Avoid annoying gaps with double pointed needles

Gaps in knitting
No gaps in knitting

When I first worked with double pointed needles to make my first pair of socks, I saw these annoying gaps at every corner.

I solved it that time by sewing and tightening the gaps, but that is a hassle, and I didn’t want to do that every time I made something on double pointed needles, so went out looking for info about the issue.

Why gaps appear

These gaps, which I later found out people referred to as ladders, because of the similarity to the shape of a ladder, are caused by tension between the needles. The tension because of the square shape and when moving around with the needles.

The stitches gets stretched out at every corner where the needles meet:

Gaps in four corners on double pointed needles

It becomes clearer and clearer the further the work goes along, and then at that point it can be demotivating to have to start over or accepting that you have to do some extra sewing work afterwards.

What I do to avoid them, is by doing two things.

One extra for each needle

Every time you get to the end of a needle, you knit one extra stitch from the next needle:

One extra stitch

By doing this we will keep changing the tension point to the side, so the tension isn’t in a straight line, but more like a stairway up to the left:

Tension stairway

If you like to watch how it’s done, someone here uploaded a nice video explaining it.

First two stitches tighten

Last but not least, with the first 2 stitches of every needle, you make sure to tighten them. Not to the extreme, not supposed to be knots, but tighten them a bit to reduce how loose the yarn is between the current and the previous needle.

Conclusion

If you follow these 2 things, you should avoid the gaps and get a nice clean result 🙂

For more knitting related content, you can go here.

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