How to avoid ladders when knitting in the round

Do you get ladders when you're working in the round, especially when you use DPNs? The reason for the laddering is because the first stitch on the new needle tends to be a little loose. Here are some quick tips to help get rid of those ladders.

1. If you're only using 4 needles total (stitches on 3 needles and the 4th is the working needle), add one more needle into the mix. By spreading your stitches out over 4 needles (use the 5th as the working needle), you don't put as much strain on the space between needles.

2. When I'm working in the round, whether with DPNs or magic loop or two circulars, I always use this trick. Start by working the first stitch on the new needle. Then, place your needle into the second stitch on the needle, but don't work it yet. Instead, give your working yarn a tug before working that stitch. That little tug on the yarn when you have the needle inserted into the second stitch just helps tighten up that first stitch, which helps tighten up the space between the needles, making ladders either disappear completely or become very minimal. (Did you know that you can also use this trick when you're knitting flat? Just give the working yarn a tug right after you insert your needle into the second stitch, which will help create a slightly neater edge stitch.)

3. If you've tried the first two tips and you're still getting ladders at the section between needles, you can try changing the layout of the stitches on the needles. That means instead of always having the same exact setup on the needles for every round, you'll shift the stitches by one or two stitches each time around. 

How does this work? Knit the full round and then knit two more stitches from the next needle onto that same working needles. Then pick up the new working needle and work the remaining stitches on the needle, but do the same thing at the end and work the first two stitches of the needle after that before moving to an empty working needle.

This keeps the space between needles constantly moving so that ladders don't form on top of one another, which is what really makes them obvious. You'll want to make sure to use a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of your round, though, as it will be easy to lose track as the stitches get shifted from needle to needle.

4. Make sure to block your project when you're finished because blocking helps even out stitches, which can make small ladders practically disappear.