What a difference the yarn makes!
I thought that I'd practice a little using some acrylic yarn...wow...I had NO trouble with the DPNs at all. No ladder, no prob. I was trying to use an angora/merino yarn and I guess that it is more slippery than the acrylic. I guess the good news is I am not completely incompetent but the bad news is this yarn is a problem for the pattern I got it for. I'll definitely check out that link about using two circular needles. Thanks!