Hi everyone! My name is Joann and I am a new knitter. I have taken an beginnger class and now a intermediate beginner class at my LYS.

My teacher mentioned this site as a source of help outside class and I have been browsing around here.
This is a great place!

Anywho, last night in class we were given our new project. A small gift bag. We are doing it with double pointed needles. Casting on 30 stitches and then putting 10 on each needle for a total of three needles.

I am having an AWFUL time with this. Just awful!!! My teacher tried to work with me a bit in class last night but it was hard and frankly I still don’t get it. I have referred to my knitting books, watch the video here and googled the heck out of it…I feel a tiny bit better but still unsure of how to work with doublepointed needles.
I need step by step instructions, meaning the obvious needs to be spelled out for me!
How to you tell Needle 1 from Needle 3? Do you work clockwise or counterclockwise? working yarn always on the right I get but how after I have the 3 needles with 10 stitches on each (which I do now) what the heck do I do? I hear “just start knitting” but that ain’t working as the working yarn gets all twisted…My teacher had to rip it out last night cause it got so bad she couldn’t fix it…She started it over…I tried to continue it but think I screwed that up so I have ripped it out again…

Is it me? Am I just destined to not be able to do this?I love to knit…I have done scarves, one dishcloth and one hat …I loved to do those things…looking at this “mess” on these three needles just makes me wanna cry.

Any common sense plain English advice?



It can look a little overwhelming at first just like looking at a pattern in it’s whole. Once you get the stitches joined in a round I count needle 1 as the one containing the tail of the yarn. You will be knitting clockwise or knitting the stitches from the left needle to your right. You will likely have a gap in your stitches between needles but at this stage I wouldn’t worry about it, once you get your rhythm and feel comfortable with dpn knitting you can worry about evening out your stitches.
You are not alone in your confusion but as with most things worth knowing there is a learning curve and a struggle to master it.
Hang in there, we are here to help and encourage, we have all been there at one time or another.

Think of it as knitting on 2 needles, with the other 2 just holding the sts. With the yarn on the right needle, take the empty needle and knit the first st on the left needle - it might or might not have a tail, depending on how which cast on you did. Some other pictures here may help you also - go down to double pointed needles.

Try watching this video on YouTube. It is our very own Shandeh and she shows you in this video how to join easily so that you can knit in the round. Make a triangle with your needles, making sure not to twist your stitches. Once you have that figured out you just use your working needle (the empty one [or needle #4]) to slide knitwise into the first stitch on the left needle (that then becomes needle #1 and you will know it because if you look at the bottom of your work the cast on tail is hanging from that stitch at the bottom edge) and knit it onto the working needle (which then becomes your right needle). The other needles at this point are simply stitch holders. It can feel a bit strange but they just hang around and do nothing at this point. Keep knitting like this until you run out of stitches on the left needle. This needle then becomes your working needle as it has no stitches on it. Repeat this process and just keep on knitting each left needle onto the working needle until you get to the desired length.

Good luck!

I may just be repeating what others have said but let me see if i can help. I have always been a fan of bullet points so bear with me. I am also going to assume you are knitting continental style (working yarn held in the left hand)
[li]cast on 3 stitches onto 1 DPN[/li][li]slide the first 10 of these stitches onto another DPN[/li][li]slide the next 10 stitches onto a third DPN. You should now have 3 DPNs with 10 stitches on each.[/li][li]make a triangle with the needles. you should have the needle with the tail coming from it on the left, the needle with the middle 10 stitche on at the bottom and the needle with the working yarn coming from it on the left. the point of the triangle should be at the top and should not be joined by yarn yet.[/li][li]make sure the stitches are not twisted. if you look at you cast on stitches, you will see that on one side of the needle are open loops and on the otherside each loop is joined together in a chain. make sure this chain is straight and on the inside of your triangle for all needles with no twists in it. All the above is very nicely explained with pictures here :[/li][li]The needles are numbered anti-clockwise, relating to their position in the triangle. in your triangle as you look at it, the left hand needle (with the tail of the yarn) is needle 1, the bottom or middle needle is needle 2 and the needle on the right (with the working yarn) is needle 3.[/li][li]now to start knitting. hold needle 1 in your left hand with the working yarn coming from needle 3 as you would normally hold needle and yarn if it wear straight needles. ignore the fact that the working yarn is actually coming from needle 3.[/li][li]using a 4th DPN, knit the stitches off needle 1 as normal.[/li][li]at the end of thsoe stitches, you should now have 3 needles still with stitches on (10 of which you have just knit) and an empty ‘working’ needle.[/li][li]use the working needle to knit the stitches on needle 2, again at the end you end up with an empty needle ro aa new working needle.[/li][li]knit the stitches on needle 3.[/li][li]YAY you have now done one round of knitting.[/li][li]carry on in this pattern (knit from needle 1, knit from needle 2, knit from needle 3) without turning the work and you will eventually get a tube of stockinett.[/ol]i hope that helps, if it is two detailed or not detailed enough, please ask and we can help fill in.[/li]
good luck.


Plantgoddess+, Suzeeq and The Knitter offered some very good advice, I don’t think I could add anything else! But I wanted to tell you that double pointed needles can take a bit of practice and patience, but you can do it.:hug:It’s definitely not just you! Just keep at it, and ask us questions whenever you need to. Don’t hesitate to send pictures of your work, sometimes it can help us figure out what the problem is. We’re here to help! :thumbsup:

I’m gonna add my 2 cents for what’s it worth.

I so wanted to knit socks that I just kept at it until I got it. And you can too. A good friend of mine said that working with double-pointed needles was like wrestling with an octopus!! How apt is that!!! :wink:

This is what I do:

Cast on all the stitches onto one needle as you would normally.

Starting with the end that [U]does not have the working yarn [/U] slowly slip the stitches one at a time, as if to purl, onto the other needles.

Once you have the stitches distributed between the needles you can join and begin to knit.

Make sure your stitches aren’t twisted and the cast-on edge is pointing toward your lap. (Additionally, you will always be working at the top of your work. The project will be in your lap - the stitches will be on top, close to you.)

Now, make a triangle with the needles. The left needle (without the working yarn) is holding the first stitch that you are knitting into in order to join the round. The working yarn is coming off the 3rd needle. At first, in order to join, you will need to hold the first and 3rd needles close together in your left hand. Insert your empty needle (the 4th needle) into the first stitch on the 1st needle. Wrap the yarn from the 3rd needle and pull through and slide off onto the 4th needle. Give a little tug. Now do the second stitch in the same manner. Give a little tug. I find that if you knit the first few stitches on the needles a bit more snugly than the rest you won’t have the dreaded “laddering effect”.

Once you get to the end of the first needle all of the stitches have been knit from your left needle onto the empty needle. Now the left needle IS the empty needle and you use that as your right needle to move onto needle 2. ETC…

Once you have knit a few rows you won’t need to hold the first and third needles together. They will remain in the triangular shape with the natural tension from the knitting.

I like the long-tail cast-on for most projects and also, really love Amy’s trick for knitting in the tail on the first few stitches. If you knit in the tail on the first few stitches, let the tail drop and continue on with the working yarn, this gives a clear marker of which needle is holding the stitches that are the beginning of the round. If you don’t like that idea, I put a bright colored stitch marker onto the middle section of the first needle to mark needle one.

Does that help at all?

These are great replies and help so much!

Thank you!

I worked at it over my lunch break and was frustrated and almost in tears again. Coming back and reading these replies sure helps so much!

Thank you all!


Nothing much to add to what has been said except you can use the tail as a marker of sorts to keep track of each needle, too. The tail will probably remain in the same spot so you can remember which number needle is on either side of it. I keep a piece of paper and pencil next to me to keep track of things like this, too.

Welcome to KH!

Hi Joann,
I too want to learn DPN’s. If you have Real Player on your computer, you can download knitting videos from You Tube. I’ve found this to be an excellent way to learn different knitting techniques, including DPN’S. I hope this helps.

One more thing that might be helpful to you…

When joining (and knitting for that matter) the tip of needle 1 should be on top of needle 3, with the back end of needle 1 underneath the beginning of needle 2. Always have the end you are working from on the top of the previous needle and the back end of the needle underneath the following needle. Does that make sense? It’s easy to show you, but not so easy to describe it in words.

When you hold the left needle, position your left hand with the end of the following needle in the crook of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Don’t worry about squishing the stitches on any of the needles, they’ll bounce back. It makes it easier to assist in sliding the stitches off the needle.