How to Knit with Double Pointed Needles

How to Knit with Double Pointed Needles

Looking to expand your knitting repertoire? Consider knitting with double-pointed needles. Double-pointed knitting needles provide an excellent alternative for knitting in the round.

Now, double-pointed needles may look intimidating at first, but they are quite easy to use! Once you join your knits in the round, knitting with double-pointed needles is similar to knitting with two needles. You do not even need to turn the work as you knit!

Want to learn more about how to knit with double pointed needles? Let’s get started!

What are Double Pointed Knitting Needles?

What is DPN in knitting?

Double pointed needles, also known as DPNs, are short straight knitting needles with points on both ends so you can knit on either tip of the needle. These knitting needles range from five to eight inches long and come in sets of four to five needles. Double pointed knitting needles are made from various materials, including plastic, bamboo, and metal, to mention a few.

So, what are double pointed knitting needles used for?

Unlike circular needles that knit larger items in the round, double-pointed knitting needles are used to create items with a small circumference. Such items include socks, mittens, gloves, hats, and arm warmers.

To choose suitable double-pointed knitting needles for your project, you should check the yarn’s custom woven labels to determine the recommended needle size. You could further check the knitting pattern you intend to use for leads to suitable DPNs.

Double Pointed Knitting Needles Vs. Circular Needles

Double Point Needles

Circular Needles

Used to knit items with a small circumference in the round

Used to knit items with a larger circumference in the round.

These are straight knitting needles with pointed tips on both ends

These are round or circular needles with pointed tips.

How to Knit in the Round with DPN: What You Need

The first step when learning how to start knitting with double-pointed needles is to gather all the necessary equipment. The following table shows some of the essential knitting tools and their function when knitting in the round using double-pointed needles.

Knitting Equipment Purpose

Knitting yarn

This is a continuous string with interlocked fibers used to create a knitted garment. You should check the yarn’s care labels to determine the best way to wash and care for your knitted fabric to avoid damaging it.

Crochet hook

A crochet hook is used to pick dropped stitches and weave in loose ends when knitting with double-pointed needles.

Pair of scissors

Scissors help to cut the extra yarn when changing colors on your knit project.

Stitch holders

Stitch holders, also known as stitch markers, are used to open stitches, hold dropped stitches, and mark the beginning of a row as you knit in the round.

Tapestry needles

Tapestry needles, also known as yarn needles, are used to sew the knitted fabric together and weave in loose ends.

How to Knit with Double Pointed Needles For Beginners: Patterns

Once you have gathered the necessary knitting supplies, the next step is to choose an ideal knitting pattern. Ensure you know how to read patterns in knitting to achieve the desired look. Here are some beginner-friendly patterns you could knit using double-pointed needles.

    1. The Lazy Sunday Sweater pattern

Lazy sunday relaxed sweater
Image source: AllFreeKnitting

The lazy Sunday sweater pattern is perfect for beginners to learn how to knit in the round using double-pointed needles as it requires basic knitting stitches. These stitches include the stockinette and the rib stitch.

      2. Favorite Fingerless Mitts Pattern

How to knit with double pointed needles
Image source: Instructables

The favorite fingerless mitts pattern requires a simple stockinette stitch with cozy ribbed edges. You further do not have to worry about your yarn choice since this pattern is compatible with various yarns that produce the same outstanding results.

      3. Baby Moccasins Pattern

What is dpn in knitting
Image source: AllFreeKnitting

Make your baby adorable booties while practicing adding embellishments and changing colors in knitting using this fantastic baby moccasins pattern. All you need is quality knitting yarn and double-pointed needles, and you are good to go!

How to Cast on with Four Knitting Needles

Casting on refers to the process of turning the loose thread into stitches that sit perfectly onto your knitting needles. Now there are various methods to cast on when using double-pointed needles, including

    • Casting on individual needles
    • Casting on, then dispersing
    1. Casting on Individual Needles

Knit how to knit with double point needles
Image source: Yarnspirations

This casting on method requires you to cast stitches on each of the four double-pointed needles. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cast-on on each needle.

Step 1: Make a slip knot on needle one. This is the first cast-on stitch

Step 2: Cast-on as usual.

If you are working on a pattern that needs 40 cast-on stitches, then you should cast on 9 stitches so that you have 10 stitches on the first needle.

Step 3: Prepare yarn to cast on another stitch and catch it using the second needle instead of needle one. You now have one stitch on needle two. You should then cast on 9 more stitches to have 10 stitches on the second needle.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 to cast on stitches on the third and fourth needles so that you have 10 stitches on each needle before you start knitting.

      2. Casting on, Then Dispersing

This method is perfect when learning how to cast on knitting using double-pointed needles as you do not have to worry about dropping stitches or juggling too much. However, the casting on, then dispersing method may not be ideal if you are using a knitting pattern that requires more stitches than your DPN can handle.

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to cast-on stitches using the casting on, then dispersing method.

Step 1: Cast-on the desired number of stitches onto one of the four double-pointed needles

How to knit in the round with dpn
Image source: Tin Can Knits

Step 2: Slip half of the stitches onto the second needle

You should place the needle with the stitches onto your left hand and then hold the second needle with your right hand. Next, using the second needle, pull half of the stitches onto this needle to have an even number of stitches on each of the needles.

Step 3: Distribute stitches onto the rest of the needles

How to use double pointed needles in knitting
Image source: AllFreeKnitting

You should go to the right side of the second double-pointed needle and slip off half of the stitches onto the third needle. Next, move to the left side of the first needle and slide off half of the stitches onto the fourth needle.

So if you had cast on 40 stitches, then each needle should have 10 stitches on it.

Watch this video to learn how to cast on with four knitting needles.

How to Knit in the Round with Double Pointed Needles

Knitting with double pointed needles
Image source: Oak Blue Designs

How do I knit with double pointed needles?

Want to knit items with smaller circumference such as socks, cozies, and wrist warmers, to mention a few, with double-pointed needles but do not know how to join in the round? Knitting in the round with double pointed needles looks like an intimidating task to take on, but you will be surprised how easy it is once you get the hang of it. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to knit in the round with DPN.

Step 1: Cast on the required number of stitches 

You should first cast the desired number of stitches onto one of the double-pointed needles and then distribute them so that you have four or three needles holding the cast on stitches, depending on the knitting pattern.

Step 2: Place the needle with the working yarn in your right hand

How to use dpn in knitting
Image source: Dummies

You may hold the needle with the working yarn with your left hand if you prefer working with this hand.

Step 3: Insert the empty needle into the first stitch.

Keeping a high tension for the second stitch on dpns
Image Source: Nimble Needles

If you are working with three needles, take the fourth, or the fifth when working with four, and hold it in your right hand. Next, insert its tip into the first cast-on stitch on the left needle from the front to the back.

Step 4: Loop the working yarn around the tip of the right needle

You should start by tilting the needle with the working yarn towards the left needle to form a triangle when knitting with three needles and a square if you are using four needles. Next, loop the working thread around the tip of the right needle. Ensure that the working yarn drapes from the top to the other side of your needle.

Step 5: Pull the working yarn through the first stitch, then slide it off

Don’t know how to join knitting in the round using double-pointed needles? Using the tip of the right needle, pull the wrapped yarn through the first stitch. You should then let the first stitch slip off the left needle. Next, move the initial needles around to form a tight corner, then tag on the yarn to adjust it.

So, if you are working with four needles, you should now have five needles in a hexagon shape and four needles in a square shape if you started with three needles. You have now joined in the round.

Step 6: Knit across the first needle

Knit as usual until the first needle is empty and the fourth needle when working with three needles, and the fifth needle when using four needles, is full. 

Step 7: Knit across the second needle

Using the newly empty needle, knit across the stitches on your second needle. Ensure that you tighten the first stitch on the new needle to prevent laddering or gaps.

Step 8: Repeat the process until you knit across the entire row

Now it is worth noting that knitting with double-pointed needles is similar to knitting with circular needles in that you do not turn your piece. So after completing the second to the last stitch on the last needle, you should slide the stitch marker onto the right needle before knitting the last stitch. This marks the end of the first row.

Step 9: Knit the second row

Without turning or reversing your stitches, start knitting the second row. Ensure that you learn how to pick up stitches in knitting in case of a dropped stitch when using double-pointed needles.

Step 10: Continue knitting the body of your garment

Keep knitting as usual until you reach your garment’s desired length. You could learn how to change colors in knitting to decorate your garment, depending on the desired appearance. Depending on the pattern you choose for your project, learning how to increase a stitch in knitting may come in handy to achieve the desired look.

Step 11: Bind off

Don’t know how to cast off knitting on double-pointed needles? Casting off on double-pointed needles is similar to binding off on straight needles. 

To cast off, you should knit two stitches as usual. Next, push the first needle into the first stitch on the new needle. You should then use the first needle to bring the first stitch on the new needle up and over the second stitch. You should now have one stitch on the new needle.

Next, knit one more stitch as usual, then use the first needle to lift the first stitch on the new needle over the second one to have only one stitch on the needle. Repeat the sequence until you bind off all the stitches on the first needle. Continue the process until you bind off all the stitches on each double-pointed needle to complete the project.

It is worth noting that the binding off technique depends on the knitting pattern used in your project. While some patterns, such as arm warmers, require you to cast off stitches, others need you to slip off stitches onto a short piece of thread, then gather them tightly. So ensure that you know how to read knitting patterns to choose a suitable casting off method.

Watch this video to learn how to use double pointed knitting needles to cast off your project.

Step 12: Weave in The Loose Ends

You should learn how to weave in ends knitting to secure the cast edges of your garment to prevent unraveling. To weave in the loose ends of your knitting, use tapestry needles or a crochet hook.

Want a visual guide on how to use double pointed needles in knitting? Watch this video.

Conclusion

Knitting with double-pointed needles helps you create cozy baby booties, hats, socks, sweaters, and arm warmers for you and your loved ones. Like any other project, knitting with double-pointed needles may be difficult in the first trial, but it gets easier with enough practice.

To knit with double-pointed needles, you should cast stitches on each needle,  join yarn in the round, and then knit as usual. Once your garment is long enough, cast off and then weave in the loose ends to prevent unraveling. Remember to keep the knitting pattern in mind as you knit.

Did you get ideas on how to knit with double pointed needles?

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