Well, deep subject, finally am settled down to the significant business of becoming a legitimate knitter and putting in the due diligence. But...as always one needs tools. OK, I need some serious input about DPN's because I want to be able to do socks, hats, and fingerless gloves. Maybe even ones with fingers sometime.


OH, and this was my little project working with our Cheviot silk sport weight for fingerless gloves not needing DPN's because there is a seam. Next time, I want to knit it in the round.

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AKQGuy's picture

Play around with a few kinds of different materials. Even splurge and buy a set of signatures if you can afford it. Your hands will tell you which ones you prefer. DPN's are still something I prefer bamboo or the knitters pride cubics in wood for. I find the metal ones to sometimes be to heave and slip from their stitches, but it's just a personal choice, not that they don't function well.

AKQGuy's picture

Play around with a few kinds of different materials and lengths. Even splurge and buy a set of signatures if you can afford it. Your hands will tell you which ones you prefer. You may even find that for different gauges you prefer different materials. DPN's are still something I prefer bamboo or the knitters pride cubics in wood for. I find the metal ones to sometimes be to heave and slip from their stitches, but it's just a personal choice, not that they don't function well.

SAPBrown's picture

I love my DPN's.
I rarely use standard needles anymore. DPN's and circular needles cover all my needs. I too prefer wood (bamboo), but knitting speed is not that important to me. I'm quicker with metal provided I don't drop stitches.

To avoid "ladders" between each needle:
Start each needle with a knit.
Work a few stitches from the next needle (use markers to help with pattern/directions) This way, where the needles join, do not line up row after row.

rmbm612's picture

I personally don't like using DPN's and would rather use circular needles and the magic loop method of knitting in the round.
I do own a bundle of DPN's though and I like the Brittany birch needles. The only negative about the needles is larger hands and US 1, 2, and 3, aren't necessarily a good combination. I have a tendency to snap them when knitting, especially the 4" length. Knitpicks' DPN's are nice, come in colored laminated wood (colored or plain) or metal, have really sharp points, and are relatively in-expensive. But US 4 is the smallest sized DPN. Steel needles I used for Latvian mitten only because they come in 0000, 000, 00, and 0, but the first three or four rounds are frustrating because the needles are slick, stitches slide off, and the tips are sharps and hard on the finger tips. The Cadillac of needles are Signatures Needles, come in two or three tips, 5 needles to a set, but at $47/set may be cost prohibitive. I have tried them on a store sample. They have a comfortable feel, nice tips, are color code by size, but are expensive. I don't knit socks that often, but do knit mittens and hats often. Circulars are more economical in the long run. One 32 inch circular can be used to knit two socks or mittens at the same time and used for other circular knitting or flat knitting. You can become a legitimate knitter without DPN's. It really just a matter of personal preference.

Bill's picture

Everyone will have a different opinion.
I LOVE the hollow stainless steel DPN's made by ChiaoGoo and HiyaHiya.
...and they have the sizes etched on each needle. I do think bamboo and wood are easier to learn on....

ronhuber's picture

Bill got me into HiyaHiya and they are wonderfu. I like them because they are light and unlike wood, the stitches fly off of the needles. Great price as well.

CLABBERS's picture

I think it all depends on what you learned on. I taught myself to knit using YouTube videos in 2010 and bought straight needles because that's what I found in abundance back then. After a few months, I wanted to do an afghan, so I bought the KnitPicks circular needle set with extra lengths of cable and couplers, so I could make my afghan in one large piece. While making the endless afghan, I wanted to make little projects and make my stitches more uniform, so I picked some scarves and other flat pieces to make. For those I had a choice of using what I had in the new circular needles, or buy more straight needles. I stuck with what I had to save money. I really liked using the circulars...they were lighter and fit my hands better than long needles that kept hitting the arms of the lounge chair I was sitting in. I decided to buy 16" Bates circular needles (never again...they didn't wear well) to make a hat because I was used to circulars instead of getting the DPNs as suggested by the pattern. Doing the last few rows with a 16" cable made things very fiddly and hard to manage. That's when I learned about lengthening the cable to it was easier to manage. "Easier" being the operative word.

After the first hat, I bought a set of DPNs and figured out how to use them instead of the circulars for those last few rows. I like that way they handled. I bought the bamboo ones because I didn't want them to slip out of the stitches as I thought the nickle-plated ones would. I have become much more capable knitting magic loop starting with very small rows, but still find DPNs more "behaved" when finishing hats or other projects with only a few stitches on each row. You may find that to be the case when doing fingers in a glove.

I have both the 7" and 5" DPNs in several sizes and like the 5" for smaller circumferences. I also use the DPNs when doing cables. I don't see a need to get a cable needle when the bamboo needles stay put when you push them to the back or bring them to the front when doing cables.

When I do I-cords, DPNs are the only ones I use. The just make sense to me.

Now I am making socks and only use circulars for them. I use either US2 or US3 (sock yarn) and Judy's Magic Cast On, largerly because beginning with provisional cast ons still makes me itch!!! That's a different story...for later. I have had some nice success using the circulars with US7 and worsted weight as well. Simply to satisfy my curiosity and see if what more traditional knitters say is true, I am going to make a pair of socks using DPNs one of these days. I like that with circulars, you only risk the "ladder" effect twice in each round, as opposed to 3 or 4 times in each round using DPNs. All those pointy things in my lap while knitting with thin nylon shorts on make me a bit nervous as well....ouch. LOL

I'm still new to all the choices and am still trying new things with new tools, but at least you have my perspective now. The most valuable thing I have learned is that the smaller the tube, like socks, a willy warmer, or glove fingers the longer the cord should be between the needles. With a hat, 16" works great; the cord works well with the circumference of the hat. With a round that is let's say only 28 stitches (worsted weight) or 56 (sock weight) I like to use 30" or 40" of cable. Sadly, most interchangeable circular sets don't come with US000 - US03 because they are just too small to "hook" together, so I had to buy those "fixed". Thankfully, a local yarn shop had them for a decent price. I simply went with those instead of DPNs because I was comfortable with them and didn't feel like learning to make socks AND learn to manage DPNs at the same time.

As others have also said, play around with different tools until you find what is the best fit for your hands. Oh, speaking of that, I bought a pair of US2 circulars joined with an 8" cord for socks. The needles were only a couple inches long. After working with them for about an hour, I called the LYS and asked if I could exchange them for something else. Thankfully, she agreed.

I do ramble on. Sorry about that. Good luck with your choices.


Crafty Andy's picture

I like dpns a lot. I think I get more control over the item I am making. I prefer DPNs for hats and socks . Metal or wood, that is a different story. If your hands sweat a lot wood won't make it . I like Bamboo and metal. My favorite dpns for socks are signature needles US 1, I an not destroy those needles and I have made enough socks on them to say that I have made the money I spent on them. I will have to say that I also like my bamboo needles, wood is so organic and beautiful. I use a lot of US 6 , US 9 and US1 in many of my projects. I actually finished my sweater sleeves on dpns, it made a lot of sense to me. I do use circulars on big projects, and definitely to try on socks. I did not like the way that the square shaped dpn needles felt in my hands.


I personally like d.p.n s i have used circular needles and seems like i have issues with twisting. now on larger stuff like sweaters where i am using a worsted yarn i don't seem to have that problem. but when I am using perhaps lighter yarn for say cowl or something i get twists.
for socks i still have to say d.p.ns work best. I use 0 and 1 for fingerling weight and super fine. dk and larger ply I have gone up to 3. I am dying to try some chunky socks "footsies" using larger gauge needles just for fun.
If using 0 for finer work understand it slows you down, or at least for me. i try not to use pointed ones for this work. blunted points work best. i found out when i used pointed ones i ended up with more stitches than i started with due to splitting the yarn. you can still split the yarn with blunts but its more difficult. at my age too stitches are a lot more difficult to see as well. HOWEVER... the pleasure you get after finishing a nice pair of well knitted socks beats the agony getting there.
But I have also seen others use the circular for socks etc. I think like the rest of the guys just give it a try. i've yet to do it and so i can't really make a judgement call when it comes to using circular for socks etc.
I would like to try and knit a larger piece using d.p.n's just for the experience, but around here all you can get is the 12 inch size.
so experiment and have fun.

docs1's picture

Thanks so much. Well having worked enough with circulars (and I love them and use for most anything, round or not), I still find I am getting into places where I think DPN's would be helpful. The comments are great. I think I will try the Knitpicks (they are on sale at present) and see how I do with wood, since I tend to like bamboo and wood more than metal.
You guys are the bomb.

CLABBERS's picture

The KnitPicks rosewood needles are very nice to use. They aren't as slippery as the nickle-plated ones and not as much tension as the bamboo. I think JoAnn Fabrics has some bamboo ones that are priced pretty fairly.

bobinthebul's picture

I used to have DPN phobia and thought circular was great. I still have nothing against circulars but for some things (especially toe-up socks) it gets a bit complex adapting them to circulars. And what spooked me about the DPNs was that it *looked* complex and fiddly with 5 needles. Actually you're only ever really fiddling with two at a time anyway, and the distribution of the stitches over the needles can help keep things organized. The first round or two can seem a bit floppy since it takes a couple rounds before the work's structure firms up. Once you just take the plunge and do it, I think you'll agree.

Like others have said, everyone has their own opinions and experiences, and the only real way to see what works for you is to try a few things. It could change over time. Generally though, I think bamboo is good to start out with. Why? They're light and they don't slip too much. If you're a loose knitter that will be a good thing because it is a pain having a needle slip out. I use both metal and bamboo, and rarely have any problems. I knit continental and am not overly tight. I mean I'm not an over tight knitter. I mean I don't pull my stitches overly tightly. You know.

Just think, so many people of so many skill levels have managed to learn DPNs throughout history; it can't really be that bad. :)

Tallguy's picture

As you can see, everyone has their own opinion as to what would work best. And for them, they are right. For you, it may be different.

As an experienced knitter, I think that a beginner would be wise to invest in a good set of circular needles and use them for everything. You certainly can knit fingers of a glove with very long circulars! I think that 24" would be about the shortest anyone would want. I prefer 36" or 40" is even better. But that is me.

Of course, as time goes on, and finances allow, I would get myself some dpns and maybe even some straight needles too. Heavens knows that I have a full set (or maybe two) of straight needles, and dpns, and circulars. I have them in bamboo, plastic, metals, and various other materials. I don't use them all -- I have a couple of sets that I use all the time, and the others are just there for show! I'm a collector, okay? And looking back on the kind of work I do, I can tell which needles are the ones that are most used. I guess you won't know until a few years have gone by, but by then, you already have all kinds as I do! As I said to a lady the other day, you can't have too many needles!