I use this trick all the time when I’m knitting in the round. It is my number one, always-given bit of advice in my classes, too. I learned it from Cat Bordhi originally because she’s awesome.
Here it is:
Every time you change needles (when using DPN’s, 2 circular needles, or Magic Loop), work the first 2 stitches, then give the working yarn a good tug to tighten them up.
Tugging after working just one stitch doesn’t help. It’ll just get loose again. But if you tug after knitting two stitches, they keep each other snug.
Ladders (loose, horizontal bars of yarn between columns of stitches) are formed because gravity pulls on the needles, which pull on the knitting where they meet and loosen things up. Even if you knit with a constant tension, the needles will make the ladders happen if you don’t do this extra step. Giving the first two stitches a tug is essential. It won’t make your knitting too tight unless you go crazy with pulling. A nice, quick tug on the working yarn will do the trick.
This technique also works great when knitting flat. Work the first two stitches of the row, give the yarn a tug, and keep going. Your edges will be nice and neat and even from now on.
I also do this when I’m working short rows. After doing the wrap and turn (or whatever method I’m favoring that day), I work the first two stitches, then give them a tug.
It’s also perfect for making tidy I-cords.
Basically, every time you turn your work or start a on new needle for any reason, give the first two stitches a tug.
This post is part of my 31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. Every day, I’ll post a new tip or trick to make your knitting nicer. You can follow along easily by subscribing. If you have any knitting problems you’d like me to fix, let me know and I’ll try to answer your question as part of the series. You can find all the posts in the series here.