Numbering DPN's?

I’m starting a mittens class on Tuesday and the pattern uses 4 dpn’s. For my ‘homework’ I’m supposed to have the cuff and part of the palm done before my class starts.

No problem on the cuff (CO 40 sts, divide onto 3 needles, join and work in ribbing for 3 inches).

Now for the problem. Next the pattern says to divide the sts for the palm: 20 stitches on needle #1, and 10 sts each on needles #2 and #3. However, the pattern does not specify which needle is #1, or #2, or #3.

I checked one of my sock knitting books and for the patterns in that book needle #1 is the left needle (with the first cast on stitch), needle #3 is the right needle (with the last co stitch and the working yarn) and needle #2 is the needle across the back.

Is this true for all patterns? I’ve read through the complete mitten pattern and it doesn’t tell me how to number the needles. And of course my LYS is closed today and tomorrow!

I would say the numbers are the same as with socks as long as you went in complete circles. I haven’t done mittens yet but I’m doing sock No. 1 and you start knitting with dpn 1.

Hope this helps.


I think so. In two-needle knitting you have a left needle and a right needle, but that terminology doesn’t work when you have several needles.

I believe they are always numbered according to the order in which you knit them. (First needle you knit is needle 1, second is needle 2, etc.).

Thanks, Mary. I feel like this is okay, but I needed someone else to say so!

And thanks to you too, Lisa. That makes sense, so I’m going to go with it. I think the worse that can happen is I may have to rearrange the stitches on the needles once I get to my class.

All the patterns I have worked would have needle 1 starting with the 1st stitches you knit and on around so the last stitches in each row would be the stitches on needle 3.

I would think that needle one is the first one knit after you joined the round, where you have the tail from the cast on. I use five needles, and never have to fool around moving stitches: I always (with mittens) have two front and two back, and with socks I always have two instep and 2 heel needles.

I started my class today, and we were correct! Hooray! Thank you all for your help! Now if I can just do the thumb…