another color to use for both the end of needle #1 and the end of needle #3---these are the spots where your decreases will happen. Remember that ssk is for the decreases at the start of a section or a needle, k2tog is used at the end of a section or a needle. You could also put a pin on your knitting if you need help remembering which side of the marker you are decreasing. This solves the ladder problem and really won't be difficult!
stitchellen Posted - 11/21/2013 : 08:00:04 AM
I know I have posted this before, but here it is again: I use three short circular needles, two for holding stitches and the third for the working needle. I happened to discover this technique when I didn't have a long enough circular needle in the right size for a project but did have three short ones. The flexible cable allows snugging the last stitch on one needle to the first stitch on the second needle. No ladder! I use it for all circular knitting. The Knitters Pride circulars make it affordable. I have been knitting for 74 years, and until Cat Bordhi published her one-needle sock knitting technique I avoided sock knitting like the plague.
rnypaver Posted - 11/21/2013 : 07:54:15 AM
I also regularly use two circular needles and also use Onebutterflykoi's needle position which is what EZ recommended.....I think, and am currently not able to get to ny books, so if that trick is not an EZ trick, I hang my head in shame. I also hold my right index finger on the first stitch for.....oh I don't know...several stitches, mostly depending on the slipperiness of the yarn with which I'm working. I don't remember when I started doing that or how it came up, but it must have been fairly easy to learn. Watch tension closely as the edge stitch can end up too small, which is a real bummer to notice later. Square needles on thumbs (especially doing a complicated pattern) are a lifesaver. Hope this helps. Robin
Jesusan Posted - 11/21/2013 : 07:27:53 AM
I am fairly new to knitting socks - I'm in the process of knitting my fifth one. I have been doing them on two circulars and have had no problems with ladders. I do try to make sure I pull the yarn tight when knitting the first couple of stitches on each row.

Sloknitr Posted - 11/21/2013 : 06:38:14 AM
What helped me the most was the newish square needles. (Cubics from Knitters Pride is what I use) For some reason, ladders are never a problem with them - and I was absolutely plagued with ladders until I discovered this. Good luck!
onebutterflykoi Posted - 11/21/2013 : 04:19:05 AM
I learned to knit in 1967, so I've been knitting for a very looong time. That was just the basics, everything else has pretty much been trial and error and the ladders have been a problem until won't believe how simple the fix was for me. I was holding the right hand needle under the last needle used to continue around, when I moved it above the last needle, no more ladders
I hope that makes sense and hope it helps you.

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