How to Prevent / Fix Ladders

Hilke Knitting, Tutorials

One of the questions that I get asked a lot is “How do you prevent ladders when knitting in rounds?”.
If you don’t know what ladders are, they are the loose stitches that show up between two needles. The fact that they show up in the same spot in every round makes them look like a little ladder.

When I first started knitting I had a lot of problems with ladders and I think what helped me the most was knitting the first stitch of each of my needles a bit tighter.

Another thing that I read is that if you shift the position of your needles every few rounds, the loose stitches will be less visible since they won’t be aligned in a perfect line anymore. For that you just knit one or two stitches of your next needle with your current needle and repeat that for an entire round. If you choose to use this technique you should definitely mark the beginning of your round to not get confused.

However if you still struggle with ladders, don’t worry about it! I still have all of my hand knit socks and none of them show any ladders anymore! Washing and wearing them a few times really helps evening out those loose stitches.

If you follow me on Instagram (or YouTube) you may have noticed that if I purl the first and last stitches of a needle I (ALWAYS!) get ladders, too.

See those huge stitches? Nothing seems to be helping, but as I said before a few washes later they are not visble anymore. What you can also see in that photo is that after a few rounds, the ladders stop. That is where I switched to magic loop. 😀

In this photo you can see the other side of my sock. On this side I fixed some of the stitches to make the ladders less apparent. If you want to know how I did it, just keep on reading.

First of all this is the outside of my sock. I prefer to fix knit stitches, so I turned the sock inside out for the next step to work on knit stitches instead of purl stitches.

This is my sock turned inside out, I will start left to the white stitch in the middle.

First insert the needle into the stitch right next to your loose stitch.

Pull on the stitch until your loose stitch is down to a normal size.

Then insert your needle into the stitch right next to your last stitch and pull on that stitch, too. The trick is to pull on it a little less than before, because you want to spread out the extra yarn as evenly as possible between the neighbouring stitches.

After a few stitches I like to pull on two legs at once to smooth everything out.

Do you have a special technique to prevent or reduce loose stitches and ladders? If so, please let me know and share some photos or videos with me 🙂

Happy Knitting!