OK - I have created and destroyed (less dramatically, just plain unravelled) a couple attempts at hats because I cannot get it thru my thick skull how to work with dpns. The magic loop is not up for discussion, as I do not get it at, the dpns are where I need to focus. Suggestions? I'm feeling less and less sure of my knitting skills and feeling like an idiot!! Thanks-


MMario's picture

Where are you going wrong? Or where do you *Think* you are going wrong?

I don't find DPN's that hard to work with as long as you divide your stitches up logically.

Is the problem ladders between the needles? Give that yarn an extra tug for a stitch or two as you start each new needle.

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kylewilliam's picture

DPN's aren't THAT hard - you should be able to figure them out - if you look on

there's a video that shows the basics - if that doesn't help you I'd probably suggest going into your LYS to have them show you how to do it... the other thing you could look at is the "Magic Loop" method - which I have never tried, but from what I hear and can tell (and the 5 second demo I got froma friend) it's awesome and should be a good way to do anything that we use DPN's for...

hope that helps!



As far as I can tell, I am going wrong from the get go. Say if you have 3 dpns each loaded with 20 stitches, do you A) use one of the loaded needles to knit transferring all stitches to the receiving needle ending up with 40 stitches - then transferring to an empty dpn *OR* Do you use the 4th dpn as a needle and work with that or does this even matter??? I ended up aborting the first hat when I realized I dropped the marker while transferring to the dpn's. It looked a mess! so, when working with these needles the goal is to just knit in a circle even if its more of a triangle? This must be pretty basic, but I'm getting tired of ripping things out....without knowing what I'm screwing up.

MMario's picture

Assume you have 60 stitches, divided on three needles. 20/20/20

yup - you use a FOURTH needle to knit off 20 stitches from the first needle. this frees up a needles, so you then use IT to knit the next 20 stitches, etc, etc, etc,; going round and round in circles, even though it's really a traingle.

some people prefer to divide the sitches onto 4 needles 15/15/15/15 in this case and knit with a fifth.

MMario - Can anybody tell me what year it is?

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

I like your description, "knit in a circle even though it's more of a triangle." That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I like Kyle's recommendation that you ask for help at the LYS. I find getting help from other knitters works much better for me personally than reading books, watching videos or checking websites.


Tallguy's picture

This is an easy one. Yes, you cast on your stitches on FOUR needles and knit with a fifth. Most American sets only come with four in a set, so you will have to use another from another set, or even a different size (EZ says it won't matter).

What I sometimes do is cast on one long needle. Knit back (or even 2-3 rows). THEN I put the stitches on the four needles, and join. It just makes it a bit easier for me. I like the four because you have a neat little square (closer to a circle) and it's easier to handle, and the smaller angles are easier to get around.

You have to remember one thing: You will only ever be knitting with two pointy sticks, and one stitch at a time. The rest are just there, hanging around, waiting their turn.

It's just that easy.

Bill's picture

Dpn's ARE difficult, at first! first attempts, even though I was trying VERY hard...had so many dropped looked like I was knitting lace...

but hang in does get easier and better!

drmel94's picture

Okay, I haven't seen anyone suggest this approach yet, but until you're a bit more comfortable with dpn's, perhaps you can get a 16" circular and use that to work the brim up until you start decreases. Then you'll have a more stable base to work on when you have to switch to dpn's, and you'll have a little bit easier time joining your work into the round without having to coordinate three or four needles, which can be difficult to keep from twisting unless you're very comfortable with what you're looking at.

I've done a lot of hats, and I wouldn't do them any other way now. I do, though, think that it made it easier for me to sort out doing socks on dpn's, which I far prefer to two circs or magic loop method.

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SKHolt's picture

I love working on double pointed needles. Most everyone has said what I would say. However, I find the place that I can make the first and biggest mistake is joining that first round, either because I twist it, or I haven't pulled that last stitch tight enough to add on to it without losing it.

I always use three as the holders and the fourth as the one I knit on, except with a hat when I need to hold four and work with the fifth.

I'm always in favor of going to your LYS. I also find that taking the messed up version is good because people can see what is happening and better help you fix it.


potterdc's picture

Hi Jim,

The only thing I would add to the good info already here is that when I was starting out, there was a HUGE difference for me between large dpn (like size 10 to work on the sleeves of a big sweater) and smaller dpns (like 3 or 4's for socks). I just didn't have the manual dexterity to deal with the four larger dpns - I had aluminum needles that were slippery and kept falling out.

To REALLY get comfortable with dpns - start a pair of socks!

Good luck (you'll get it!),

Think less, enjoy it more.