How to Knit in the Round with DPN

How to Knit in the Round with DPN

If you’re an avid knitter looking to expand your skills, learning how to knit in the round with double-pointed needles (dpn) is a great next step. Knitting with dpn allows you to create seamless, circular projects, such as hats, socks, and sleeves. While it may seem intimidating at first, with a little practice, you’ll be able to master this technique and unlock a whole new world of knitting possibilities.

The use of dpn may seem unfamiliar if you’re used to knitting with straight needles, but don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Dpn are long, thin needles that come in sets of four or five. They allow you to hold your stitches in a circle while you work. With dpn, you can easily create small, tight-knit stitches, perfect for projects that require stretchiness and durability.

To get started, you’ll need some basic knitting knowledge, such as how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off. Familiarize yourself with these techniques if you haven’t already, as they form the foundation of every knitting project. Once you’re comfortable with these skills, you can dive into the world of knitting in the round with dpn.

Pro Tip: When working with dpn, it’s essential to keep your tension even to ensure your stitches are consistent throughout your project. Take your time and practice maintaining an even tension as you go.

One of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to join your stitches in the round. This is done by casting on the desired number of stitches onto one dpn. Then, grab your second dpn and knit the first stitch of your cast-on row onto it. This will connect your stitches in a circle. Repeat this process with the rest of your dpn, distributing your stitches evenly.

Understanding Double Pointed Needles (DPN)

In knitting, double pointed needles (DPN) are used to work in the round. They are essential tools for projects such as socks, hats, and sleeves where you need to knit in a tubular shape or work on a small circumference.

Features of Double Pointed Needles:

  • DPNs typically come in sets of four or five needles. They are usually made of wood, metal, or plastic, and they come in various lengths and sizes.
  • Each needle has a pointed end on one side and a blunt end on the other.
  • DPNs are straight needles with a point on each end. This design allows you to distribute the stitches evenly across the needles and work on a smaller section at a time.

Working with Double Pointed Needles:

When knitting with DPNs, you’ll start with three needles and use the fourth needle as the working needle.

  1. Cast on: Begin by casting on the required number of stitches onto one needle.
  2. Distributing stitches: Once you have cast on, evenly distribute the stitches onto three needles. For example, if you have cast on 24 stitches, you can place 8 stitches on each needle.
  3. Joining in the round: Hold the needle with the first stitch in your right hand and the needle with the last stitch in your left hand.
  4. Knitting in the round: Use the fourth needle as your working needle and start knitting. As you complete each needle, transfer the stitches onto the next needle in the round.
  5. Repeat: Continue knitting in the round, distributing the stitches across the needles, until your project is complete.

Tips for Working with Double Pointed Needles:

  • Use stitch markers to mark the beginning of each round.
  • Be careful not to drop stitches off the needles as you work.
  • Work slowly and be patient, especially if you’re a beginner. It may take some time to get comfortable with working on multiple needles.


Double pointed needles are versatile tools that allow you to knit in the round and create unique seamless projects. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon master the art of working with DPNs and be able to take on more complex knitting patterns.

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles for Knitting in the Round

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles for Knitting in the Round

When it comes to knitting in the round, choosing the right yarn and needles is essential for a successful project. Here are some factors to consider when selecting your materials:


  • Fiber: Consider the type of fiber you want to use for your project. Some common yarn fibers include wool, cotton, acrylic, and blends. Each fiber has its own characteristics that can affect the drape, warmth, and durability of your knitted item.
  • Weight: The weight of the yarn refers to its thickness. Yarns can be categorized into different weights, such as lace, fingering, sport, worsted, and bulky. Choose a weight that is appropriate for your pattern and provides the desired outcome.
  • Color and Texture: The color and texture of the yarn can greatly influence the overall look of your project. Consider the color palette, variegation, and texture of the yarn to ensure it complements your design.
  • Yardage: Check the yardage or meterage of the yarn to make sure you have enough for your project. This is especially important when knitting in the round, as you may need additional yarn compared to flat knitting.


  • Type: For knitting in the round, you will need either double-pointed needles (DPNs), circular needles, or a set of interchangeable circular needles. DPNs are commonly used for small circumference knitting, such as socks or sleeves, while circular needles are suitable for larger projects, like hats or sweaters.
  • Size: The size of the needles will determine the gauge or tension of your stitches. Check the recommended needle size in your pattern and adjust if necessary to achieve the correct gauge. Keep in mind that different yarns may require different needle sizes to achieve the desired fabric.
  • Material: Needles can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic. Each material has its own feel and properties. Consider your personal preference, as well as the yarn you are using, when choosing the needle material.

It’s important to experiment with different yarns and needles to find the combination that works best for you. Consider the characteristics and requirements of your project, as well as your own knitting style and preferences. With the right yarn and needles, you’ll be on your way to creating beautiful knitted items in the round.

Casting On and Joining Stitches in the Round

When knitting in the round with double-pointed needles (dpn), the first step is to cast on the desired number of stitches. This can be done using any cast-on method you prefer, such as the long-tail cast-on or the knitted cast-on.

Once you have cast on your stitches, the next step is to join them in the round. To do this, hold the dpns with the right side of the work facing you and make sure all the stitches are positioned on the same needle. Then, take the empty needle and begin knitting the first stitch from the first needle using the working yarn. This will create a continuous loop of stitches.

After joining the stitches, it is important to ensure that they are not twisted. To do this, hold the cast-on edge in your hand and spread the stitches evenly around the needles. Make sure all the stitches are oriented in the same direction before proceeding to the next round.

One way to check if the stitches are not twisted is to lay your work flat on a table or flat surface. The cast-on edge should form a complete circle without any twists or gaps.

Once you have cast on and joined your stitches, you can begin working in the round according to your knitting pattern. You may find it helpful to place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round to help you keep track of your progress.

When knitting in the round with dpns, it is common for the first few rounds to be a bit tight and difficult to work with. This is because the stitches are close together on the needles. With practice, your tension will become more even and the knitting process will become easier.

Working the First Round with DPN

Once you have cast on your stitches onto the double-pointed needles (DPN), it’s time to start working the first round of your project. This can be a bit tricky at first, but with practice, it will become easier.

Step 1: Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand, and take another DPN in your left hand. Make sure the working yarn is in the back.

Step 2: With your right hand needle, insert it into the first stitch on the left-hand needle, going from left to right. Make sure to go through the front of the stitch.

Step 3: Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle, going in a counterclockwise direction.

Step 4: Use the right-hand needle to pull the wrapped yarn through the stitch, creating a new loop on the right-hand needle.

Step 5: Slide the stitch off the left-hand needle, transferring it onto the right-hand needle. Now, the stitch you just worked is on the right-hand needle, and the next stitch to be worked is on the left-hand needle.

Step 6: Repeat steps 2-5 until all the stitches on the left-hand needle have been worked. You have now completed one round of knitting in the round.

If you are knitting a pattern that requires a specific stitch pattern, make sure to follow the instructions provided. Some patterns may require you to work certain stitches in a specific order or to repeat a pattern multiple times in each round.

It may take some time to get used to working with double-pointed needles and knitting in the round, but with practice, you will become more comfortable. Remember to take it slow and focus on each stitch as you go.

Shaping and Increasing Stitches in the Round

When knitting in the round with double-pointed needles (dpn), it is necessary to shape your work by increasing or decreasing stitches. This allows you to create different patterns, shapes, and sizes in your knitting projects.

To increase stitches in the round, you can use various techniques such as:

  • Kfb (Knit Front and Back) – This is a simple increase where you knit into the front and back loops of the same stitch, creating an extra stitch.
  • M1 (Make One) – This is an invisible increase where you lift the bar between stitches and knit into it, creating a new stitch.

These increase techniques can be used interchangeably depending on the desired effect and the pattern instructions. Always refer to your specific pattern to determine which increase method to use.

When shaping your work, you may need to increase stitches at specific points. This can be done by placing markers to indicate the increase points and following the pattern instructions. Some common shaping techniques include:

  • Inc Rnd (Increase Round) – This is an instruction to increase stitches evenly distributed across a round. It may involve increasing a specific number of stitches at regular intervals or increasing a set number of stitches between markers.
  • Inc at Each End – This is an instruction to increase stitches at the beginning and end of every round. It is often used to create a gradually widening shape.
  • Inc at Specified Points – This is an instruction to increase stitches at specific points indicated in the pattern. The pattern will typically provide guidance on where and how to make the increases.

By following the pattern instructions and using the appropriate increase techniques, you can shape your work and create various designs while knitting in the round with dpn.

Decreasing Stitches in the Round with DPN

Decreasing stitches in the round with double-pointed needles (DPN) is an essential skill in knitting. It allows you to shape your projects and create various designs. In this guide, we will walk you through the different decreasing techniques you can use with DPN.

1. Knit Two Together (k2tog)

One common decrease stitch used in knitting with DPN is the knit two together (k2tog). It is a right-leaning decrease that reduces two stitches into one. To perform this decrease:

  1. Insert the right needle from left to right into the next two stitches on the left needle.
  2. Wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right needle.
  3. Draw the right needle and yarn through both stitches, slipping them off the left needle.

2. Slip, Slip, Knit (ssk)

Another essential decrease stitch is the slip, slip, knit (ssk). It is a left-leaning decrease that reduces one stitch from each of the two stitches. To perform this decrease:

  1. Slip the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit.
  2. Slip the second stitch on the left needle as if to knit.
  3. Insert the left needle into the fronts of both slipped stitches.
  4. Wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right needle.
  5. Draw the right needle and yarn through both stitches, slipping them off the left needle.

3. Central Double Decrease (cdd)

The central double decrease (cdd) is a decrease stitch that leans neither left nor right. It reduces two stitches into one while maintaining a symmetrical appearance. To perform this decrease:

  1. Insert the right needle through the front loop of the second stitch on the left needle, knitting it.
  2. Without removing the stitches from the left needle, insert the right needle into the front loop of the first stitch on the left needle, knitting it as well.
  3. Slide both stitches off the left needle.

4. Choosing the Right Decrease

4. Choosing the Right Decrease

When deciding which decrease to use, consider the design and shape you want to achieve. Knit two together (k2tog) and slip, slip, knit (ssk) are often used for decreasing evenly on either side of a project, while central double decrease (cdd) is typically utilized for symmetrical shaping.

It’s essential to pay attention to the specific pattern instructions you are following, as different patterns may require different decreases in certain situations.

Remember to practice these decreasing stitches on a swatch or small project to master them before using them in your larger knitting projects. With practice, you will become comfortable with these techniques and be able to create beautifully shaped knitting projects with DPN.

Binding Off and Finishing the Project

Once you have completed your knitting project in the round using double-pointed needles, it’s time to finish it off and bind off your stitches. Follow these steps to properly bind off and finish your project:

  1. Cut the yarn: Start by cutting the yarn, leaving a tail that is about 6-8 inches long. This tail will be used for weaving in the ends later.
  2. Knit the first two stitches: Take your right-hand needle and insert it into the first stitch on the left-hand needle as if to knit. Knit this stitch, then knit the next stitch as well.
  3. Pass the first stitch over: Insert your left-hand needle into the first stitch on the right-hand needle, lift it up and over the second stitch, and let it slip off the needle. You have now bound off one stitch.
  4. Knit the next stitch and repeat: Knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle and then pass the previous stitch over it, just as you did in the previous step. Continue knitting one stitch and then passing the previous stitch over until you have bound off all the stitches.
  5. Weave in the ends: Thread the tail of yarn onto a tapestry needle and use it to weave in the loose ends of yarn. Insert the needle into the back of a stitch and weave it in and out of the fabric for several inches. Trim any excess yarn.
  6. Block your project: If necessary, block your project to give it a polished finish. This may involve wetting the fabric, gently stretching it into shape, and allowing it to dry.

Congratulations! You have successfully bound off and finished your knitting project in the round with double-pointed needles. Your project is now ready to be used or gifted.

Tips and Tricks for Knitting in the Round with DPN

  • Use stitch markers: Marking the beginning of each round with stitch markers can help you keep track of your progress and avoid mistakes.
  • Practice with smaller projects first: If you’re new to knitting in the round with double-pointed needles (DPN), it’s a good idea to start with smaller projects such as hats or mittens to gain confidence and get used to the technique.
  • Use four or five DPNs: Using four or five DPNs instead of just three can make it easier to divide your stitches evenly and prevent ladders from forming between needles.
  • Arrange your stitches evenly: Distribute your stitches evenly across your DPNs before you start knitting, ensuring that no one needle has significantly more or fewer stitches than the others.
  • Avoid tangling: Be mindful of your DPNs and make sure they don’t get tangled as you work. You can try using a rubber band or a point protector to secure the ends of your needles when you’re not actively knitting with them.
  • Manage tension: Pay attention to your tension as you’re knitting in the round with DPNs. It’s easy for your tension to become tighter or looser when using multiple needles, so practice keeping an even tension throughout your work.
  • Knit tightly at the joins: To avoid gaps or loose stitches at the join between DPNs, you may need to knit the first few stitches of each needle slightly tighter.
  • Use a stitch holder: If you need to put your work down between rounds, consider using a stitch holder or a spare DPN to hold your stitches in place, so they don’t accidentally slip off the needles.
  • Take breaks: Knitting in the round with DPNs can be a bit fiddly, so take breaks when you need to. Stretch your hands and fingers regularly to prevent fatigue or strain.


What are dpns?

Double-pointed needles (dpns) are knitting needles with points on both ends, typically used for knitting in the round.

How do I choose the right size of dpns?

The size of the dpns you need to use depends on the gauge specified in your knitting pattern. Typically, you can use the same size dpns as the main needle size specified in the pattern.

Can I use circular needles instead of dpns?

Yes, you can use circular needles instead of dpns for knitting in the round. Simply use the magic loop technique or the traveling loop technique to accommodate the smaller circumference of your project.

What projects are suitable for knitting in the round with dpns?

Knitting in the round with dpns is commonly used for projects with smaller circumferences, such as socks, hats, mittens, and sleeves.

How many dpns do I need for knitting in the round?

The number of dpns you need depends on the pattern you are following and the circumference of your project. Most patterns recommend using either four or five dpns.

Can I use dpns for flat knitting?

While dpns are primarily used for knitting in the round, you can also use them for flat knitting. Simply knit back and forth on the dpns as you would with regular straight needles.

Are dpns difficult to use?

Using dpns may require a bit of practice, especially if you are new to knitting in the round. However, with some patience and perseverance, you can quickly get the hang of it.


DPNs aka Double Pointed Needles – a knitting in the round basics tutorial

How to Join Double Pointed Needles in the round – Beginner Knitting Tutorial

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