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View Full Version : How did you learn to use dpn's?


knitcrockcork
01-22-2013, 03:47 PM
Part of my knitting "things to learn" list is making a pair of socks. I don't know how to begin using dpn's and was curious how others learned.

:sun:

GrumpyGramma
01-22-2013, 03:50 PM
For me, desperation. Seriously the only way to learn is to do it. There are suggestions for making it easier that others can offer, I defer to them. My main experience with dpns was ribbing for the top of toe-up socks on U.S. size 000 but I just transferred the stitches from circs to dpn.

mojo11
01-22-2013, 03:56 PM
Part of my knitting "things to learn" list is making a pair of socks. I don't know how to begin using dpn's and was curious how others learned.

:sun:

I didn't. I learned Magic Loop to start with and never looked back. So that's my recommendation to anyone who asks about small-diameter knitting. BUT, I can understand wanting to learn something for its own sake. Try out both methods, figure out which works best for you and do that. But GG's right about just picking 'em up and doing it. There's a collection of videos here under "Advanced Techniques" that demo at least 3 different methods for small-diameter work.

Lizars1735
01-22-2013, 04:11 PM
Part of my knitting "things to learn" list is making a pair of socks. I don't know how to begin using dpn's and was curious how others learned.

:sun:

I just picked up some sock dpns and started with them. They are awkward at first. Actually, they are awkward all the time, but doable. Like anything, it just takes some getting used to. Watch the videos and see what works for you. I started with dpn before learning magic loop or 2 circs. So, at this point I've only make socks, the few I've done, with the dpns. My next pair will be on circular needles.

MrsJacks
01-22-2013, 04:35 PM
It helped that I already knew how to knit in the round on fixed circulars. After that, I learned how to knit socks using the 4 DPN method (three needles holding stitches and one working needle), because it seemed less overwhelming and I used Silver's Sock Class. (http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/SockClass_Start.htm) and sport weight yarn. I got it right on the first try.

If DPNs aren't really your thing, you could learn Magic Loop, which uses only one pair of long (32" or longer) circular needles. Once I learned ML, I never used DPNs again.

Antares
01-22-2013, 04:45 PM
I actually really like using DPNs. I've used ML (or some variation thereof), but I go back to my DPNs time and time again. DPNs are awkward on the first round to be sure, but once you get past that, things get much easier.

At first DPNs scared me--how do I hold all four or five needles at once. Then I realized that you don't hold any more needles with this method than you do in normal (flat knitting). In fact, you can ignore all the other needles most of the time cause you're just working with two of them. The only time I pay attention to the other needles is to make sure my stitches aren't sneaking (i.e., slipping) off. I use bamboo DPNs a lot, so this doesn't happen that often.

Yeah, I'd say watch a few videos with yarn and DPNs in hand. The best way to learn is to jump in and do it. If you get stuck or are having a specific problem, come here and ask; you're sure to get some help.

mojo11
01-22-2013, 04:51 PM
If DPNs aren't really your thing, you could learn Magic Loop, which uses only one pair of long (32" or longer) circular needles. Once I learned ML, I never used DPNs again.

I've done ML on needles as short as 24", but I'd recommend at least 29" for most things. The size of the work is the deciding factor for me. If the maximum diameter you're going for is small enough, you could theoretically do it on needles even shorter than that. I'd suggest using at least a 32" needle, but if what you have is only 29" long, there's (probably) no need to run out and get a longer one. And you probably have a short circular in the same size ( say a 16" one?) so if ML doesn't do it for you you could always go to the 2 circular technique if you had to. That's sort of a hybrid between DPNs and ML anyway, and (if you just WANT to learn DPNs) might be a good way to get used to joining using multiple needles -- without the hazard of 6 or 8 points sticking out at random intervals.

mojo11
01-22-2013, 04:56 PM
In fact, you can ignore all the other needles most of the time...

Until you hear that telltale sound of one hitting the floor. :mrgreen:

I know people who feel the same way about using DPNs that I do about ML. That's what they learned, and it works so why reinvent the wheel? Which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. And perhaps one day when there's no more plastic to be had because all the petrochemicals on Earth have been depleted we'll be forced to use DPNs because there won't be anything to make circulars out of. But until then...

GrumpyGramma
01-22-2013, 04:59 PM
Until you hear that telltale sound of one hitting the floor. :mrgreen:

I know people who feel the same way about using DPNs that I do about ML. That's what they learned, and it works so why reinvent the wheel? Which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. And perhaps one day when there's no more plastic to be had because all the petrochemicals on Earth have been depleted we'll be forced to use DPNs because there won't be anything to make circulars out of. But until then...

That should happen just about the same time we've learned all there is to know about knitting and can invent no other ways to tangle our yarn. Maybe before midnight, tonight :roflhard:

Jan in CA
01-22-2013, 05:43 PM
I learned when I was working the top of a hat. I started on a 16" circular and had to switch for the decreases. Now I rarely use them preferring magic loop for seamless projects. I prefer 32" for socks and 40" for hats because I don't like modified ml.

If you want to use DPN here's a link to an excellent sock class with great pictures for each step. I used this for my first socks.
http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/SockClass_Start.htm

mojo11
01-22-2013, 06:00 PM
I find this thread fascinating. I'd always gotten the feeling that Magic Loop was somehow disdained in the knitting community at large, because I almost never see it referenced in patterns. But it seems it's much more popular than I thought.

Is there a bias toward DPNs in published patterns, or am I just not reading enough of them? Or are the ones I'm seeing just too old to know from ML?

Questions for the ages, I tell ya.

Lizars1735
01-22-2013, 06:11 PM
I find this thread fascinating. I'd always gotten the feeling that Magic Loop was somehow disdained in the knitting community at large, because I almost never see it referenced in patterns. But it seems it's much more popular than I thought.

Is there a bias toward DPNs in published patterns, or am I just not reading enough of them? Or are the ones I'm seeing just too old to know from ML?

Questions for the ages, I tell ya.

Interesting point. And one I never thought about until you just mentioned it. Most small diameter circular patterns I've seen are for dpns. But I have the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, and there are instructions for both dpn and 2 circs, but not magic loop specifically. I suppose that 2 circs and magic loop are pretty much interchangeable as far as patterns are concerned.

fatoldladyinpjs
01-22-2013, 07:11 PM
I find this thread fascinating. I'd always gotten the feeling that Magic Loop was somehow disdained in the knitting community at large, because I almost never see it referenced in patterns. But it seems it's much more popular than I thought.

Is there a bias toward DPNs in published patterns, or am I just not reading enough of them? Or are the ones I'm seeing just too old to know from ML?

Questions for the ages, I tell ya.

I'm another one that only uses magic loop. My opinion is that the patterns require certain size circulars and then switch to double points (like for hats) so they can sell you more needles. More needles, more money for the pattern/yarn/needle company. Double points to finish the top of the hat are unnecessary. I use single or traveling loop to do the main body of the hat and switch to magic loop for the decreases. And circulars are attached. No more chasing needles across the floor and digging them out of the sofa.

Jan in CA
01-22-2013, 07:16 PM
I don't agree with that except maybe in the case of patterns from a company that makes them. The majority of patterns I see are just from knitters like all of us.. What needle to use is personal preference.

suzeeq
01-22-2013, 07:28 PM
Pattern companies don't make needles, so that's not a really strong arguement. It's pretty simple really. Needles with really flexible cords are fairly recent, maybe the last 5 years. The Magic Loop booklet which popularized the method was published only 10 years ago, even though some of us had been doing it years before that. We just never thought about printing a book about it.

Dpns have been around forever and were what you used to make socks and hats with, shorter needles have only become readily available in the last 10 years too. So ML is a more recent method of knitting and not a lot of older knitters or patterns will use it, only newer ones. And it is a very personsal preference, both by designers and knitters. Some hate ML and love dpns, some the other way, so there's no real conspiracy by anyone.

sakura-panda
01-22-2013, 07:29 PM
It is probably easier to adapt a pattern from DPN to Magic Loop than it is to go the other way so that DPN is just a standard. But maybe not; that's just my guess.

I learned magic loop first and after three projects I decided I would never knit in the round again. I decided to try again and I am currently working on a project using 5 DPNs; I'm tolerating it. It's not fun for me, but I am less unhappy than I had been with magic loop.

It's all personal preference. I always thought I might like the two circular needle method, but I have not tried it.

Ingrid
01-22-2013, 07:33 PM
I also recommend trying dpns on an established piece like the top of a hat. They start out stable and don't want to flop around the way they do when you first start out.

I prefer them over magic loop in most cases because it's basically just knitting--no fussing around.

I like knitting sleeves on two circs, though, when they're attached to the sweater--just have to flip the sleeves rather than twirling the whole sweater.

GrumpyGramma
01-22-2013, 10:10 PM
Pattern companies don't make needles, so that's not a really strong arguement. It's pretty simple really. Needles with really flexible cords are fairly recent, maybe the last 5 years. The Magic Loop booklet which popularized the method was published only 10 years ago, even though some of us had been doing it years before that. We just never thought about printing a book about it.

Dpns have been around forever and were what you used to make socks and hats with, shorter needles have only become readily available in the last 10 years too. So ML is a more recent method of knitting and not a lot of older knitters or patterns will use it, only newer ones. And it is a very personsal preference, both by designers and knitters. Some hate ML and love dpns, some the other way, so there's no real conspiracy by anyone.


Darn it, no conspiracy. Good grief. :wink:

I think that a lot of people don't have interchangeable sets and do have dpns in the same size as their fixed circulars. For them switching to dpn would make sense. The little I have done with dpn makes me think it's no big deal once you get used to it. There have been a lot of lovely knitted pieces produced on dpn. It was only when I saw how quickly the price of buying different sizes of needles was adding up, along with reading about the sets of needles with different cable lengths here, that I even considered buying an entire set.

Variety is the spice of life.

suzeeq
01-22-2013, 10:58 PM
I think that a lot of people don't have interchangeable sets and do have dpns in the same size as their fixed circulars.

Oh yeah, I forgot about interchangeables for 2 circ knitting. They haven't been as affordable and readily available very long either. I do have multiple circs in the sizes I use a lot, half the time they're holding a WIP though, but can use them if I need 2 the same size.


Variety is the spice of life.

Oui, vive le difference!!

cheley
01-23-2013, 09:56 AM
It helped that I already knew how to knit in the round on fixed circulars. After that, I learned how to knit socks using the 4 DPN method (three needles holding stitches and one working needle), because it seemed less overwhelming and I used Silver's Sock Class. (http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/SockClass_Start.htm) and sport weight yarn. I got it right on the first try.

If DPNs aren't really your thing, you could learn Magic Loop, which uses only one pair of long (32" or longer) circular needles. Once I learned ML, I never used DPNs again. Yes, I highly recommend Silver's...great video:cheering:

cheley
01-23-2013, 10:02 AM
Yes, I highly recommend Silver's...great video:cheering: DPN's all the way, ML is very awkward to me..the tricky part is getting getting the "join"... May I suggest start with Large dpn's ( US 10 or up), thick yarn and a good video...that way you can "see" the concept.

mojo11
01-23-2013, 11:17 AM
May I suggest start with Large dpn's ( US 10 or up), thick yarn and a good video...that way you can "see" the concept.

I'd recommend large needles and thick yarn for learning (almost) ANY technique. (I'm sure there are exceptions, don't get excited...)

I suspect that DPNs are simply the lowest common denominator, which is why pattern writers favor them. Well, that and probably the really big name pattern writers have probably been doing this for decades or learned at the feet of someone who has, so that's what they know. No tin foil hats required here.

Personally, I'm perfectly content to consign DPNs to the realm of I cord and cables and the occasional piece of flat knitting or repair work. There are times when they're uniquely suited to a particular purpose, but given another option I'll use it. Because I have enough trouble with stitches falling off ONE end of a needle -- I don't need to increase the chances of that happening any further.

cheley
01-23-2013, 11:25 AM
I'd recommend large needles and thick yarn for learning (almost) ANY technique. (I'm sure there are exceptions, don't get excited...)

I suspect that DPNs are simply the lowest common denominator, which is why pattern writers favor them. Well, that and probably the really big name pattern writers have probably been doing this for decades or learned at the feet of someone who has, so that's what they know. No tin foil hats required here.

Personally, I'm perfectly content to consign DPNs to the realm of I cord and cables and the occasional piece of flat knitting or repair work. There are times when they're uniquely suited to a particular purpose, but given another option I'll use it. Because I have enough trouble with stitches falling off ONE end of a needle -- I don't need to increase the chances of that happening any further...not sure what all the "hype" is regarding patterns etc..The question in this thread is "how to use dpn's" and BTW I happen to own 5 metal (sticks,used as needles), US...000 from the early 1930's used for sock knitting (or any small diameter knitting)

butlersabroad
01-23-2013, 12:01 PM
I wanted to learn to knit socks, so I bought a book (Ann Budd Getting Started Knitting Socks) and went to JoAnns and bought some cheap yarn and a couple of pairs of dpns. I'm not an advanced knitter and haven't tried lots of different needles and lots of different techniques so I just did what the book told me! You only use two needles at a time anyway, the rest just holds the stitches not being worked, and I've never had an issue with the stitches dropping off the ends of the unused needles either. I started with bamboo needles as they're more grabby and I've only just very recently bought a couple of pairs of metal ones. I would just try it and see, it took me months to pluck up the courage to try and now I wonder why I wasted so much time and made so much fuss!!

cheley
01-23-2013, 11:41 PM
..not sure what all the "hype" is regarding patterns etc..The question in this thread is "how to use dpn's" and BTW I happen to own 5 metal (sticks,used as needles), US...000 from the early 1930's used for sock knitting (or any small diameter knitting)

I'd recommend large needles and thick yarn for learning (almost) ANY technique. (I'm sure there are exceptions, don't get excited...)

I suspect that DPNs are simply the lowest common denominator, which is why pattern writers favor them. Well, that and probably the really big name pattern writers have probably been doing this for decades or learned at the feet of someone who has, so that's what they know. No tin foil hats required here.

Personally, I'm perfectly content to consign DPNs to the realm of I cord and cables and the occasional piece of flat knitting or repair work. There are times when they're uniquely suited to a particular purpose, but given another option I'll use it. Because I have enough trouble with stitches falling off ONE end of a needle -- I don't need to increase the chances of that happening any further. Please explain to me WTH you are talking about...yes, it's knitting and no "tin foil hats ARE NOT required" ...No, we didn't acquire a PHD in this craft, but this site just happens to be "light", fun and enjoyable.. oh and informative too.. ....I knit for fun and relaxation...AND TO TAKE A PIECE OF STRING AND MAKE A BEAUTIFUL, EVERLASTING ITEM FROM IT...

MerigoldinWA
01-24-2013, 08:14 PM
I decided to try again and I am currently working on a project using 5 DPNs; I'm tolerating it. It's not fun for me,

I just wanted to suggest you try 4 dpns, in case you haven't heard of that or tried it. Some people find one or the other method to be much easier for them personally than the other. It seems like such a small thing that it couldn't matter, but it does, for some of us at least. I prefer 4 unless there is a real need for the extra needle.

Rie
01-24-2013, 10:20 PM
I like knitting sleeves on two circs, though, when they're attached to the sweater--just have to flip the sleeves rather than twirling the whole sweater.

You have just given me a great reason to try knitting on two circs! I hate knitting sleeves down from a sweater - all that twisting!
Well, Well, I'm gonna go look for a video on this!

sakura-panda
01-25-2013, 11:42 AM
I just wanted to suggest you try 4 dpns, in case you haven't heard of that or tried it. Some people find one or the other method to be much easier for them personally than the other. It seems like such a small thing that it couldn't matter, but it does, for some of us at least. I prefer 4 unless there is a real need for the extra needle.

It's not the number of needles, it's that I really don't like knitting in the round. :blush: However, I find the multiple needles easier to manipulate than the cable, so I *almost* enjoy it. It's better too since I passed the ribbing and am doing all knit stitches now.

Thanks for the suggestion, although I really don't want to drop any of my needles. I hold two needles alongside each other to do the stitches from one needle to the next, with the other two needles forming a triangle, and I don't think that would work as well with one less needle.

Antares
01-25-2013, 11:49 AM
I actually prefer using 5 DPNs, so try both 4 and 5 needles and see what you like.

GrumpyGramma
01-25-2013, 05:02 PM
It's not the number of needles, it's that I really don't like knitting in the round. :blush: However, I find the multiple needles easier to manipulate than the cable, so I *almost* enjoy it. It's better too since I passed the ribbing and am doing all knit stitches now.

Thanks for the suggestion, although I really don't want to drop any of my needles. I hold two needles alongside each other to do the stitches from one needle to the next, with the other two needles forming a triangle, and I don't think that would work as well with one less needle.


I'm trying to picture how you hold the needles alongside each other. Unless your needles are extremely slippery your stitches should stay put after a few rounds. IME even with aluminum dpn they will stay where they're supposed to.

sakura-panda
01-25-2013, 05:25 PM
I'm trying to picture how you hold the needles alongside each other. Unless your needles are extremely slippery your stitches should stay put after a few rounds. IME even with aluminum dpn they will stay where they're supposed to.

I just hold the two together so it is almost as if I am knitting them on one needle. They overlap a bit, but it's just for a few stitches. I'm not a tight knitter; I am afraid that if I don't do something to artificially keep the stitches close together, I may end up with ladders. So I hold them together until I'm confident that dropping the previous needle won't pull any extra yarn in the gap.

GrumpyGramma
01-25-2013, 06:02 PM
I just hold the two together so it is almost as if I am knitting them on one needle. They overlap a bit, but it's just for a few stitches. I'm not a tight knitter; I am afraid that if I don't do something to artificially keep the stitches close together, I may end up with ladders. So I hold them together until I'm confident that dropping the previous needle won't pull any extra yarn in the gap.


I've not used dpn much but I find that if I tuck the end of the last needle under the tip of the needle I now have in my left hand, just making sure the stitches are close together and tightening the 2nd st. just a little takes care of laddering. If what you're doing works and isn't awkward, that's great. I just can't imagine me doing it that way. Have you watched videos so to see how others handle the needles? I'm not a really tight knitter these days.

sakura-panda
01-25-2013, 06:38 PM
I've not used dpn much but I find that if I tuck the end of the last needle under the tip of the needle I now have in my left hand, just making sure the stitches are close together and tightening the 2nd st. just a little takes care of laddering. If what you're doing works and isn't awkward, that's great. I just can't imagine me doing it that way. Have you watched videos so to see how others handle the needles? I'm not a really tight knitter these days.


No, I've never watched a knitting video. I learned to knit at my (now closed) LYS and at that time my instructor told me that she had never seen any hold their needles the way I did, but it seemed to be working for me so she didn't try to correct it. :oops: I've been told the same thing about the way I hold a crochet hook, so I pretty much figure *everything* I do knitting and crocheting is not quite *right*. :teehee:

Jan in CA
01-25-2013, 06:55 PM
Generally I agree that "if it aint broke don't try to fix it", but you might find knitting in the round easier and more enjoyable to knit if you practice holding your needles different. Of course if you don't mind seams and seaming then it's really no problem. :)

GrumpyGramma
01-25-2013, 07:34 PM
Generally I agree that "if it aint broke don't try to fix it", but you might find knitting in the round easier and more enjoyable to knit if you practice holding your needles different. Of course if you don't mind seams and seaming then it's really no problem. :)


I agree with Jan. In the interest of helping you look at other ways if you're interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9OrDriAmtI (skip up to about 6 min. to see how he knits if you want to skip him casting on and joining)

There are lots of other videos if you don't like this one.

suzeeq
01-25-2013, 07:50 PM
That was Jan....

GrumpyGramma
01-25-2013, 08:02 PM
That was Jan....

Thank you. I'm sorry about that. Please don't revoke the blessing you bestowed, it seems to be working! :muah: I apologise to Jan, too.

Jan in CA
01-25-2013, 09:02 PM
What are you two talking about?:??

Oh I see...you edited it. Ha!

suzeeq
01-25-2013, 09:04 PM
Thank you. I'm sorry about that. Please don't revoke the blessing you bestowed, it seems to be working! :muah: I apologise to Jan, too.


:roflhard: No no, wouldn't think of it...

sakura-panda
01-25-2013, 09:52 PM
This place is so fun! You get help even when you don't need it! :roflhard:

I just find stockinette/garter stitch tedious and somewhat boring; I don't enjoy straight knitting that's all garter stitch either. :teehee:

However, as I am both trying out DPNs for the first time AND a project where I am making two identical object (legwarmers), I did not want to take on too much by trying a stitch pattern more complicated than a simple rib. (I'm doing stockinette on the leg part and rib at each end, needlessly fearful that they will end up uneven and lopsided. :shock:)

This is in-the-round project #3; my first two (a baby hat and a dog sweater) were done using magic loop. I swore off round knitting after the dog sweater but then decided to give DPNs a chance. I'm having a much better experience, even though I find it a bit tedious when I don't have any other distractions (like conversations or TV.)

Thanks for the helpful and well-intentioned suggestions! :hug: What I really need though is a way to make an all knit stitch project less tedious -- that's the part I'm not enjoying so much! :knitting:

suzeeq
01-25-2013, 09:58 PM
Once you get more experienced you'll like all knits because you can do it mindlessly while watching tv or a movie.

Marina1109
01-25-2013, 10:01 PM
I have a hat pattern that calls for DPNs although it says "you can always use magic loop instead"

Since I don't own any DPNs, I decided to try out magic loop......... it's more difficult than I thought. :(

I'm gonna keep on practicing until I get it right before I start my hat.

Rie
01-25-2013, 10:11 PM
No, I've never watched a knitting video. I learned to knit at my (now closed) LYS and at that time my instructor told me that she had never seen any hold their needles the way I did, but it seemed to be working for me so she didn't try to correct it. :oops: I've been told the same thing about the way I hold a crochet hook, so I pretty much figure *everything* I do knitting and crocheting is not quite *right*. :teehee:

I had the same sort of issue with the way I held my needles. I have some problems with my right hand and I can't knit or write normally. I knit for five years or so that way before I started watching some Youtube videos on different ways to hold needles. I switched to continental style and then later modified that, but all that relearning means that now I'm very comfortable knitting. I can knit for hours now, its so nice!

Jan in CA
01-26-2013, 04:17 PM
How long is your circular? I find ML much easier if you have a longer circ. for hats I prefer 40" because then I have a loop at both ends which eliminates any gaps/ladders for me. It ends up being more like using two circs without any chance of using the wrong one.

That being said, I know Sue and a few others like the shorter circ and modified ML. Do what works for you and don't give up on it.

salmonmac
01-27-2013, 06:47 AM
"What I really need though is a way to make an all knit stitch project less tedious -- that's the part I'm not enjoying so much! "

What helps me is to alternate complicated Aran or intarsia patterns with a project that requires straight stockinette (even st st on tiny needles). It's the change that makes it fun.

Ingrid
01-27-2013, 10:26 AM
Yes, sometimes straight stockinette can be a bit mind-numbing, but it does come in handy when you need some mindless knitting--waiting room, tv watching, car trips, etc.