New to DPNs & have question about buying


I have been knitting for a few years now but nothing very complex and always on straight needles. However, I’m tired of having to put patterns aside because they call for DPNs and I am resigned to learn… it doesn’t look too hard but I am wondering what needles are the best sizes to own? I want to go pick up some at the store but I don’t want to invest in tons of sets at first. Can anyone suggest the best sizes (2 or so) to own for diverse projects? I am interested in knitting socks, mittens and stuffed toys possibly. Thanks for your help!


Needle size depends on the item you’re knitting and the yarn weight. Socks would be better on size 1 or 2s, though if you’re a tight knitter you may need 3s. A toy would be knit on the same needles if you do use sock yarn, but if you use a heavier one then you’d need a little larger one. Hats and mittens are usually done on worsted, and you’d need a size 8 or so for that yarn. You might look into circular needles as they can be used for straight/flat items as well. Something about 29-36" long can be used to knit the smaller items using the magic loop or single loop technique.

I am fairly new to knitting and i only use bamboo, i like how they feel and the yarn seems to stay on the bamboo better :aww:

Suzeeq- I saw the videos on knitting flat pieces with circular needles but since I’m trying to improve all of my techniques, I think for right now it’d be better for me to stick to perfecting things on straight needles first. I have a size 5 circular needle but I think I will leave knitting flat pieces on it as a future thing to learn because I don’t know enough to convert the patterns I have from DPNs to circular needles. Thanks very much for your advice though!

Bettybee- thanks! I’m thinking I’ll start with bamboo since I have a terrible habit of dropping needles out of knitting even when making flat pieces haha

Sock can be knit in varying yarn weights not just Fingering weight yarn. The needle size would depend more on yarn weight and your gauge than the item being knit. I am currently knitting kilt hose (knee high socks to be worn with a kilt) in sports weight on size 4 needles and could have used size 5s. There are a lot of patterns for worsted weight socks using size 5 to 6 needles.

Look for a pattern you want to knit, select the yarn you will use and then pick out the needles. Pick the size recommended and have fun knitting your project.

Evaluate the needles - did you like the needles material, did you like the needle length, did you get the gauge you were expecting?

Having knit your project and evaluated the results, look for a second project. Will the needles you have work for the new project? Do you want to try needles made with another material?

Get a second set of needles, if necessary, or do a second project on the original needles.

Repeat the knitting and evaluation and getting new needles until you have 8 or 9 set in all possible sizes. Once you have reached this point go to the yellow pages and find a chapter of [I]Knitters [I]Anonymous[/I][/I].

If you have a pattern written for a flat item, anything from a scarf to a sweater, you can knit it on a circular needle as well. I understand your hesitation because it seems “harder” somehow, but it really isn’t. You just treat the two ends of the circular like straight needles and exchange them in your hands at the end of each row like you do the straights. Make sure the yarn is coming from the left needle end as you begin the row so you don’t accidentally knit in the round. After a few rows you will see that there is nothing to it. You don’t have to change the patterns at all.

You don’t have to ‘convert’ patterns written for dpns to circulars. The needles are just the tools you use, the method is the same. If a sock pattern says to put x sts on needle 1, y on needle 2 and z on needle 3, use stitch markers on the circs, that’s all you need to do.

Yeah that’s the issue… I haven’t explored knitting in the round enough to know what that means.

Basically, you don’t really have to do any conversions. Some sock patterns make reference to doing things at the beg or end of a certain needle, and the markers will help, but most don’t do anything of the sort. You could take a look at this tutorial for knitting socks on a circular, use your size 5 needles and some leftover yarn and make a practice sock. The one sock on 2 circulars can be done on one needle using the magic loop or single loop technique. You don’t really need dpns to work in the round. Or take one of your patterns that calls for dpns and work it on the circular; the videos on the Advanced Techniques page show how to do magic loop, here’s the single loop.

I love my bamboo DPN needles and wait for a sale at Micheal’s and by lots of different sizes. I just got a pair of the new needles from and they are great. I knit lots of socks and baby hats so I mainly have 2’s to 3’s. I have one pair of hand made 7’s that a friend custom made for me from heart wood of a walnut tree she had to take down due to storm damage.

I recommend not trying to convert to circular needles. It can mess you up when working the heel and other parts. You can buy a really good set of 4 bamboo double pointed needles (HA.KIDD brand) for about $5.00 at Wal-Mart.

I’ve knit socks on magic loop, 2 circulars and DPN. I prefer circular needles myself. It’s really personal preference. There are a lot of patterns for all three methods. Once you learn one method you can usually transfer that knowledge to the other methods w/o too many problems.