All you sock experts out there do not make ladders anymore I'm sure, but this is a late knitting bloomer here, which kind of explains why I need to give encouraging pats on these shoulders everytime I lean back to admire the sleeve I'm knitting.
I've recently managed to get rid of two most irritating imperfections I always find in my projects, 'M1' gaps and ladders from using DPNs / 2 Circulars.
A tip from EZ's 'Knitting Without Tears' on using the backward loop to M1 solved the gap problem. Maybe I'm fussy or neurotic but I will notice even the tiniest gap made when knitting into back and front of stitch or into the loop between stitches.
I've shied from knitting socks and mittens because I hate ladders. Two circulars are definitely better than DPNs since there's lesser joints. Transferring several stitches to the next needle every few rows hides the ladders somewhat. But that is just spreading the ladders further along the rows and doesn't solve anything. (oh! dear, why can't I just sit and enjoy my craft without thinking of them as project issues and resolutions??).
Also, my tugging tighter on every first stitch on the needle makes no difference. In fact, I learnt from a forum doing so on the first makes it worst!. It's the second stitch that must be tugged it seems.
I tried that on the Weekend Shrug and it worked!!! Nothing! no visible ladders and there was no need to transfer stitches at all. Of course I had to make sure and did some now and again. For added measure, I made a gentler tug on the 3rd stitch too, just in case!
I'm now ready for socks and am grabbing Mona's Opal yarns.