View Full Version : Feeling defeated with DPN

Jackie M.
01-15-2011, 12:55 PM
I don't mind learning new things. I don't mind a challenge. I taught myself to knit. But I'm trying DPN's and I feel defeated. I have fought with these for days and can't get the hang of it. I've watched Amy's video but it doesn't help. Also she is knitting continental and I need to see English knitting on DPN. I keep mixing up my needles I guess, but they get too tight to even knit with. I think the needles should be numbered to know which one comes next. Maybe I should color code them. Don't know what I'm doing wrong but I'm about to throw the needles in the trash. :cry:

01-15-2011, 01:29 PM
Ugghh I know how you're feeling! :hair:

DPNs can be VERY frustrating to get the hang of. When I was first trying to teach myself how to use them I felt like it was the most awkward thing in the world! It may never be your favourite method of small diameter circular knitting, but it does get easier ... I promise!

I would suggest trying not to knit too tightly (which can be hard!) and trying to make yourself persevere through those first few rows - I always find that to be the hardest part, once you get past the first few rows it gets a little easier to work with.

Another tip that I've heard is that you might want to consider knitting the first few rows flat, and then divide your stitches on your DPNs and begin knitting in the round. This will leave you with a small area to be seamed at the end, but it lets you avoid those first few frustrating rows on the DPNs.

You could try checking out other videos as well to see if that helps, there are quite a few on YouTube. For example:



The most important thing is to keep trying, even if you have to take a break from it and come back to it another time. If you keep trying and you find that DPNs just aren't your thing, don't worry about it ... there are lots of other ways to knit small diameter objects in the round!

Good luck! :knitting:

Jan in CA
01-15-2011, 02:00 PM
I never remember which number each needle is. I just use the tail to tell me where the round begins and ends. If it's important to which needle is which you can put safety pins on the knitting - 1 on needle one, 2 on needle two, etc.

And always remember when you're knitting in the round the working yarn will be coming from the needle in your right hand and you always work to the left on the outside of the knitting.

01-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Here's a picture tutorial (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer03/FEATtheresa.html)that may help you too, even though she holds the yarn in her left hand. That doesn't matter really, just pretend you're only knitting on 2 needles and the others are just holding the sts.

Jan in CA
01-15-2011, 03:28 PM
Here's another picture tutorial.

01-16-2011, 08:21 AM
I'm knitting with dpn's right now... I've done both four and five needle knitting with them and don't despair... it's awkward at first but you'll get it! For one, you always move to the needle to the left of the one you just worked. One needle is always empty when you complete knitting the stitches on one needle. So, if you have a set of four, you have three with work and one working needle. If you have a set of five, that's four with work on them and one working needle. Those are the two main points of dpn working... Also, there will be some gapping between stitches near the needles, where you have two needles crossing... if it's not too much, when you get it away from the needles, it'll settle to look smooth and unbroken. Don't fret if you see it near the needle and with some small gaps. That's just how it is on dpn's because they're all straight and each needle is pulling the yarn in a different direction due to that straightness. My FO barbie stuff... the dress was done on dpn's as well. You just need to practice... I know you'll get it! Remember- go left!

Oh, also, to mark spots (if I have to) I use waste yarn that's cut off from previous projects. You know, the stuff you cut off after weaving in a tail for a while... Just lay that flat between the needles and knit a stitch... works just fine.

01-16-2011, 10:23 AM
I usually put a stitch marker in the middle of the knitting that tells me which needle I am using.

01-16-2011, 03:20 PM
When I first tried to teach myself how to use DPNs I swear I threw those needles across the floor a hundred times :roflhard:
I put a stitch marker at the beginning of the round so that I know where I started. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but DPNs are now my favorite method for small diameter circular knitting.

01-16-2011, 05:21 PM
Hi! :waving:

Yes, Roses, I've thrown many a balled-up knitting project across the room against the wall! It never helps, I just have to retrieve it and deal with a worse tangled mess, but there's just something about winging it across that room.....sigh! Good times! :roflhard:

BUT, even though DPN's were very awkward for me when I first worked with them I finally got the hang of it and could get things done. It's a great technique to put in your knitting skills arsenal but it can be difficult in the beginning. A little like the knitting equivalent of the child's game "pick-up-sticks" only with yarn involved! :)

I worried about stitches falling off the other end of the needle as I worked, so I solved that by putting little point protectors on the ends until I was comfortable with the technique. It was much slower than just going ahead and knitting, but it did help give me confidence and I was soon whizzing along without my "training wheels"!

I've found other uses for them, too. If I want to make I-cord, for example, I grab up a couple of dpn's, stick on those point protectors and "Voila"!, I've got a great pair of "temporary" straight needles that are short enough to get the job done comfortably.

So don't despair, just continue to practice until one day it will all fall into place. Take frequent breaks so you don't get yourself into a nervous fit and just go back to it when you're fresh.

Goodl uck,

Ruthie :o)

01-16-2011, 06:49 PM
When I work on dpns, I cast on while holding them together in a staggered row, as if they were a single foldable straight needle.

When all the stitches are on, I fold this needle into a triangle or square (depending on whether I have four or five needles).

I take the leftover needle, insert it into the first stitch, and with the first stitch, it's joined in the round. Then, you ignore all needles except the two in your hands, and knit like it's two straight needles. When you run out of stitches on your left-hand needle, you pass the empty needle to your right hand, but instead of turning the right hand needle around, you rotate to the next needle. They don't need numbered because once you've joined them in the round... you stitch to the end of one needle and the next needle is right there for you, waiting.

It seems complicated, and very few people ever seem to learn to like it, but it's not nearly so hard as it looks at first. Just keep trying! You'll get it!

01-16-2011, 11:20 PM
Gad, don't I know how you feel! But hang in there, eventually knitting on dpns will become second nature.
Here's what I do...
I cast all the stitches onto one needle. Then, say, the pattern calls for needle 1 and 3 to have 12 sts on them and needle 2 has to have 16...
slip 12 st. off from the front of the needle purlwise to an empty needle that will be needle 1, then get another needle and cast off 16 sts onto it, your second needle... the 3rd needle is the needle that once had all the stitches on it but which, by now, should have the required 12 sts on it.
Now comes the hard part - getting the knitting to join.. needle 3 to needle 1.
I lay my needles down on my lap, not raising them up any higher than I have to to get the knitting to join. I put the (1) needle thru the last cast on st, making sure the knitting on my lap isn't twisted, and wrap the (1) needle just like an ordinary stitch... after all, that's exactly what it is.
I pull this quite hard as I continue to knit the rest of needle 1. By the time I get half way thru needle 2, I find I can usually lift the knitting off my lap as it is now quite strong and not going to twist.
When I knit the second round, I find it quite easy to pull the yarn to close up the gap that is bound to happen between the first and last needle. After that is it no trouble at all.
Just make sure you pull a bit at each corner so you don't have any ladders where you don't want them.
I taught myself to do this in a moment of desperation... it works very well for me... I hope it will work for you as well.
P.S. Having the knitting laying on my lap means my lap is stopping the yarn from moving on it's own and that is like having a third hand... :)
TEMA :thumbsup: :knitting:

Jackie M.
01-17-2011, 05:37 PM
You Ladies are WONDERFUL! So much encouragement. First step: as KMaclean says..PERSERVERANCE....That has to be the first thing apart from maybe staying calm. :teehee: Next thing...um...remember to keep the needles in order and don't try knitting without scooting the yarn to other side of needle. That was my biggest mistake. I was twisting and trying to keep everything at the top of each needle, the same way as the last time I went around the needles. Am I making sense? Anyway, I am happy to say I have about 2" of a DPN tube going and all of you are so right! It gets better after you've knitted maybe the first 3 rows. I told myself to forget what it looks like, just keep going. It's only a practice anyway. Oh and one more thing....don't yell at your hubby just because he walked into the room.......:whistle:
Thanks again everyone. I might even start to enjoy this. Now to find a cute knitted snowman ornament.

01-18-2011, 12:19 AM
Good to hear you're getting the hang of it. I'm pretty sure this same exact thread, started by yours truly, is around here somewhere and I ran into the SAME thing. I was making a mitten, using DPNs for the first time, and everything was so wonky and tight and the mitten looked tiny enough for an INFANT - it was very frustrating. But then someone here told me, no - that's typical of mittens on DPNs. They LOOK tiny but they're not. She told me to keep going and when I did, it got much easier.

Now I'm on my 3rd DPN project and I find that CO and joining are getting easier each time.

Happy DPNing! :mrgreen:

01-18-2011, 12:21 AM
Congrats on conquering the DPNs! :clink:

It will only get easier with practice from now on ... good luck with your new project! :knitting:

01-18-2011, 11:45 AM
It took me years (decades?) to be comfortable using DPNs. The pattern which got me over the hump was some fingerless mittens. The pattern is available for free: http://knitty.com/ISSUEsummer06/PATTfetching.html I made them with Malabrigo worsted. The heavier yarn and stiffer fabric helped keep the dpns from flopping around so much, and the ribbing pattern helped hide any problem with laddering where you move from one needle to another.

I have learned to either use the tail left from casting on to tell where the beginning of the row is, or to use the stitch markers that look like little safety pins.

Next, I need to move on to full mittens.

01-18-2011, 06:49 PM
Hi! :waving:

One of the things I learned that really helped me in handling things like dpn's and working with circs for magic loop and two-at-a-time socks, is to put a pillow on my lap to rest the needles and yarn on when I start.

It provides great support up to the point where you've got a good start and things are holding together stably. Then you can ditch the pillow and just hold the contraption however it's comfortable!

Good luck!

Ruthie :yay:

Jackie M.
01-20-2011, 12:11 AM
And here he is! My first knitted with DPN's project. Poor clumsy little guy was thrown to the ground more than once but he seems to have forgiven me.

01-20-2011, 12:50 AM
He looks happy enough!

01-20-2011, 01:27 AM
Don't throw them out, be patient. When I started with DPNs, I used to put the stitch stoppers on both ends of the ones not being used, and wherever stitches might drop off. They were like my training wheels and helped me get the hang of things without dropping my stitches.

Also, are you using aluminum or wood? The wooden ones slide off LESS easily, good for beginners, but more advanced knitters appreciate the quickness of the metal ones.

01-20-2011, 04:04 PM
Aaaawwwww... now that's cute!
Congratulations on conquering the dreaded dpn... :)
TEMA :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

01-20-2011, 09:42 PM
And here he is! My first knitted with DPN's project. Poor clumsy little guy was thrown to the ground more than once but he seems to have forgiven me.

Lol, he's smiling... maybe he likes the abuse? Anyway, yeah, like you mentioned in your other post up there a bit, the first few rows where you joined the round are a bit looser at the join and can be looser at the end/beginning of each needle but as you go, it sorts itself out. He's cute, though... now, you can keep him around where you can see him so that any time you do another dpn project, he'll be smiling at you, telling you what a wonderful job you did on him and that he knows you'll do great on something else... right?

01-21-2011, 10:29 AM
I never remember which number each needle is. I just use the tail to tell me where the round begins and ends. If it's important to which needle is which you can put safety pins on the knitting - 1 on needle one, 2 on needle two, etc.

I use the tail as well. It's the easiest indicator of what comes next. You're always knitting in a counter clockwise circle. Meaning, your tail, like a reverse clock hand, should be steadily working to the left.

01-21-2011, 12:35 PM
Love it! Great job!

Jackie M.
01-21-2011, 08:54 PM
Anyway, yeah, like you mentioned in your other post He's cute, though... now, you can keep him around where you can see him so that any time you do another dpn project, he'll be smiling at you, telling you what a wonderful job you did on him and that he knows you'll do great on something else... right?

Great idea Mokumegane! Keeping him around for encouragement. I'll need it! Thanks! :thumbsup:

01-22-2011, 09:22 AM
He's adorable!! I have never gotten the hang of DPNs - I do everything in Magic Loop.

01-22-2011, 02:16 PM
Hi! :waving:

That little guy is really good work! It looks professional and well finished. The shape is very, very good and the stitches look even. He's cute as a button as well and the finishing work on the face is terrific.

All in all, it doesn't look like a "first" project on DPN's so I'm sure future projects will be totally terrific!

You rock!

Happy knitting,

Ruthie :clink:

01-22-2011, 02:44 PM
I watched a million youtube videos to help me learn. It took a lot of practice. I think because I'm a tight knitter and I got so frustrated with it.

Jackie M.
01-23-2011, 03:06 PM
Gosh, thanks Ruthie! And thanks to everyone. Actually there are mistakes and I'm happy his head is covered so you can't see the lumps where I joined. Also on the bottom it's lumpy, but I'm on my 3rd snowman now and have a new addiction.
KnitZombie, yes! Videos and lots of practice helped. Also I think it helps to be very determined. You can't learn if you don't stay with it or you are not that interested in learning. I was very dertermined, just like when I started knitting. I would not give up! My husband would catch me wrestling the yarn and needles and I told him "I am going to do this".

01-27-2011, 11:27 AM
If you really feel like giving up, try using circular needles with the magic loop method. There are videos on how to do this on Youtube. I can even knit the fingers of gloves with circulars.