DPN Hell!

So, I have been working on a hat and things have been going fairly well until I had to move it onto the DPNs. Actually, the moving on to the DPNs wasn't bad; it was the actual knitting with the bast@#ds. Uggh! How the hell do you hang onto them without all of your stiches falling off? What a pain. I was up until midnight trying to get the hang of this and finally gave up. Any suggestions out there before I'm forced to drink a cosmo before the weekend.


MMario's picture

Corks can help.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

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

albert's picture

True, but with screw tops you can get into the bottle faster.

scenter's picture

As a first guess analysis: Are they metal DPNS? That could be the source of the slippage, change to wooden/bamboo DPNs (or even plastic) and the yarn will grip better.

scubasinger's picture

Some of it is just learning how to hold the needles correctly. While knitting with two, I never allow the other needles to just 'flop'. I keep them supported with a finger so that the whole assembly is pretty much horizontal to the floor. Also making sure your needles are crossing correctly. I usually have the tip of a needle resting on top of the tail of the previous needle all the way around.

My suggestion is to grab a set of dpns and some waste yarn and just start knitting stockinette around and around. If you screw it up, no big deal, you're just practicing. Just make tons of mistakes and get used to holding/manipulating the needles. Personally I love working with dpns, but they were a definite challenge when I first started using them.

YarnGuy716's picture

My best solution to DPNs is a circular needle with a long cable and Magic Loop. I rarely use DPNs now.

PhilNmtl's picture

It does take a bit of getting used to. I used to feel like I had mousetraps on my fingers. I prefer metal needles now, but when learning, and slipping, bamboo is a lot easier. And becaue you are probably doing decreases on the dps you soon have fewer stiches to manage. In the meantime try shoving them to the middle of the needle, or using bamboo, or maybe every trying longer needles. Good Luck!

jrrenola's picture

Funny - I've been having DPN issues myself...go for that cosmopolitan and knit like the wind!!!

NeoYankee's picture

Hi Buck - if it's any consolation, most people's first reaction to working on dpns boils down to some version of "what the f#ck????". My first project on them left me feeling as if I suddenly had 10 thumbs, all lefties.

From my (admittedly limited) experience, all I can tell you is that if you stick with it, eventually it'll make sense. What helped me was to only concentrate on the working needles - I mentally banished the non-working needles from my pea-sized brain until it was time to move on to the next needle.

I haven't yet tried the Magic Loop method with circular needles... some swear by it, others seem to have some sort of "it's not cricket" attitude, since our grandparents used dpns, we should too. To those I say, fine, our grandparents also dealt with Polio and black & white television - would you like to go back to that as well?

Bottom line, I'd say give the dpns a fair try - then try Magic Loop. If you find one is easier than the other, go with it.

Marknits's picture

Another question, how many needles are the stitches on? some people like to divide the work on 3 needles and knit with the fourth and some like to divide the work on 4 needles and knit with the 5th. I find the work is more "flowing" if I use 5 needles. I've tried 4 but it makes the work more "stiff" and I always go back to 5. Just my two cents worth

stch's picture

5 DPN's are the what I'd first learned to knit on. It was ackward at first...as was learning to knit too...but, there is a little trick that I found helps. Rather than trying to hold all the needles, place a tip protector on each end of the DPN's that aren't in play and allow them to rest on the piece that you're knitting, this will allow you to keep your focus on the needles that you're working at the time.

Personally, I have difficulty using circ's - the darn things tend to coil and tangle around everything! Still haven't gotten the hang of majic loop and have pretty much surrendered to it not being something that I ever will.

If the DPN's don't become comfortable to work with, I'd say go with the needles and techniques that you are confident in using.

Buck Strong's picture

Hey: Thanks for all of the advice. Last night worked a bit better. One mistake I think I made before was that I started on the DPNs too early. This time I waited until the last possible moment before I put the hat onto the DPNs, ending up with fewer stitches. That helped a lot. I finished the hat. It's not a bad for a first try. Looking at it now, I can see lots of areas to improve on.
Now I'm going to try it agian but neater.

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace.
~Milan Kundera

MMario's picture

Another trick is to use a "short circuit" Put only a small part of the stitches onto a DPN. Continue to knit on the circ as normal - but when you get to the DPN, drop the right needle of the circ (I'm assuming you work stitches from the left needle onto the right needle) and knit those stitches onto another DPN. When You've finished the stitches on the dpn, Pick up your circ again and continue on. This allows you to keep a good percentage of your stitches on the circ, and eleiminates some of the hassles of working with either magic loop or two circs.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

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

scottly's picture

I find that using the shortest needles that I can get away with it very helpful. And for me bamboo is the only way to go. I was wondering if point protectors help while knitting or just slow you down?

superi's picture

I find when working with metal dpn's it's best knit a little bit tighter that way the stitches are less likely to slip off.


teejtc's picture

Another thing to keep in mind is to use longer DPNs. You can buy 3" ones, and I've used them for infant socks, but 7" or 8" ones are a lot nicer - it's almost impossible to have 70-some stitches split between 3 or 4 of them and have stitches fall off.

Grace and Peace,