Double Pointed Needles

I have made several attempts to knit in the round – socks, hats, doggy sweaters, and round blankets. I’ve used Magic Loop and tried two circular needles; in either case, I don’t enjoy the knitting and quickly give it up.

I’m thinking now of experimenting with double pointed needles. If you use them, what do you like about them? How do I decide what kind and size to start with? Are they hard to learn? Any helpful tips or tricks for getting started?

I want to learn how to make socks, if that helps. I think I wouldn’t mind using ML with larger diameter projects, where I do not have to split the stitches in half.

In circs, I’m happily using both Addi and KP Harmony sets. I’m thinking of getting some relatively inexpensive Clover DPNs from Michaels to try out but haven’t been to the store to see what kinds or choices I have.

Thanks! :waving:

I find the Clovers are great–not too slippery. I think your best bet to learn easily with dpns is to start a hat on a short circular, and when you get down to too few stitches to fit, then switch to dpns.

You’re really only knitting with the two needles–the others are holding stitches. The hardest part for me is getting started, but once you have a row or two done, it’s easy.

I prefer dpns to using other methods because there’s less fussing around–just knitting.

I would recommend trying at hat on dpns. At first they’re a bit intimidating all of these pointy sticks. I was so afraid that my stitches would fall off when I first tried it. But once you get used to them, it’s fairly simple. You just knit from needle to needle.

I think the idea of starting with a hat is excellent advice. That way, you’ll get used to the DPNs without having to start out on them, which as others have said, can be a bit tricky! The positive side of starting out with DPNs, though, is that it gets much easier even after the first round!

I have some Clover DPNs (bamboo) that I love. They are, as someone else pointed out, somewhat sticky which helps keep your stitches from sliding off the needles–especially on needles that aren’t being immediately worked with.

Here are a couple of tips for you that I’ve found helpful:

  1. For the most part, ignore the other needles–except for the ones you’re working with, of course. The only exception to this is when I scoot the yarn close to the needle tips (but not so close that it slips off). This is especially true for the two needles closest to where I’m working, but often I do it for the “next” needle in line to be knitted, too. This keeps the bulk of the needles away from where I’m working.

  2. When you move from one needle to the next, give a good tug on the first stitch on the new needle to prevent gaps.

  3. Sometimes I will shift the stitches around (i.e., move more stitches to a needle). I do this to make sure that I don’t have holes between needles, but if you do #2 above correctly, it’s probably not necessary.

I would also recommend first buying the needles you can easily find. That way, you can see if DPNs are something you like. Then, once you determine whether you like them, you can look for and invest in DPNs for your preferred sock yarn. I will say this, though, sizes 6-10 will probably be a bit more manageable for learning purposes, so if Michaels has one of those sizes, you might start with one of them.

I find working with DPNs very satisfying. There’s something about knitting all the stitches off one needle at a time that brings about a sense of accomplishment in me. Corny, I know, but there you have it! :teehee:

Happy knitting and I hope DPNs turns out to be a technique you love!

I second or third the bamboo needles. I found metal needles just too slippery although when my needle went shooting out of the sts it caused great hilarity in my family.
When do get to knitting something that starts on dpns, it may be easier to knit the first row flat and then go to the dpns in the round. Just getting past that first row at the beginning makes it all easier. Also, using 5 needles total takes some of the strain off the knitted tube as well: sts on 4 needles and the 5th to knit with.

I started knitting in the round by using DPN. They are easier on a heavier yarn like that before you do socks. I also use the Clover bamboo.

I mostly use magic loop now except on very tiny things like baby socks or the head on Woobies. :teehee:

Thanks! These are just the kind of suggestions I wanted. :slight_smile:

I promised my mother in law a secondsweater for her dachshund, but haven’t been able to face working in the round again – I think I might try that for my first project. It is mostly a tube – especially the first part, which is a ribbed collar – and is kind of familiar since I’ve already done one.

My son’s llama was not really a good dachshund substitute. :teehee:

Overall, it wasn’t a bad project – but I have been dreading the idea of working in the round again!

Another thing I thought of…what length cable were you using for the dog sweater? I find using a 40" cable for magic loop much easier. I am doing a sleeve now with modified magic loop and i don’t like it as much.

Just a thought.

Wow, that is so cute! I’ll bet your mum-in-law’s dog looks adorable. A second sweater would be so worthwhile.

It was a 40" cable attached to Harmony tips. It wasn’t difficult, I just didn’t enjoy it and I’m not sure why. I suspect that is the reason I haven’t started the second sweater yet. :wink:

I like it because I don’t have to switch needles when I decrease (like in a hat) and I can set it down without stitches falling off the ends of the needles. Also NO seams. :lol: I hate seams in hats, socks, anything really.

Maybe a 16" circ and then switching to DPN when you decrease would work better for you.

I LOVE using dpns! It’s the only method I use for socks and small diameter projects. Like Ingrid said, magic loop is just too fiddly. I don’t want to deal with sliding my stitches around.

I’m a tight knitter, so I use metal dpns. Better for my arthritis. And plastic dpns are not too bad. But I can’t stand bamboo or wood. They grab the yarn so much, that it kills my hands.

So, I would recommend trying different types until you find your favorite. And, be aware that different yarns will work better with different needles.

Cute dog sweater, Katie! Have you tried to see if you can get the sweater stitches around a 16" circular? Even if it’s 14" around, it will stretch. I bet you can get away with just doing the legs with DPN on that project. Definitely go with bamboo or wood for the first time DPN project if it’s something with so few stitches as the legs of the dog sweater. You’d want at least 8-10 stitches on a metal needle to keep it from sliding out when you’re getting the hang of DPN, more stitches if you’re a loose knitter. But do try DPN, a lot of folks prefer them, including myself! Great advice on this thread from everyone, you’ll be off to a good start. And having said Bamboo DPN, that’s my advice to start, but as Sandy said, if you like metal needles generally, you may like them on DPN once you get the hang of them. I do my socks on simple Boye or Susan Bates metal needles.

Oh, and if you want to ease into sock DPN knitting, you might like Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Moccasin Socks pattern, which has you do the cuff in the round but then the instep using flat knitting and a 16" circular. It’s a great pattern in general, and uses half the DPN knitting of most socks. Even less actually, since it’s in worsted weight yarn. The construction is unusual, so if you’re looking for the classic sock, that’s not it. Very practical and fun though!

I literally just started using DPN’s about an hour ago for the 1st time and already enjoy it. I didnt mind the ML method but found that with a small amount of stitches or fine yard it wasnt ideal. Using DPN’s isnt as scary as I thought now that I’m on my 3rd row and its going along great. I bought US size 3 (3.25mm) metal needles (would have preferred wood but store didnt have any) and they seem easy to handle as well long enough to hold enough stitches. So all in all I can now say Im a DPN knitter and see many more projects in my future and wish you the best in your discovery of a new technique.

P.S.-Here’s the project Im working on and find it to be DPN beginner friendly :slight_smile:

Adorable sweater!

I love my Harmony wood DPN for working socks in everything but dark yarns. For that I had to go back to light wood circulars.

just to add a suggestion to the great list of them you’ve already gotten: if the project allows (like a brim up hat) cast all of your stitches onto a straight needle, then knit them off onto your DPN one needle at a time. It’s much easier than casting onto DPN. Join at the beginning of the next round like for a jogless stripe.

I don’t enjoy magic loop either. I do not like the constant pulling of the the cable to get it in position. I prefer double points because you just keep knitting. I find the Harmony DP needles work well for me. I also found 6" are better for me than 4" or even 5". A friend of mine just loves the 4".

I find when I knit with DPNs on the bus I always get a seat to myself!
Unless it’s another knitter, in which case the company is usually welcome. :muah: