Only have 4 size 7 DPNs; need 5--substitute a #6?

Today I registered for a class on Nov. 15 which requires…

–yarn (duh)
–size 7 x 16" circular needle(s)
–size 7 DPNs (I have a set of…four)

The item to be made is a hat, and there will be a chart. Having experienced a charted hat with the same instructor a couple of months ago and with only four DPNs rather than five that time, I’d [I]really[/I] rather not repeat [I]that[/I] experience (a motif repeated four times but divided onto three DPNs). For various reasons, I’d also rather not purchase an extra set of #7s just for one DPN; I have [I]dozens[/I] of DPNs, but only four #7s. sigh

I’ve just spent at least an hour on the Internet and digging in my knitting books trying to find the quote I read or the quoted author in the original. The gist of the quote in question was that ([B]if[/B] I remember it correctly) a DPN of either one size up or down can be added to a set of four all the same without affecting the size of the stitches. I remember the quote being attributed to Cat Bordhi, but having looked through the two books of hers that I own can’t find it. (Of course, she might have said it on line and my searches have been ineffectual, or it may not have been Cat Bordhi at all…)

What this would mean for me, if accurate, would be freedom!

I have the set of four #7s (7" long), and I have many, [I]many[/I] #6s (7" long). I have no #8s which are 7" long, but I do have 8"-long #8 DPNs. I could simply borrow one of the #6s (or maybe an 8?) for this hat class and get on with selecting the yarn!

Can anyone confirm/thrash my understanding?

Thank you!


It was EZ - Elizabeth Zimermann - who said you could use an odd size needle. A lot of people have done so, since the needles are rotated through the sts, it isn’t usually too noticeable. Check the pattern this time and see if you absolutely have to have the sts on 4 needles, you might be able to get away with only 4. Or maybe you could use a longer circular and magic loop to knit it that way.

Personally I prefer 4 needles over 5 and I just use a marker to separate areas. Might not be a good idea for a first time pattern in a class though. I don’t see why you couldn’t use one odd size as long as it’s similar.

[B]@ SuzeeQ: [/B]Wow. EZ herself gave us this…ah…leeway! :notworthy:

I’ve tried Magic Loop, but the disaster which befell my unfortunate sock (yes, singular) in an August set of classes may have been more on the instructor than on me; I’ve only been knitting since May. Anyhoo…the class will be on Fair Isle, so maybe one challenge at a time?

[B]@ Jan in CA:[/B] We (current instructor and I) went for the four-needle approach in July, in another hat class. When the pattern shifted from the DPNs to the circulars, I was supposed to have 64 sts (4 motifs x 16 rows, transitioning to 8 motifs x 8 sts per motif in the first circ. row).

I had 74 sts. Somehow, in working through two motifs’ worth of sts on one DPN, even though I used markers to demarcate each and every one of the four motifs, I had created 10 extra sts. It didn’t look promising, trying to arrange 9 motifs symmetrically around 4 earlier ones, so I just unravelled the thing and will start again later.

Thank you both for your help tonight! :slight_smile:

[B]To all:[/B] Yes, I’m pushing myself. But there are reasons, and I have a technical/skill objective.

A big reason for the push is that I lost 15 years of handwork time to carpal tunnel syndrome. Couldn’t crochet, do needlework of any kind: first, in order to relax my hands; then, to deal with DeQuervain’s Syndrome on top of CTS; and finally to have a margin during which I would not trigger a relapse.

Fifteen years is a lot of lost time. Having finally conquered my difficulties (well, most of them) with casting on last spring, I’m now pushing through lace, cables, and Fair Isle in my first year of knitting.

The second year will prob. include entrelac and other less frequent knitting techniques.


Yes, EZ. Are you always right on gauge when you knit a pattern? If you are usually tighter or looser than the average, maybe you should bring the 6’s or the 8’s anyway.

[B]@ salmonmac:[/B] Good point; thank you. :slight_smile: I’ll throw the full #6 and #8 sets into the bag for the class, along with circs. I’ve been within 1/4 to 1/2 of a st per inch on those projects which have seemed (to me) to require a gauge swatch. (Sweater for DH, two Tunisian crochet garments for self; things like that.)

But the hats have all been class projects, where the instructor says, “Cast on xx sts” so that our number of sts will work with the pattern being learned. One was 88, I forget Hat #2, this one will be 96; all with worsted weight, so in the same ballpark.

[B]My personal philosophy on gauge swatches[/B] (both knit and crochet) is: I don’t make them for scarves, shawls, afghans, handbags, etc.–items which do not need to fit the human body in a specific way. I [I]am [/I]absolutely religious to the point of obsession, however, about making them for items which must [B]fit[/B] on the human body–DH’s above-mentioned sweater, my T.C. skirt and top, gloves, and the like, as well as practicing unfamiliar stitch patterns and getting to “know” unfamiliar yarns.