Tips for working with DPN's, Please?!

Does anyone have any tips for a fairly new knitter on working with DPN’s, when decreasing for the top of a hat? I’ve knitted one hat (a beret) and had such a difficult time with the DPN’s, but managed to finish the hat. I then tried to knit a pointed top “wizard” hat for my son from the Charmed Knits book, and messed up the top of the hat so badly that I had to frog the entire thing. Somehow I purled at the top, instead of knitting (still can’t figure out how I did that), and I had a hard time keeping track of which needle to work next, and which needle to knit off first, if that makes sense. I also have a hard time with decreasing, when the stitches I need to decrease are on two different needles.

I can manage circular needles fine, in fact, I prefer them for straight knitting as well, but somehow those DPN’s just seem to stump me. I’m currently knitting a lace hat, and it’s coming along great, but I’m worried about messing up the hat when I get to the point where I need the DPN’s.

Any advice would be great appreciated!

When knitting anything in the round you knit around the outside of the circle and the yarn will be coming from the right needle.

You may have started knitting inside out by knitting inside the circle when you picked it back up after setting it down. That’s usually what happens. Just make sure you’re on the outside of the circle.

(So someone doesn’t jump on me… I should point out here that some people always knit inside the circle and that works as long as you’re consistent. IMO it’s best to learn the “correct” way so there’s no confusion with patterns.)

I knit on DPNs quite often because I’m always making socks for my family. For small diameter projects they cannot be beat.

It sounds to me like you got your work turned around for the wizard cap and wound up knitting on the wrong side. I usually use a long tail cast on or use a piece of waste yarn to mark my “center stitch” and that way I always know which way I am going, because my draw yarn (the yarn I am pulling from the skein or ball) will always be on the right hand needle. Also, DPNs are far too short for most cap projects (unless you’re doing on of those small skull cap type ones) so using a 16" circular is usually the way to go or the number of stitches will overwhelm you because most DPNs are simply just too short.

I dont know what kind of needles you’re using, whether they are metal, plastic or bamboo, or what kind of yarn, but I know that with heavier weights of yarn I have a hard time keeping my stitches on DPNs if the project has a lot of increases. When that happens I will usually make the change over to a circular needle if I don’t already knot I should have started there.

The thing with DPNs is, you just have to remember to try to move the stitches to the middle of the needle as soon as you have finished with it and are moving on to the next. It takes some getting used to, but learning to control all those needles will definitely give you a confidence in other areas of your knitting. It takes some practice, but if you are a new knitter and already tackling DPNs you certainly have my respect. It took me nearly 20 years to attempt them. All those needles, all those stitches, all that yarn. Yikes! If I can do it, trust me, it will be a breeze for you. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks, Angela and Jan! I started the hat on 16" Bryspun (plastic) circulars, and then switched to Bryspun DPNs at the top. I didn’t have any problems with stitches sliding off the DPN’s, but I get confused when I need to decrease two stitches, and one stitch is on one needle, and another stitch on another needle, if that makes sense. Should I just slide both stitches onto the same needle before I decrease?

Jan, at the risk of sounding dumb, what do you mean by knitting inside the circle? Also, when I start the first row I’m knitting with DPNs, which needle do I start knitting off first? I assume the needle that has the yarn attached to it, but I want to make sure.

Thanks again for the help!

When you switched from the circ. to the DPNs did you knit them off the circ. or did you slide them off? This could be where the confusing came in if you slid them off and then ended up working the project inside out (aka knitting inside the circle). Instead try knitting them off the circs and divide them evenly onto your dpns. For example, knit 6 onto the first, 6 onto the second 6 onto the third. Once they are all of the circ you can put a safety pin on your work to mark the begining of the round and continue knitting around. When I have to decrease and the two stitches are on different needles I usually just slip them onto the same needle and then knit.

When you are knitting in the round the needles should be close to your body and the loop goes away from your body…it’s on the other side of the needles as you are knitting. It will look like this:

Yes, when you decrease they should both be on the same needle. If you already knit the end before you realize that undo the one stitch and then knit them together.

The needle you knit from is the one to the left of the one with the yarn coming from it. Here’s the KH video that might help, too.

  1. When I first started, I would put little stoppers at the end of each needle so I wouldn’t lose my stitches. They were my training wheels. Needless to say I didn’t need them long, but they gave me confidence. The ones I bought were from Hobby Lobby and shaped like little socks which still make me smile!

  2. When joining with DPNs (the first stitch of round 2 after you cast on) I always make my first stitch with the tail rather than the working yarn. That way I can pull tightly on it and avoid the dreaded gap!

  3. Bamboo needles grip yarn best, so when starting I always recommend those before you graduate to aluminum.

I keep track of which needle is #1, by using the long-tail cast on and knitting with the tail end until about the middle of the first needle. That way I know that’s needle 1 because the end of the cast on is hanging from the middle of it.

And I agree that when you have 2 stitches to be decreased that are from different needles, just slip one to the other needle and knit them together.

It’s all trial and error. Practice on baby socks or a miniature hat to get all your kinks worked out and bring up the confidence level. That way if it goes wonky and you have to frog you haven’t wrecked a project or used too much yarn. You’ll get it.

I forgot to mention also that it’s always best if doing k and p stitches to always make the first stitch on the DPN a k. When a p is first, the work stays kind of loose.

Me too. I also use that tail as a marker for the beginning of the rounds by carrying it up like this:

More knitting tips on my Google Album: Knitting Tips. Another one for DPNs is how I put the work away so that I don’t lose stitches, I line up all the needles and twist yarn around both sides. The last twirl being a backwards ‘e’ so that any pulling on the yarn only tightens up the grip :wink:

Definitely put both sts to be decreased on the same needle. You don’t have to absolutely keep the same sts on the same needle, nor have them divided exactly evenly on each needle. Once you get down to just a few sts, it might even be easier to knit with one less needle.

Whenever you’re knitting in the round, the last stitch you made has the working yarn on the right hand needle. So position them that way, with the tips on your side of the circle and knit the next stitch.

(I’m sorry for posting the same things on 2 threads, it applies to both).

Another tip I have for cuff down socks (I don’t do toe ups), is use a cable cast on (there’s a video here on this page) (since you are going to restart anyway)…It will not only give you a stretchier cuff, but also help you make your socks’ stripes match if you’re using self-striping yarn. Pic below shows you the difference. First one doesn’t match, second one does.

I exclusively start my cuff down socks with a cable cast on.

Some excellent advice from all. You can knit from the inside out or outside in as long as you remember and hold your work/needles consistently. I do recommend the bamboo needles. You are doing great and keep practicing and it will come together!!:yay:

I loved knitting in the round once I learned it. now it’s all I want to do. Knitting flat for my husband’s sweater gets me mixed up since it’s large and on circulars… I have to stop myself.

Keep practicing and you will be doing great in no time.

To remember which is inside and outside and to remember which is needle #1, I place a brightly colored piece of yarn or a removable stitch marker on the right side under the # 1 needle. Just run it through one of the stitches. This way I always know which needle I should start with and on which side. I also try to always finish the round or at least write down where I stopped.