Help with DPN Stitches

I am working on a jumper using DPN's; I now remember why I always avoided them in the past. But, it's not an option with this project so I have to persevere. This is my method: I knit to the end of the needle, knit the two stitches from the next needle and then change over to the empty needle to continue to knit. This is repeated for each needle so that I won't have a ladder. However, I've developed another situation: a diagonal row of loose stitches (I guess it's in place of the ladder). It looks awful and I'm at a loss as to how to prevent them. I knit the first stitch tightly against the last needle and I'm knitting the two first stitches onto the last needle as well. I have tried 4, 5, 6 needles and that hasn't changed anything as far as I can see. I'm wondering if this is just a result of working on DPN's and it will all come out in the wash when blocking?

Any advice offered will be greatly appreciated. Cheers! Jesse


superi's picture

I don't really have a problem with this when I work on dpn's but I've heard it suggested that pulling the first and last couple stitches a bit snug will prevent this. I also would assume some of that would come out in blocking as well. Maybe do a swatch and see what happens and then just rip it out if you need the yarn.


When using dpns I always give the first stitch of the next set a little tug and this eliminates the ladder. I don't move any stitches onto another needle. This works for me and eliminates 'ladders'.

gaynnyc's picture

That's my technique as well, I really snug down the 1st two stitches on the needle pulling them as tightly as I can on the working needle. I don't move stitches at all, and I never have trouble with laddering.

murfpapa's picture

I've found too that after pulling the first and last stitches snug, every few rows pulling vertically and horizontally a few times around the laddered area seems to more evenly distribute the "excess" in the ladder among the surrounding stitches, same way as working out a small snag. It's pretty much the same thing as blocking in small areas as you go.

KilgoreTrout's picture

Hm... I use DPN's in the same way you describe and don't get a ladder... Maybe try knitting more than two stitches on the next needle before switching? I've also found that on most of my old pieces where the run between the needles was evident....after a few wears and washings it seems to all go away... so no worries!

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ronhuber's picture

I think you worry too much, Jesse. Ladders disappear in the wash. I find that socks after the first wash rid themselves of ladders after a good smacking on a hard surface. It seems to realign the stitches. The same applies to loose purl stitches after cables.

kiwiknitter's picture

Thanks to those of you who replied here. The problem is not that I have a vertical ladder but a diagonal "stripe" which "spirals" around the work. I can't figure it out.

I pull both of the 2 first knitted stitches tightly but I still get a loose stitch on each row every time I switch needles. So, picture a diagonal pattern of 1 stitch/row winding its way up the work (from right to left) and that's what I have in 3 places.

Any further comments given this further information?

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Have you considered using two circular needles instead of DPN's?

Put half of the stitches on needle A, and half on needle B.
One end of needle A knits all the stitches off the other end of needle A.
You then pick up needle B and knit all the stitches off of needle B.
Go back to needle A ....

When you're switching between needle A and needle B, the last stich on
the other needle is on the cord at that point so it's easy not to have a
big stitch at the transition. Also, you're only working with 2 transitions
instead of 3 or 4.

kiwiknitter's picture

That is my usual and preferred method. However, I am knitting this jumper with the Shetlands knitting belt and only DPN's work with the belt - and therein lies my dilemma. Actually, I'm knitting a cuff right now with 2 circulars as ribbing is easier that way. But, soon I will need to switch back to the DPN's for the sleeve.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

PaganCub's picture

i think the problem lies in the method that you're using to switch the DPNs. If you were to just switch the needles the normal way, some people get ladders. i personally don't, because when i start knitting the sts from the NEW dpn, i pull the working yarn TIGHTLY for 2 sts, then knit normally. sometimes i'll knit tight on the last st of the old dpn and the first st of the new dpn....and i never get ladders. try that method maybe?

Change your thoughts; change your world.

Bill's picture

the spiral comes from knitting from the next needle...if you knit only the stitches on the one needle...change needles to start the next group of stitches...pull the first stitch should be OK...

I agree with Bill. By knitting two stitches from the next group each time you are rotating the stitches - hence the spiral.

This problem is similar and most evident in striped circular knitting, especially if a color change happens on the next row and you get an obvious 'jog' up to the next row. But, it's easily solved:

When you get to the end of your needle, slip the last stitch back onto the the beginning of your next needle. Now, insert right needle into the slipped stitch as if to knit AND pick up the stitch UNDER the next stitch and knit them together. Take your empty new needle and continue with your next needle's stitches giving that first stitch a good tug. The knitted lower stitch will secure the join to the previous needle's work.

This technique is also helpful when closing in gussets to heels when knitting socks. You'll find it stops the gappiness at the joins.
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