How to Reduce Ladders

Hi all!

I’m working on my second pair of socks right now. I’m using a different yarn than I did with my first pair, and as a result I’m having much more trouble with ladders.

I know that ladders usually even out after washing or some wear, but quite frankly they are driving me crazy right now! Is there any way to minimize ladders as you knit the sock, or are they just an unavoidable fact of life?


I had problems with ladders too until I tried making socks with 2 circs instead of dpns. The reason is that you can tighten the last stitch on the cable part of the needle instead of the needle itself thus making the stitch smaller than normal. Then even though you use a bit more yarn switching needles it evens out. I was pleasantly surprised at how professional the first pair of socks I did with 2 circs came out looking!

I’ve been twisting the first stitch on each needle (wrap the yarn around the other way, or just knit in the back of the stitch), and that helps. Using five DPNs instead of four also helps.

Then even though you use a bit more yarn switching needles it evens out.

Just did my first sock on 2 circs… so still learning (did a DPN last weekend to compare techniques)… Had terrible ladders on the DPN’s and don’t on the 2 circs.

What does the quote above mean? Sorry – Confused – as usual.


The cable part of the needle is thinner than the solid part so when you pull the last stitch on that needle tight, it becomes even tighter than when you do the same thing on DPNs. Another trick is to move stitches between needles so the join doesn’t occur in the same place - the loose stitches don’t line up to make obvious ladders that way.
Search google and KH for ladders to get better explanations/tutorials

[color=indigo]I am in midst of my first pair of socks. I started one on 4 DPNs; the other on 2 Denise circs - just to be sure I could do both techniques. Worked about 9" in 2x2 ribbing and all looked very good. I then decided that the DPNs were an unecessary struggle, so I moved each sock to a Denise ML to knit the foot in stockinette.

Despite what felt like some tug-of-war with the 5" bamboo DPNs I do not have any ladders in the ribbing, BUT the apparent gauge of each is quite different. One is a lot tighter and more even, but I cannot now tell which is which. The stknt of each looks the same (both being done on ML).

I think that the 2 circ technique is the easier and faster of the 3 methods, but I do like the tighter, more even ribbing that I have. Do you think it would more likely have been the product of the DPNs or the 2 circs? :shrug: Very puzzling.

I am enjoying making socks and looking forward to my second pair. This time I will do all in the same technique.[/color]

i just love my knitting on 2 circs. my guess would be that the ribbing you prefer came from the 2 circs. but then maybe i’m biased. dpn’s definitely have their use, but i am so pleased with my options and circs from knitpicks. :heart:

oops, forgot to give my 2 cents on the original question. :oops: to ward of ladders, i tighten the first and last stitch or two on each dpn, just slightly. not too much, or you won’t be able to work the stitch.