Picking up your first pair of double-pointed needles can be both incredibly scary and supremely exhilarating. To make something using them instantly makes one feel like an expert knitter but to charge forward and use them takes a fair amount of “yarn balls”!
While it can seem overwhelming – why did five of them come in the pack, how do I go from one to the other? – mastering them is much easier than you may think. All you need are a few helpful hints to get you pointed (HAH!) in the right direction. Here are five tips I’ve picked up along the path to mastering my DPNs.
Trick #1 – Be sure your stitches aren’t twisted before you join for working in the round! This same advice goes for knitting with circular needles – by twisting the stitches around the needles, you end up knitting a Mobius at best, and a hot mess at worst. Take a few extra minutes to be sure your stitches are situated properly before you begin, and you’ll have much fewer headaches as you knit along.
Trick #2 – To prevent the “jog” that happens when switching between needles, move your stitches from one needle to the other. Most first-time users of double-pointed needles will comment on looser stitches at the change point between their needles. To prevent this, simply knit the first stitch off each needle onto the last needle, rather than onto your new needle.
Trick #3 – Use three different colored needles so you always know where you’re at in your round (ex: red, then yellow, then blue, done. Yellow, then blue, then red, done!) One of the biggest mistakes I made when learning to use DPNs was losing track of which round I was on. By using different colored needles, I was able to track where I was at in the process and keep my rounds straight!
Trick #4 – When decreasing for a hat, the space between needles can count as a stitch marker! This equates to less stitch markers used, and an obvious point for decreases!
Trick #5 – If you have trouble joining for working in the round, cast on with two sizes larger of a DPN, and then switch all stitches to the right sized needles. You’d be amazed at how much more room you feel you have!
Test out these tips one at a time or employ them all at once and you’ll find your double-pointed knitting adventures becoming easier and easier!