My elderly, but lovely, lace socks
Thirteen years ago, I started the Lacey Arrow Socks from the book Socks.
I gleefully ordered itty-bitty size 0 needles, and the finest of
creamy, laceweight silk-merino yarn. When the yarn arrived, as I
recall, I sat down and cast on for the first sock almost as soon as the
package was opened.
Thirteen years later, I have a problem. In reviewing my UFO collection, I
found the partial sock tucked away in a box. I put it on, and
discovered just how much my knitting skills have improved in the
The lacey half-sock, though lovely, has noticeable "ladders" at the
places where one needle met another. A quick check of the last
bazillion pairs of socks I have knit in more recent years confirmed:
I've managed to Lose The Ladders. And since many of you have written in
asking about this particular problem, I thought I'd share my lofty
wisdom on the subject:
Pull. The. Yarn. Tight.
That's it, folks. That's the entire extent of my expertise on Losing
The Ladders. I just give the yarn a little extra-special tug after I
knit the first stitch of each needle, and presto, no more ladders. I
think the only trick here is a mental one: pull a weensy bit harder
than you think you should.
See the ladders? Allll the way down the sock!
Why does this work?
Ladders are caused by too much yarn between the last stitch on one
needle and the first stitch on the next, so a firm little tug ensures
that there is no "extra" yarn. It might help to take a closer look at
the other stitches on your needles so you can see just how tiny that
little strand between stitches is supposed to be. Some knitters tug
until the needles are gently touching each other—experiment a little to
find the proper "pull" to use in your particular style of knitting.
By the way: The same rule applies whether you are using dpns, two circulars, or the Magic Loop method to knit your socks with.
If you need a little mantra to help you remember how to lose the
ladders: Tell yourself to "give the yarn an extra tug so the stitches
will be nice and snug."
A bit corny, perhaps, but hey: Whatever it takes.
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