How to knit on double pointed needles

How to knit on double pointed needles

Knitting on double pointed needles can be a bit intimidating for beginners, but with a little practice, it can open up a whole new world of knitting possibilities. Double pointed needles, or DPNs, are used for knitting projects that are too small to fit on a regular circular needle, like socks, gloves, and small toys. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of knitting on double pointed needles, from casting on to binding off.

To start, you will need a set of double pointed needles and a small amount of yarn in your chosen color. It’s important to choose a yarn that is suitable for the project you have in mind, as different projects require different weights and fiber contents. Once you have your materials ready, you can begin casting on. Depending on the pattern you are following, you may need to cast on a certain number of stitches in a specific way. Make sure to follow the instructions provided in your pattern.

Once you have cast on your stitches, you will need to divide them evenly onto your double pointed needles. Most patterns will specify how many stitches to place on each needle, but if not, you can divide them as evenly as possible. It’s important to keep in mind that you will be working in the round, so the number of stitches on each needle should be the same.

With your stitches evenly divided, you can now join them in the round. This is done by slipping the first stitch from the first needle onto the last needle, being careful not to twist your stitches. This will create a loop that connects your stitches and allows you to work in the round. From here, you can begin knitting your project, following the pattern instructions and using the double pointed needles as you would regular knitting needles.

Knitting on double pointed needles may take some getting used to, but with practice and a little patience, it can become a valuable skill in your knitting toolbox. So go ahead, give it a try, and see what you can create with this versatile technique!

Materials You Will Need:

  • A set of double pointed needles (DPNs) in the appropriate size for your project
  • Yarn in the desired color and weight for your project
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • Stitch markers
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Pattern or instructions for the project

Casting On:

To begin knitting on double pointed needles, you will first need to cast on your stitches. There are several ways to cast on, but the long-tail cast on is a popular choice for many knitters. Here is how you can cast on using the long-tail method:

  1. First, make a slipknot by creating a loop with your yarn and pulling the tail end through it. Leave a long enough tail to comfortably work with.
  2. Hold one of the double pointed needles in your dominant hand and place the slipknot onto the needle.
  3. Using your other hand, hold the needle with the slipknot in place.
  4. Take the working yarn (the yarn end attached to the ball) and wrap it around your thumb and forefinger.
  5. Insert the needle into the loop formed by the yarn on your thumb.
  6. With the needle, go under the yarn on your forefinger and pull it through the loop on your thumb, creating a new loop on the needle.
  7. Slide this new loop onto the needle, making sure it is snug but not too tight.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches, making sure to keep the tension consistent.

Once you have cast on all your stitches, you can begin knitting with your double pointed needles. It may take some practice to get comfortable with using double pointed needles, but with time, you will be able to confidently knit in the round!

Joining in the Round:

Joining in the round is the first step in knitting on double pointed needles. It allows you to create a continuous loop of stitches, which is necessary for knitting in the round.

To join in the round, follow these steps:

  1. Cast on your desired number of stitches onto one of the double pointed needles.
  2. Spread the stitches evenly across the needles, making sure not to twist them.
  3. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand, and the empty needle in your left hand.
  4. Using the empty needle, insert it into the first stitch on the right-hand needle, as if to knit.
  5. Wrap the yarn around the needle and pull it through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the left-hand needle.
  6. Slide the new stitch to the right-hand needle, making sure to keep the tension even.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for all the stitches on the right-hand needle, until all the stitches have been transferred to the left-hand needle.
  8. Continue knitting in the round with the double pointed needles, ensuring that the stitches are not twisted.

Once you have successfully joined in the round, you can begin working on your knitting project. Following these steps will ensure that your stitches are securely joined and that you can continue knitting in a seamless loop.

Knitting the First Round:

Once you have cast on your stitches onto the double pointed needles, you are ready to begin knitting the first round. Here’s how:

  1. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your right hand. Make sure the working yarn is coming from the last stitch on the right.
  2. Take another needle from the set and use it to knit the first stitch. Insert the point of the needle into the first stitch as if to knit.
  3. With the working yarn in your right hand, wrap the yarn around the right needle in a counterclockwise direction.
  4. Slide the right needle tip through the first stitch and use it to pull the loop through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the right needle.
  5. Keep knitting each stitch in the same way until you have worked all the stitches on the first needle.
  6. Once all the stitches on the first needle have been worked, transfer them to the left needle so that the empty needle is now on the right.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 for the stitches on the second needle, and then again for the stitches on the third needle.

By the end of this round, all the stitches should be on the right-hand needle, and you will have completed the first round of knitting on double pointed needles.

Knitting the Body of the Project:

Now that you’ve cast on your stitches onto your double pointed needles and joined them in the round, it’s time to start knitting the body of your project. Here’s how:

  1. Knit the first round: To begin, simply knit all the stitches in the first round. Since you’re working in the round, you won’t need to purl any stitches.
  2. Repeat the desired stitch pattern: If you’re following a specific stitch pattern, such as a rib stitch or a lace pattern, repeat the necessary rows or rounds as instructed. Keep in mind that working in the round is slightly different from working flat, so make sure to adjust the pattern accordingly.
  3. Continue knitting in the round: After completing the initial round and any necessary stitch pattern repeats, continue knitting all the stitches in every round. You won’t need to alternate between knitting and purling, unless specifically instructed by the pattern.
  4. Measure your work as you go: It’s a good idea to periodically measure your work to ensure that you’re achieving the desired length. You can use a tape measure or ruler to measure the height of your project.
  5. Shape the project (if necessary): Depending on the pattern, you may need to shape your project by increasing or decreasing stitches. Follow the pattern instructions to shape the project accordingly.
  6. Bind off: Once you’ve reached the desired length or completed all the necessary shaping, it’s time to bind off. This will create a finished edge and prevent the stitches from unraveling. Follow the pattern instructions for the specific bind off method.

Remember to keep track of your rows or rounds by using a stitch marker or counting your stitches regularly. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re following the pattern correctly. Happy knitting!

Shaping the Project:

Shaping the Project:

Once you have completed your ribbing or any other necessary beginning stitches, it’s time to start shaping your project. Shaping is the process of increasing or decreasing stitches to create the desired size and shape of the final piece.

There are several common shaping techniques used in knitting, including:

  • Increasing stitches: To increase stitches, you can use techniques like Make One (M1), yarn overs, or knitting into the front and back of a stitch.
  • Decreasing stitches: To decrease stitches, you can use techniques like knit two stitches together (k2tog), slip slip knit (ssk), or slip one stitch knitwise, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitch over (ssk).
  • Shaping edges: To shape the edges of your project, you can use techniques like adding selvedge stitches or working slip stitches at the beginning or end of rows.

The specific shaping techniques you’ll need will depend on the pattern you’re following and the final shape you want to achieve. It’s important to carefully read and follow the pattern instructions for shaping.

When shaping your project, it’s also crucial to keep track of your stitch count. Using stitch markers can help you keep track of where shaping increases or decreases should occur.

If you make a mistake or need to undo a shaping stitch, you can use techniques like the “tink” method (unknitting stitch by stitch) or the “frog” method (ripping out rows or rounds). Reversing shaping stitches can be a bit trickier, so it’s best to double-check your work as you go.

Remember to take your time when shaping your project and refer to the pattern instructions as needed. With practice, you’ll become more comfortable with shaping techniques and be able to create beautifully shaped knitted pieces.

Switching to a Smaller Needle:

Once you have finished knitting with the larger needle, it’s time to switch to a smaller needle size. This will create a tapered effect in your knitting, which is especially useful for projects like socks or the tips of mittens.

To switch to a smaller needle, follow these steps:

  1. Take your smaller needle and hold it in your dominant hand, just like you did with the larger needle.
  2. Locate the last stitch you knitted with the larger needle and transfer it onto the smaller needle.
  3. Continue transferring the remaining stitches from the larger needle onto the smaller needle until all the stitches have been moved.

Now that you have switched to a smaller needle, you can continue knitting in the round following the pattern or instructions for your project.

Keep in mind that when switching to a smaller needle, the tension of your knitting may change. This is because the smaller needle size will result in tighter stitches. Make sure to adjust your tension as necessary to achieve the desired gauge for your project.

Once you are comfortable knitting with the smaller needle, you can continue working on your project until you reach the next section that requires a change in needle size, or until you have completed the entire project.

Switching to a smaller needle may take a bit of practice, but with patience and persistence, you’ll be able to master this essential technique in no time.

Binding Off:

Once you have completed your desired length of knitting on double pointed needles, it’s time to bind off or finish your work. This process will give your knitted piece a neat edge and secure the stitches so they don’t unravel.

To bind off on double pointed needles, follow these steps:

  1. Start by knitting the first two stitches on the needle as usual.
  2. Insert the left needle into the first stitch on the right needle and lift it up and over the second stitch and off the needle. The second stitch should now be the only stitch on the right needle.
  3. Repeat step 2 to knit the next stitch and then pass the previous stitch over it to bind off.
  4. Continue knitting and binding off in this manner until only one stitch remains on the right needle.
  5. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches. Thread the tail through the remaining stitch and pull tight to secure.

Once you have bound off all the stitches, you can trim the yarn tail and weave it into the back of the finished piece using a tapestry needle. This will hide the end and prevent it from coming undone.

Binding off on double pointed needles can be a bit challenging at first, but with practice, it becomes easier. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts are not perfect – knitting is a skill that improves with time and experience.

Finishing Touches:

Once you have finished knitting on double pointed needles, there are a few finishing touches you can add to your project to make it look polished and professional.

Weaving in Ends:

Start by weaving in any loose ends of yarn that are hanging from your project. Thread the end of the yarn onto a yarn needle, and then weave it in and out of the stitches on the inside of your project. Be sure to weave the yarn in securely, so that it does not unravel over time.


Blocking is a process that helps to improve the overall appearance and shape of your knitting. To block your project, wet it with water and a bit of gentle soap. Gently squeeze out any excess water, and then lay your project flat on a towel or blocking mat. Use blocking pins to shape it into the desired size and shape, and then let it dry completely before removing the pins.


If you have knit separate pieces that need to be joined together, such as the front and back of a sweater, you will need to seam them together. This can be done using a yarn needle and the same yarn that you used for your project. There are various seaming techniques, such as mattress stitch or whip stitch, that can be used to create a secure and invisible seam.

Adding Buttons or Other Embellishments:

If your project requires buttons or other embellishments, now is the time to add them. Use a small needle and thread to sew on buttons, or secure other embellishments with yarn or a hot glue gun, depending on the materials used.

Final Touches:

Lastly, give your project a final inspection and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Check for any missed stitches or loose ends, and fix them if necessary. Once you are happy with the finished result, your project is complete!

By following these finishing touches, you can take your knitting project to the next level and create a beautiful and professional-looking finished piece.


What are double pointed needles used for in knitting?

Double pointed needles are used for knitting in the round. They are often used for small projects like socks, hats, and sleeves, where the typical circular needles are too long.

How many double pointed needles do I need?

The number of double pointed needles you need depends on the pattern you are using and the size of your project. Most patterns will specify the number of needles required. Commonly, you will need a set of four or five needles.

Can I use double pointed needles for flat knitting too?

Yes, you can use double pointed needles for flat knitting as well. You will simply treat them like regular straight needles. Just knit back and forth instead of in the round.

What is the advantage of using double pointed needles?

The advantage of using double pointed needles is that they allow you to knit small circumference projects without the need for circular needles or magic loop technique. They also make it easier to work on intricate details like cables or colorwork.

How do I cast on stitches using double pointed needles?

To cast on stitches using double pointed needles, you can distribute the stitches evenly onto three or four needles, then knit the first round. Alternatively, you can cast on all the stitches onto one needle and then distribute them evenly onto the working needles.

How do I prevent ladders from forming between needles?

To prevent ladders from forming between needles, make sure to pull the working yarn tightly between the first and second stitches on each needle. You can also give the stitches a little tug after working a few rounds to even out the tension.

How do I join a new ball of yarn when knitting on double pointed needles?

To join a new ball of yarn when knitting on double pointed needles, simply start knitting with the new yarn as you normally would, leaving a tail of a few inches. You can weave in the ends later to secure them.


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