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Amish_Ninja's avatar

How to knit with double pointed knitting needles?

Asked by Amish_Ninja (225points) September 14th, 2008

I’ve been longing to learn how to knit with these bad boys! Only thing is, I have yet to find someone that knows how to do this that lives around me, or a good detailed online guide on how to do it. I can’t view videos on my computer, or I would already be knitting. Help?

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24 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The best way is to watch someone. Is there a wool/knitting store near you? The things you can knit are limited due to cumbersomeness of having too many stitches to work with. Socks and sweater sleeves work well. When you want to knit a sweater with no seams, you are better off with a round needle.

I know that is not much help. My grandmother taught me when I was eight..The non-video online instructions are more confusing than anything. (Check out your local church; there are usually knitters among the older members of the congregation.)

Amish_Ninja's avatar

The closest thing I have close to me is a regular old craft store. I’m Agnostic as well, so the church won’t work, heh. I’m planning on knitting a stuffed animal, and there’s only instruction for dpkn.

Melonking's avatar

How do they have 2 points?

greylady's avatar

You could try a stocking hat. What size double ended needles do you have? You can cast on the number of stitches you need onto straight needles, then knit 1/3 onto each of 3 of the double ended ones. Then start knitting with the 4th needle at the end of the yard connected to the skein or ball. Just knit around and around, or add in the pattern according to the book or pattern you are using.

Amish_Ninja's avatar

It says to use 4 dpkn, size 8. Thanks greylady, but I think I’d be better off going to a craft store and see how to do it, hands on.

SuperMouse's avatar

The best way I can think of to describe it is knitting in circle – if that makes sense. You knit exactly the same as you knit with only two, but instead of switching back and forth between needles, you go around and around between the three. I must agree with Gail, it is something that can best be learned by watching someone do it.

greylady's avatar
Yes, it is better to have someone show you if you are not used to following printed directions. It isn’t hard, so don’t worry about it. Just take your needles, yarn and pattern with you. size 8 is good to work with- not too small, and you can use them (or circular needle) for lots of projects.

cooksalot's avatar

Those videos are great.

loser's avatar


gailcalled's avatar

Our asker said:“I can’t view videos on my computer, or I would already be knitting. Help?”

Unless you are knitting a tube, the problem with the dps is that if you are decreasing or increasing, you need a stitch marker that travels. You have to make sure you add a stitch or K2together at the same place. Otherwise you get something that only Alf could wear. (He is probably in my mittens as we speak.)

Comedian's avatar

ooohhhhh….for me, double pointed is the hardest. I stick to circular and regular needles

gailcalled's avatar

@Comedian: Do you or have you ever knitted socks? Aside from the fact that they are usually so lumpy as to be unwearable, it is impossible to do on other than three dps.

Comedian's avatar

No. I mostly knit scarves and hats. But if I’m feeling really dangerous, I’ll try for mittens. Haven’t tried socks yet. I heard it’s pretty hard.

gailcalled's avatar

Just requires paying attention so you can’t knit and go to the movies. I made a pair of argyle socks for my father when I was 13. After he died, over thirty years later, we found the socks in the original gift box. My sister wore them for a while as a joke. I thought they were stunning and the glass of fashion.

Comedian's avatar

True that for the paying attention lol. I’ll try socks sometime.

cyndyh's avatar

@Amish: A good pattern will talk you through starting with double pointed needles. If you’re working on something small you really may not be able to use circular needles instead. So, if your pattern specifies double pointed needles (like most small stuffed animal patterns will) then go with that and don’t confuse things by getting a substitute.

So, here’s the difference. In regular knitting with single pointed needles, you cast on to needle 1 and knit the stitches off of needle 1 with needle 2. Then you turn and knit the stitches off of needle 2 with needle 1. On and on and on.

The basic idea with double pointed needles is that you’ll cast on needles 1,2,3 if you have a 4 needle set. (Usually you’ll cast on an equal number to each needle but sometimes a pattern will tell you to space your stitches differently. Space them like the pattern tells you to if it does.) You’ll have a needle that starts off empty. You’ll start knitting off needle 1 with that last empty needle you have. Then with the newly empty needle you’ll knit the stitches off of needle 2, then knit the stitches of needle 3 with the latest emptied needle, and then 1, and then 2, etc.

At the very first actual stitch you make (not the casting on, but the knitting) you should have a circle. If you don’t then you’ve done something wrong.

Many small items like socks are easier with 5 double pointed needles. If you end up using these, then just extend the steps above to add a needle 4 after needle 3.

I hope this helps. Cheers!

greylady's avatar
Here is a place for you sock knitters to do both socks at once. Learning this is going to be my winter project, though I have knitted socks the “old” way and it is not that hard.
Hand knitted socks seem to be “in” again , especially with that new variegated yarn that makes itself into stripes.

cyndyh's avatar

@Greylady: The two at a time socks is really a cool idea and I love the book. I’ve made several pairs the old-fashioned way and recently got this book to try the 2-at-a-time method. Then I don’t have to make little notes about decisions made on the first sock, and I don’t have to count how many rows I did between the ribbing and the heel flap or how long I repeated a certain pattern, etc. I haven’t finished a pair this way, but I have one started. It’s not as hard as it might seem. If you’ve made socks before, you’ll just get this in an afternoon.

I love it, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner. Think of how hard that would be for someone who doesn’t see yet how to use double pointed needles. Yikes!

I’d love to hear about how this goes for you this winter. I’ve fallen for superwash wools, and been getting the whole family ready for winter. :^>

greylady's avatar
Here is a site for knitters to get good deals on yarn. I live nearly in the middle of nowhere, so if anyone likes unusual yarn, this is a good place to check.

Thanks, cyndyh. The book looks very good. I keep doing that also, change something or adjust in one sock or mitten then have to keep writing down the changes for the other one. This should solve that and make them come out more even. You are right that socks are not a good beginner item, but stocking caps are easy enough and you can use either circular or double ended needles. There are lots of free patterns if you google “knitting patterns” or “knitted caps”, etc.

cooksalot's avatar

Ok the next best thing if you don’t have a way to see video is to go to the library and get the Readers Digest Book of Needle Crafting. (I think that’s what it was called) It is the best, and I mean the best for learning from. Very detailed with excellent pictures and sketches. Even pictures of what it should look like if you did it right and if you got something wrong what went wrong. I have 2 of these books because I’m always losing one and they are great to have around.

cyndyh's avatar

@greylady: Thanks for the link I’ll definitely have a look at them soon. I’ve recently been ordering from knitpicks. They have different sample packs every so often. Recently, I saw a sock sampler I like and a lace sampler.

Yes, I’d definitely knit a cap before I’d attempt socks. But I’d also suggest people attempt socks the old-fashioned way before attempting the two-at-a-time method. I think it’s pretty easy if you’ve made socks before, but if you’re trying to keep track of all the sock parts and the two-at-a-time method at the same time, you’re likely to get lost and frustrated fast. That’s what I meant about not recommending it for a beginner.

I also think the smaller portions of caps and toes of socks are easier for someone new to circular knitting to manage on double pointed needles than on the circular needles because of all the shifting to get a few stitches working. It just seems trickier than it needs to be when someone’s new to using them.

greylady's avatar

Yes, cindyh, you are correct on all points! First a scarf, then stocking cap, then mittens, then socks. And then you are ready for winter! – and ready for any kind of knitting or knitting pattern. Thanks, too, for the link.

cwilbur's avatar

This really is something that’s almost impossible to explain in words alone, but is trivial to demonstrate in person or in pictures. If you can’t access, your best bet is to find a knitting circle (ask at the public library) or yarn store near you.

@gail: Indeed, you can knit socks with two circular (flexible) needles, or with one very long circular needle. Some people prefer those techniques to double points, but I am not one of them.

cyndyh's avatar

No problem, greylady. I would still really enjoy hearing about your projects as they come along. Cheers!

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