Have you ever knit a top down cardigan, only to find afterwards (or even during knitting) that the stitches under the arm start to ladder a little?

On top down cardigans, such as the Sweetpea Cardigan, it is common for a ladder to form under the arm where the back and front of the body joins together. This happens because the tension in the form of the cardigan stretches the stitches and pulls a little extra yarn into the horizontal bars of your knitting.

Usually this is dealt with by sewing the stitches together on the wrong side after the cardigan is finished. But this is time consuming, and sometimes a little messy. Especially when there is a better way.

I’ve been knitting baby cardigans for a long time, and top down baby cardigans for many years. I’ve even designed some such as the Sweetpea Cardigan and Broken Checkerboard Cardigan.

I noticed this phenomenon quite early on, and because of my familiarity with the pulling in of cables, I tried a little trick. And it worked! I now use this trick on every top down project I knit.

Ladderless underarm on a baby cardigan

Watch the video below where I explain the trick and show you how to do it too.

Now you may be thinking that this won’t work for all top down knits, because on some you need to cast on stitches under the arm, such as children and adult garments. This is true. You are asked to cast on stitches. But this trick can still be used. Just in a slightly different place. On the round immediately after the cast on stitches you would use this trick either side of the cast on stitch sections. So you would have two sets of two crossed stitches under each arm.

This trick is just one of my techniques for improving the quality of my knitting projects. Make sure you read my tutorial on how to add buttons WITHOUT sewing for another easy to implement trick.

Best wishes, – & happy crafting,
Sam xox

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