DPN's - another approach
It NEVER works the first few times you try. One thing that seemed easy to me, was a project that started on the big end, with circulars, and as it got littler you switched to DPNs. THen, there is some body to the project that keeps the stitches in place, as your DPN skills develop. It's hard to join up the cast on row under the best of circumstances, for a round project, and add to that the DPN's when you're just learning....well it's just hard to learn.
I knitted 2 Odessa hats this week, and they start on circs and finish on DPNs, and that worked out OK for me. I was working on it at school during the choir rehearsal, and one of the Boys (African American kid) about 17 years old, asked if I'd knit him one, without the beads! He said "DUDE, can you make me one of those" :D