In this blog post, we will learn everything about double-pointed needles (dpns) and see the best needles for your projects.
These knitting needles are a must-have tool in every knitter’s toolkit, especially if you want to work in the round or knit small-circumference items like gloves, socks, and hats.
With their tapered tips and seamless construction, DPNs offer precise control and versatility for intricate stitch patterns.
Everything You Need To Know About DPNs
What are double pointed needles?
DPNs are specialized knitting needles designed for working in the round and knitting small-circumference items without needing a circular needle or the magic loop method.
These needles typically come in sets of four or five, featuring tapered tips at both ends.
With DPNs, you distribute your stitches across the needles, knitting with one while the others hold the rest.
This technique eliminates seams in your projects, making it ideal for tubular shapes.
While some knitters may find them a bit challenging at first, they are a versatile tool that offers precise control for intricate stitch patterns and seamless construction in round knitting projects.
Why use double-pointed knitting needles?
Double-pointed knitting needles (DPNs) are a crucial tool for knitting in the round and working on projects with small circumferences.
They eliminate the need for seams in items like socks, gloves, mittens, and sleeves, resulting in a more professional and polished finish.
DPNs are versatile and can handle a range of stitch patterns with precision, making them ideal for intricate designs.
Their compact size also makes them portable and convenient for knitting on the go.
You can throw them in your knitting bag.
While using DPNs may seem challenging at first, they offer the knitter greater control and the ability to create seamless, tubular shapes.
How to use double pointed needles?
Here’s a general guide on how to use DPNs:
- Choose the Right Number of Needles: Ensure you have the appropriate number of DPNs according to your pattern. Most small-circumference projects use sets of four or five needles.
- Distribute Stitches: Divide your total number of stitches evenly across the DPNs. For instance, if you have 32 stitches, you might distribute them as 8 stitches on each of the four needles.
- Prepare to Knit in the Round: Hold the needle with the first set of stitches in your right hand and leave the other needles to the side. Make sure the stitches are not twisted around the needle.
- Begin Knitting: Knit the first stitch on the first DPN as you would with regular knitting needles. Be careful not to drop the stitch at the end of the needle accidentally.
- Move to the Next Needle: After completing the first needle, transfer it to your left hand and pick up the second DPN. Knit the first stitch on the second DPN. Continue this process, always knitting the first stitch on the DPN you’ve just picked up.
- Distribute Stitches Evenly: Pay attention to your stitch distribution. It’s common to have one or two extra stitches on the first needle when you start a new round. Distribute these extra stitches evenly across the DPNs by moving them to the adjacent needles.
- Avoid Laddering: To prevent laddering (loose stitches between needles), ensure that the first and last stitches on each DPN are snugly knit to the previous DPN. This helps maintain an even tension.
- Repeat Rounds: Continue knitting in the round, alternating between the DPNs, until you’ve completed the desired number of rounds for your project. Keep track of your rounds, if necessary, using a stitch marker or a row counter.
- Finishing: When you’ve finished all the rounds, you can either bind off all the stitches on one DPN or use the Kitchener stitch to graft the stitches together seamlessly.
How do you cast on multiple double-pointed needles?
Casting on multiple double-pointed needles (DPNs) is a common technique used when knitting in the round for projects like socks, mittens, and sleeves. Here’s a basic method for casting on stitches onto DPNs:
- Distribute Stitches: Before you start casting on, determine how many stitches you need for your project. Divide these stitches evenly across your DPNs. For example, if you need to cast on 40 stitches and use a set of five DPNs, you’ll distribute 8 stitches on each needle.
- Prepare One DPN: Take one of your DPNs and hold it in your right hand. Ensure the tapered end is pointing to the right.
- Make a Slip Knot: Make a slip knot using your yarn, leaving a tail of a few inches. Insert the slip knot onto the DPN and snug it up, keeping it a few inches away from the tapered tip.
- Casting On: Using your preferred cast-on method (e.g., long-tail cast-on, knitted cast-on, or any other you prefer), cast on the first batch of stitches onto the DPN, which in this example would be 8 stitches. Keep the stitches relatively close to the slip knot but not too tight to allow for knitting.
- Repeat for Each DPN: After casting on the first batch of stitches, move to the next DPN and cast on the same number of stitches (8 in this example). Continue this process until you’ve cast on all the required stitches on each DPN.
- Join in the Round: Once all stitches are cast on and distributed evenly, you can begin joining your work in the round. Be careful not to twist the stitches when joining. The slip knot you made at the beginning can be pulled out after a few rounds if necessary.
Remember that casting on using this method may leave small gaps between the DPNs, but these can easily be closed up with your working yarn as you knit the first few rounds.
Additionally, the number of stitches you cast on for each DPN depends on your project and stitch distribution, so adjust the number of stitches accordingly.
Do double pointed needles come in different lengths?
Double-pointed needles (DPNs) come in different lengths to accommodate various knitting projects.
The most common lengths for DPNs are typically 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm), 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm), and longer lengths of 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm).
The choice of DPN length depends on the specific project you’re working on and your personal preferences.
Shorter DPNs (6 to 8 inches) are ideal for small-circumference projects like socks and mittens.
They provide enough space for your stitches without the excess length getting in the way.
Medium-length DPNs (8 to 10 inches) are versatile and can work well for projects with a medium circumference, such as sleeves or larger mittens, offering flexibility without feeling too unwieldy.
Longer DPNs (10 to 12 inches) can be useful for larger projects or when you need extra space for stitch distribution.
However, extremely long DPNs can be less practical, as they may feel too cumbersome to handle.
How do I choose DPN length?
Choosing the right length for your double-pointed needles (DPNs) is essential for your knitting project, as it affects your comfort and the ease of working with your stitches.
Here are some guidelines to help you select the appropriate DPN length:
- Project Circumference: Consider the size of your knitting project. If you’re working on a project with a small circumference, such as socks or gloves, shorter DPNs (6 to 8 inches or 15 to 20 cm) are generally more comfortable and practical. They provide enough space for your stitches without extra needle length getting in the way.
- Number of Stitches: The number of stitches you need to accommodate can also influence your choice of DPN length. If you have many stitches for the circumference, longer DPNs may be more convenient, but they can feel unwieldy with fewer stitches.
- Personal Comfort: Personal preference plays a significant role. Some knitters prefer shorter DPNs for most small-circumference projects, while others prefer longer ones for added flexibility and space.
- Project Type: The type of small-circumference project you’re working on can also influence your decision. For instance, sock knitters often prefer shorter DPNs, while mitten or glove knitters may opt for longer ones, which can be more versatile.
- Trial and Error: Trying different lengths and assessing your comfort as you knit is the best way to determine what works for you. Over time, you’ll develop a preference based on your knitting style and project needs.
- Stitch Distribution: If your project involves distributing stitches unevenly across your DPNs (such as a mitten thumb gusset), consider how that affects your comfort. Longer DPNs may make this easier, but you can always redistribute stitches if necessary.
What is the best length for double pointed needles?
The best length for double-pointed needles (DPNs) depends on the specific project you’re working on, your personal preferences, and your comfort.
Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the best DPN length for your knitting project:
- Small-Circumference Projects: For projects with a small circumference, such as socks, mittens, and gloves, shorter DPNs ranging from 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) are typically more comfortable and practical. They provide sufficient space for your stitches without the excess length of longer DPNs getting in the way.
- Medium-Circumference Projects: For projects with a medium circumference, like sleeves, longer DPNs around 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) may work well. These lengths provide more flexibility and room for your stitches while still allowing you to work comfortably.
- Large-Circumference Projects: Longer DPNs, such as 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm), can be helpful for projects with a larger circumference or when you need extra flexibility for stitch distribution. However, very long DPNs can feel unwieldy, so it’s essential to strike a balance.
In what materials do DPNs come?
Double-pointed needles (DPNs) are available in many different materials to suit various preferences.
Some typical materials used for DPNs include:
- Wood: Wooden DPNs are famous for their warmth, lightweight feel, and smooth finish. They are comfortable to work with and can help prevent stitches from sliding too easily.
- Bamboo: Bamboo needles are similar to wooden needles in terms of warmth and comfort. They are often chosen for their flexibility and ability to grip the yarn slightly, which can be especially helpful when working with slippery yarns.
- Metal: Metal needles DPNs are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel. They are known for their durability, smoothness, and allowing stitches to slide easily with less friction, making them a good choice for faster knitting.
- Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber DPNs are lightweight, strong, and have a smooth surface. They are a popular choice for knitters who prefer a combination of durability and flexibility.
- Plastic: Plastic DPNs are affordable and come in various sizes and colors. They are suitable for beginners and work well with various types of yarn.
- Specialty Materials: Some DPNs are made from glass, ceramic, or exotic wood. These can be chosen for their unique aesthetics or specific qualities that cater to individual preferences.
The choice of material depends on your knitting style, the feel you prefer in your hands, and the type of yarn you are using.
Each material has its advantages and can enhance your knitting experience in different ways.
How many DPNs should I use?
The number of double-pointed needles (DPNs) you should use depends on the specific knitting project, the stitch pattern, and the distribution of stitches.
Generally, DPNs are sold in sets of four or five needles.
Here are some guidelines for determining how many DPNs to use:
- Basic Rule: In many small-circumference knitting projects, it’s common to use a set of four or five DPNs. The choice between four or five DPNs often depends on your comfort and the number of stitches.
- Even Distribution: When using four DPNs, you’ll generally divide your stitches evenly between three of the needles while working with the fourth. For five DPNs, distribute the stitches evenly among four needles, while the fifth serves as your working needle. Even stitch distribution helps maintain tension and avoids laddering (loose stitches between needles).
- Odd Stitch Counts: When your total stitch count is not divisible by four or five, you may need to distribute stitches unevenly among your DPNs. For example, if you have 21 stitches, you can distribute 7 stitches on three needles, and the fourth DPN holds the remaining stitches.
- Stitch Pattern: Consider the stitch pattern and any stitch markers used in your project. Some patterns may specify using an additional DPN for specific stitch patterns or techniques.
- Personal Comfort: Your comfort and knitting style play a role. Some knitters prefer using four DPNs for small-circumference projects because it feels more manageable, while others prefer the extra DPN for even distribution.
- Project Type: The type of project can influence your choice. For instance, sock knitters often use four DPNs for comfort, while mitten knitters might use five for flexibility.
DPNS Vs. Straight Knitting Needles
What is the difference between single point and double point needles?
Single-point needles, also known as straight needles, are used for flat knitting and consist of a pair of needles with a point at one end and a knob or stopper at the other.
They are ideal for creating flat pieces like scarves, blankets, and panels.
In contrast, double-pointed needles (DPNs) come in sets of four or five, each with tapered points at both ends, designed for knitting in the round.
DPNs are used primarily for small-circumference projects, such as socks, mittens, and sleeves, and allow you to create seamless, tubular shapes.
While single-point needles are versatile for various projects, DPNs are tailored explicitly for knitting in the round and working on tubular items, eliminating the need for seams in these small-circumference projects.
Should I use single or double pointed needles?
Whether you should use single-point or double-point needles depends on your knitting project and personal preferences.
Single-point needles are well-suited for flat knitting.
They are versatile and easy to handle, making them an excellent choice for beginners and projects that require simple back-and-forth knitting.
On the other hand, double-pointed needles (DPNs) are designed for knitting in the round.
The choice between the two comes down to the nature of your project and your familiarity with each type of needle, so consider your specific needs and comfort when making your decision.
Dpns Vs. Circular Knitting Needles
What is the difference between circular needles and double point needles?
Circular needles consist of two needle tips connected by a flexible cable and are versatile tools for flat and in-the-round knitting.
They come in two types: fixed circular needles and interchangeable knitting needles.
The fixed ones you can find are sold in a pair with the cord, and interchangeable needles usually come in sets with different sizes of needles and cords.
They are especially well-suited for larger projects, such as sweaters and shawls, where the cable can comfortably hold a significant number of stitches.
In contrast, double-point needles (DPNs) are individual needles with points at both ends, typically sold in sets of four or five.
DPNs are used primarily for small-circumference knitting projects.
They distribute stitches across multiple needles, allowing precise control of intricate patterns and creating a seamless finish for small-circumference items.
While circular needles are known for their convenience and adaptability,
DPNs excel in situations requiring even stitch distribution and control in fine-gauge work.
The choice between the two depends on your project’s size, type, and personal knitting style.
Can you use double pointed needles instead of circulars?
Yes, you can use double-point knitting needles (DPNs) as a substitute for circular needles in many cases, but it depends on the project and your preference.
DPNs are commonly used for small-circumference knitting.
If you are knitting a small project in the round and you have enough DPNs to distribute your stitches evenly, you can certainly use them.
However, circular needles provide the convenience of a flexible cable that can hold a larger number of stitches and make it easier to knit in the round.
If using DPNs, you may need to manage more needle changes and take extra care to prevent ladders between the needles. So, while it’s possible to use DPNs in place of circulars, they may not be as efficient or as comfortable for all projects.
Is it better to knit in the round with fixed circular or double-pointed needles?
Regarding knitting in the round, the choice between fixed circular needles and double-pointed needles (DPNs) can be a matter of personal preference and project requirements.
Fixed circular needles are great for larger projects like sweaters, hats, or blankets, as the flexible cable connecting the needles allows for a continuous loop and can help reduce the risk of laddering in your knitting.
They are also versatile, as you can use them for small and large-circumference projects by selecting the appropriate cable length.
On the other hand, DPNs are traditional for smaller circumferences, such as socks, mittens, and the tops of hats.
They don’t have a cable, which can be more comfortable for some knitters, and are great for projects where it can be challenging to fit all the stitches onto a circular needle.
Many knitters prefer to have both on hand to choose the best tool for the job, and experimenting with both can help you determine which one you like.
More About Knitting Needles
If you are a new maker and need help with the knitting basics, check out the knitting lessons here – Knitting Lessons (With Video Tutorials).
There, you will find tutorial posts for all the different knitting techniques a newbie needs to know.
Including how to cast on, the basic knit stitches, the stockinette stitch, the rib stitch, the garter stitch, a list of knitting abbreviations, and more.
And if you need more video tutorials, check out my YouTube channel here – Handy Little Me – YouTube.
The Best Double Pointed Knitting Needles
1. Pony Bamboo Double Point Needles 20cm (Set of 5)
The Pony Bamboo Double Point Needles is a knitting needle set of 5 high-quality needles with tapered tips made from premium bamboo wood.
With a length of 20cm, these needles are ideal for smaller projects.
Their smooth surface and lightweight design provide a comfortable grip, while the natural bamboo material offers durability and longevity for all your knitting projects.
2. Addi Colibri Double Point Needles 23cm
The Addi Colibri double-point needles are a top-quality set of needles that come in various vibrant colors.
They are made from lightweight aluminum and feature a unique construction that makes them ideal for intricate stitch patterns.
With their perfectly tapered tips, these needles offer the knitter precise control, making them the best option for knitting socks and other small-circumference projects.
3. Addi FlipStix Double Point Needles 20cm
The Addi FlipStix Double Point Needles, with a length of 20 cm, are versatile and easy-to-use knitting tools.
They feature a unique design with different colors on each end, allowing you to switch between needle sizes easily.
Made of high-quality aluminum, these metal knitting needles are lightweight and durable, perfect for all your round projects.
4. Addi Aluminum Double Point Needles 15cm
The Addi Aluminum Double Point Needles 15cm are high-quality, lightweight double-pointed needles designed for small-circumference knitting projects.
With their smooth and polished surface, these needles provide excellent stitch control and glide through the yarn with ease.
They come in a set of five, making them perfect for intricate stitch patterns and seamless construction in round knitting projects.
5. HiyaHiya Bamboo Double Pointed Needles 8″ 20cm (Set of 5)
The HiyaHiya Bamboo Double Pointed Needles 8″ 20cm (Set of 5) are a great choice for knitters who prefer working with natural materials.
These needles are made from high-quality bamboo, which provides a smooth and comfortable knitting experience.
With their precise tips and seamless construction, these needles are perfect for intricate stitch patterns and small-circumference projects like cuffs, hats, and sleeves.
6. Rowan Double Point Needle – 20 cm
The Rowan Double Point Needle is a high-quality knitting needle for small-circumference projects.
Featuring a smooth surface and tapered tips, these needles offer precise control and versatility for intricate stitch patterns.
With a length of 20 cm (8in), they are the perfect size for knitting gloves, socks, and other small items.
7. Craftsy 8 Inch Silverlite Double Pointed Needles
Craftsy 8-inch Silverlite Double Pointed Needles are a great option for knitters working on small projects.
These needles are made of lightweight aluminum, which makes them easy to handle.
The smooth surface allows the stitches to slide easily, and the tapered tips make it easy to pick up stitches.
These needles are suitable for a range of yarn weights and are a great choice for beginners and experienced knitters.
8. Addi Plastic Double Point Needles 20cm
Addi Plastic Double Point Needles 20cm are a great option for knitters who prefer working with plastic knitting needles.
These needles are lightweight and smooth, allowing for easy knitting and gliding of stitches.
The 20cm length is perfect for small-circumference projects like socks, gloves, and hats, and the set comes with five needles, providing ample space to distribute stitches.
These needles are great for many different projects.
9. Knitter’s Pride KP150303 Ginger Double Pointed Needles Set-Socks Kit
The Knitter’s Pride Ginger Double Pointed Needles Set-Socks Kit is an ideal set for knitters who love to work on small circumference projects like socks, gloves, and mittens.
The set also comes with stitch markers and a needle gauge, making it a complete kit for sock knitting.
It’s an excellent gift for a sock knitter.
The case provides easy storage.
10. Lykke Blush Double Pointed Needles Gift Sets (Small US 0-5 Set in Magenta Basketweave Pouch)
The Lykke Blush Double Pointed Needles Gift Sets are a perfect choice for knitters who love luxury and functionality in their tools.
This set comes with a range of needle sizes, from US 0 to 5, all in a beautiful magenta basketweave pouch.
The needles are made of high-quality birch wood and feature a smooth finish and tapered points for precise control.
The Blush set is not only functional but also stylish, making it a great gift for yourself or a fellow knitter.
11. Addi FlexiFlips Double Pointed Knitting Needles (2.25 mm)
If you’re looking for a reliable set of double-pointed needles, consider the Addi FlexiFlips Double Pointed Knitting Needles.
These needles feature a unique design that combines the flexibility of circular needles with the convenience of double-pointed needles.
The flexible double-point knitting needles are made of high-quality brass and coated with a smooth, snag-free finish, ensuring that your yarn glides effortlessly over them.
12. Prym Ergonomics 8″ Double Point Set, Size US 1, 2, 4 & 6 Knitting Needles, Assorted 20 Count
The Prym Ergonomics 8″ Double Point Set is an excellent choice for knitters who want a comfortable and ergonomic knitting experience.
This set includes four needle sizes – US 1, 2, 4, and 6 – with a total of 20 needles.
The needles are made of high-quality metal and feature a polished surface, which ensures smooth and effortless knitting.
It’s a great choice for your first pair of socks.
13. Lantern Moon Double Point Needles
Lantern Moon double point needles are high-quality knitting needles that offer precise control and a smooth knitting experience.
Made from sustainable hardwoods, they come in various sizes and lengths, making them ideal for various knitting projects.
The tapered tips and smooth surface of Lantern Moon needles make them perfect for intricate stitch patterns and prevent yarn from snagging or splitting.
Whether you’re knitting socks, gloves, or hats, Lantern Moon knitting needles are a reliable and durable option to add to your collection.