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Old 12-13-2012, 12:40 AM   #1
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Help with learning dpns
I've been knitting for a few weeks now. I've made a couple of hats and scarves. I want to learn dpns, but I can't seem to get it to save my life!

What needles, yarn weight etc. do you think is easiest to learn on? I've already got a set of 5 size 10 bamboo dpns and a set of metal sock dpns (sizes 0 and 1). Is it easier to start on larger or smaller needles?

I also have a hard time with knitting too tight. But when I try to loosen up then I leave huge ladders between needles. I have a hard time not twisting the stitches too. Mobius strip anyone? Thanks for any advice!
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:59 AM   #2
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I'd say the larger needles would be easier to learn on. With size 5s you could make a hat with sport or dk yarn. The ladders aren't always from knitting loosely, sometimes pulling the yarn tight when you switch needles will do that too. When you start knitting off a new needle on the left, work the first stitch, then pull the yarn and do the next stitch tight.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:32 AM   #3
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Your size 10 needles with a bulky weight yarn would work. If you have trouble working the first few rows on dpns you could start out knitting flat and after a couple of rows, switch to the dpns to knit in the round. The little gap where you join can be seamed when you're finished using the tail.
The ladders do seem to go away with practice.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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Were you making hats using Magic Loop, Traveling Loop, or circular needles to knit in the round? Or were the hats flat patterns with seams?

If you're using circs for hats, you could start out working on them using the circs and then switch to your DPNs. That would eliminate the whole first row twisting problem.

Another option might be to work a few rows flat (back and forth) and then join in the round and begin using your DPNs. Sewing up a side seam that is a half an inch is no biggie!

I think eventually you will get the hang of not twisting your first row of stitches. Just be sure that the knots at the bottom of the needle are all on the inside of the circle (technically, I guess it's a square at this point, isn't it?).

Using more "sticky" needles (bamboo or wood) really helped me get the hang of DPNs. At first I was using some metal ones, and things were all just slip and slide all the time!! I'm not positive, but the grippy, sticky needles might help you control ladders, too. You might try a set of bamboo needles (Clovers are nice) and see if they help.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:07 PM   #5
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I used 16" circs (bamboo) for the hats. I really enjoy the circs since I can just knit and knit and not worry about purling except for the ribbing rows. At the top I decrease a few rows then pull it together with the tail and add a pompom. So far I like the bunched look at the top but want to be able to make a graceful fitted beanie with dpns and eventually small things like gloves.

I tried the magic loop but had about as much luck as with the dpns. I don't want to get frustrated so I'm trying to learn new things slowly.

I like the idea of starting out on circs and joining the first few rows later. I will def try that. It will at least get me over the hardest part and let me practice with the dpns. And I'll try what suzeeq said about tightening the 2nd stitch after joining. I have some bulky yarn leftover so I will practice with that.

Thanks y'all! I can always count on some wise advice here.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:47 PM   #6
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I learned Magic Loop and it worked, so I never learned DPNs. I suspect that most of the knitting world did it the other way around. Probably people were doing small diameter work on DPNs before the invention of circular needles, so that became the industry standard.

The video on this site that explains it is pretty good (Note: the demonstrator knits Continental style, so if you knit English it might seem confusing. But the Magic Loop part of it works the same either way.) There's also a way to do it on two circulars that's demonstrated there which you might find easier than either one, but I haven't tried it so I can't confirm or deny.

I'm always going to recommend Magic Loop, but it's way more important to find a technique that works for YOU. I'd say try them all, give them a chance and the "right" one will present itself.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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Well, if it's a hat you can go along knit knitting on the 16" and not switch to the dpns until the decreases have started to pull in the hat. Then you can switch to dpns.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:51 AM   #8
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When I knitted a long stocking hat recently I just kept magic looping down to 12 sts and didn't need dpns, which was good because I don't have any in the size I was using.
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