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How to use Double Pointed Knitting Needles?

Double pointed knitting needles or DPNs are the oldest, existing form of knitting in the round. The technique of knitting with double pointed needles looks somewhat fiddly at first, but is essentially quite simple and also beautiful to watch. When it comes to knitting seamless, smaller circular items, double pointed knitting needles are the shining stars among all knitting needles. The set of 5 needles work together to knit a circumference which may seem overwhelming for multiple reasons but the secret is you will only knit with two needles at a time.

DPNs come in a set of five needles, whereas straight knitting needles come in pairs. Like their name, our Mindful Double pointed knitting needles are pointy on both ends, with one end being slightly sharper than the other, though. An inspiring mantra is imprinted on each of the needles. Knitters’ Pride Mindful Collection has the entire range made of stainless steel which creates a soft and soothing clicking sound.

For different projects and also depending on your comfort you will need to use different lengths for double points. Our Mindful needles are available as a set of 6" needles for smaller items such as socks, mittens or wrist warmers, and as a set of 8" needles, suitable for larger projects, such as children’s sweaters, hats or cowls.

Here are a few tips and tricks that will take your mindful circular knitting to the next level:

How to use Double Pointed Knitting Needles

How to cast on with Double Pointed Needles

The first step of any knitting project is to cast on stitches. After you make a slip knot (the first stitch on the cast on row), you need to make stitches as mentioned by a pattern or the requirement of the project. Socks sizes are different to hat sizes and sleeves.

Start with knitting needles that are a size bigger than mentioned in the pattern and required for your yarn. If you are, say, knitting a hat or a sock on needles, size US 3 (3.25mm) or US 4 (3.50mm), cast on your stitches with needles US 4 (3.50mm) or US 5 (3.75mm). This trick will make it much easier to knit the first round later and will give your border also more elasticity.

Say for a sock circumference of 48 stitches, cast on 24 stitches on your first needle. Now, take another needle and cast on the second half of your stitches on the second needle, while letting the first needle hang loose. You can also cast on all your stitches on one knitting needle and can combine your stitches to a round while distributing them evenly onto four of your needles while keeping the extra fifth DPN to knit with.

How to close the round seamlessly on your Mindful DPNs

If you have cast on your stitches on bigger needles, switch to a smaller size now to knit your first round, as indicated for your yarn label or the pattern. Make sure that all your cast on stitches are pointing in the same direction and are not twisted. The rim or border is shown by the knotted line and should face inwards on each needle in use. If you have cast on 48 stitches in total and plan to knit on four needles, you should have 12 stitches on each of your needles in the end. If you have 40 stitches to be divided on 3 needles then you need to keep 14 stitches on DPN 1, 13 stitches on DPN 2 and 13 stitches on DPN 3.

In order to avoid a so-called ladder, i.e. a gap between the last stitch and your first stitch, you have cast on, you can simply cross them. This means you pick up the last stitch from the second needle and the first stitch from your first needle and place them on your third, still empty needle. Now you slip the last stitch over the first and can knit them in the order they appear, until you have 12 stitches on your needle. This way, you have already closed your round, and there is no open gap. Three of your needles are now in use.

How to create the square or circumference

The only thing left to do, is to distribute your remaining stitches evenly. Pick up your fourth, still empty needle and knit/purl the next 12 stitches according to your pattern. If you find the other needles to be in your way, just concentrate on the two needles you are working on at a time and ignore the others as much as you can. Double check your border and make sure it is always pointing inwards. After completing the first round, you should now have 12 stitches on each needle. Your needle square has been set up. The fifth needle in your Mindful set of DPNs will now become your working needle as you knit along. As your sock, sleeve or hat grows the easier it gets to manage the needles.

How to use Double Pointed Knitting Needles

How to protect your stitches from falling off the needle

When knitting your rounds you will find that your needle square is actually overlapping at the points which already provides a natural barrier for the stitches to slide off the ends. However, while knitting your rounds, the very movements of your hands may be the reason for losing stitches at first. But, the trick is to make extra tight stitches on the last two stitches of the round.

In this case you can protect your needle tips with our Knitters Pride needle protectors which will stop the stitches from slipping over the needle tip. Have patience. While your project grows under your hands you will notice that the needle square becomes more stable the longer the tube becomes. We recommend using the needle caps every time you lay down your knitwork in order to secure your stitches.

Knitting on a set of double pointed needles is easy to learn, even if you have never knitted in the round before. We are sure you will find yourself creating cute circular projects within a very short period of time.

Double Pointed Vs. Circular Needles

Any discussion on knitting in the round is incomplete without talking about all options. Circular needles are designed to knit smoothly in a round. For making your socks, hat or any round project you can easily work with circular knitting needles and switch to double pointed needles at your own convenience. In fact, it is always recommended to switch to DPNs when the stitches get stretched on the circular needles. This works even if you have started on DPNs and switch to circulars when the stitches are too many to be managed on the double points.

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