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Double Pointed Needles – Complete Guide to all Your Options Available In 2020

Double Pointed Needles may look intimidating and complicated to use at first, but fear not. They’re incredibly useful for knitting hats, sleeves, and other projects in the round.

You might have heard the acronym DPN thrown around somewhere. It stands for Double Pointed Needle.

In this post, I share all you need to know about Double Pointed Knitting Needles.

Table Of Contents

What Are Double Pointed Needles?

A double-pointed needle, or DPN as it’s also commonly known, is a knitting needle with points and both ends, so you can slide the stitches off either side and knit from either side too. Designed for knitting things like socks, hats, sleeves, and other tubular items.

Learning to use these can be a bit tricky, but with practice and some effort, it becomes easier.

How to Knit With Double Pointed Needles

Here are is a simple, basic tutorial on how to get started knitting on DPNS.

Casting On

Casting on double pointed needles is probably the most challenging part of the process for beginners, so give yourself some time and cut yourself a bit of slack. It’s going to be hard and take a while.

  • Cast on all your stitches for the project onto one needle.
  • Once you’ve done that, slide the needed number of stitches onto the other ones. Make sure you don’t lose any during this process.
  • If you’re working from a pattern, they’ll usually tell you how many to have on one needle. If not, distribute them all as evenly as possible.
  • Now you’re ready to join the round.

Joining the Round

  • Make sure the needle where the first stitch is is in your right hand. 
  • Place all the stitches to make sure they aren’t twisted and are all facing the same way.
  • Put the empty needle in the first stitch on the needle in your left hand. 
  • Knit it firmly.
  • You’ve joined in the round.
  • If you want to use a stitch marker, slip it on the same stitch with the cast on tail. 

How Do You Knit In The Round?

It’s very similar to knitting on straights, except you join in the round first before continuing to knit. Stitches also look different, and you never have to turn your work around, you just keep going.

Note: While you can knit in the round on circular knitting needles as well. Still, the instructions for that type of needle is slightly different. Find a tutorial designed explicitly for circulars if you want to learn that.

Knitting The Rest

  • Doing the first few rows is going to feel awkward and confusing, so go slowly and be patient with yourself
  • Hold the needle with the first set of casted on stitches and knit as you normally would.
  • When it comes to switching needles, be sure to knit the first stitch from the new needle very tightly to avoid laddering, (creating an unwanted gap in the knitted fabric.)
  • The pattern will tell you how to cast off.
  • Congratulations, well on your way to doing your first project using DPNs!

Tips & Tricks For Using DPNs

I know, using these looks hard, and at the beginning, it certainly is. On my first time using them, it was very cumbersome and awkward to use them. It’s also quite tricky to keep track of multiple needles at the same time!

  • If you’re a visual learner, there are lots and lots of tutorials on Youtube. A wealth of information, so make sure you make use of it.
  • They’re usually used to knit things in the round too small to fit on circular needles. Like the toe of a sock or the crown of a hat. You don’t have to use them for anything else that could be knitted on circulars.
  • If you’ve never knitted in the round, remember you never have to turn your work around. Just keep going.
  • Also, stitches turn out differently when you knit them in the round. For example, to create stockinette stitch, you just knit, never purl.
  • Most DPNs come in a pack of 5, but most projects only require you to use four. Three hold the stitches. The fourth does the knitting. Of course, some require five, but these are rare.
  • To keep track of your needles, some knitters suggest painting each one a different color.
  • You don’t have to use stitch markers, as the cast on tail acts as a stitch marker. However, you can use one if you want. Just remember the last stitch before the marker is the last stitch in the round.
  • If you need to decrease, and there’s only one stitch left on the current needle, slip it to the next one, and reduce on that one.
  • If the first stitch of a new needle is a knit stitch, make sure the one you’re currently knitting is under the last one. If you do this, you avoid creating a vertical line of loose stitches.
  • Be mindful of laddering. This is where you have a slight gap between the stitches where you changed needles. To avoid this annoying thing, be careful to minimize the gap between the needles when you switch. This will help prevent laddering.

Double Pointed Needles Vs Circular Needles

It’s hard to know which ones to use for any given project. Here is a list of instances you should use DPNs.

  • Small projects like baby hats, fingerless gloves, mittens, baby socks, or headbands.
  • When you started on circular needles, but the project is too small, like a sock toe or the crown of a hat.

For all other instances, you can use circular needles.

Choosing The Best Double Pointed Needles

Here’s a list of things to remember when choosing the best double point needles.

  • Are They Made Of Durable Materials? – You want something lightweight, strong, and has some grip while still being smooth.
  • Do They Have Sturdy Construction? – You don’t want them to fall apart after the first use.
  • Is There A Warranty Or Manufacturer’s Guarantee? Important as sometimes DPNs are prone to breaking after prolonged use.
  • How Many Needles Are Included In The Set? – Are there four or five? This is essential because you need a certain number of needles to complete a certain project, and it’s pretty hard when you have one missing!
  • What Are The Reviews Like? – This is important to help you decide whether it’s worth it or not.

The Best Double Pointed Needles

KnitPicks Double Pointed Needles

KnitPicks Nickel Plated Double Pointed Needles Set

A set of 6″ long DPNS in a variety of sizes, with a smart, clear snap case.

These are a great selection if you’re planning on knitting socks, as this set contains the most common needle sizes used for making them.

Features

  • 6 Needle Sizes Included – US 0 (2.00mm), US 1 (2.25mm), US 1 (2.50mm), US 2 (2.75mm), US 2 (3.00mm), US Size 3 (3.25mm)
  • 5 Needles Of Each Size Included
  • All needles are 6 inches long
  • A clear vinyl case clearly categorizes all your needles and keeps them neat and tidy.

Pros

  • The needles are nickel-plated, with sturdy and durable construction
  • All sizes are also available separately if that’s what you prefer
  • Very affordable
  • Lasts very well and stands to lots of use
  • Smooth and easy to slide the yarn across

Cons

  • All the needles are the same color, so it might be hard to differentiate between them
  • They don’t have the needle size etched on the needle.

Knitter’s Pride Double Pointed Knitting Needles

Knitter's Pride Double Pointed Knitting Needles

Designed to withstand lots of knitting, these Knitter’s Pride needles look lovely while feeling great in your hands.

Made of smooth aluminum and available in a wide variety of lovely shades. The tips are smooth, not too sharp, and tapered perfectly for intricate knitting.

Features

  • 1 Needle Size Included – You can choose between many different ones
  • 5 Needles Included In One Set 
  • Other Notions Included – 10 colorful stitch markers

Pros

  • Available in a few different nice colors
  • Sizes are etched on the side of each one
  • Lightweight and very smooth
  • Affordable, an excellent price to suit any budget

Cons

  • Some found they were too slippery, and the stitches slid straight off the needle.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

ChiaoGoo Red Ribbon Double Point Knitting Needles

ChiaoGoo Red Ribbon Double Point Knitting Needles

Designed for serious users of DPNS, these are high quality, long-lasting needles with a manufacturer’s guarantee.

It comes in a lovely case with six different sizes, an excellent investment for your future projects.

Features

  • 6 Needle Sizes Included – US 0/2mm, US 1/2.25mm, US 1.5/2.5mm, US 2/2.75mm, US 2.5/3mm and US 3/3.25mm 
  • 6 Needles Of Each Size Included
  • Other Notions Included – Handy case, stitch markers, and a needle gauge

Pros

  • Comes in a lovely black case with a white flower print
  • Made with smooth stainless steel
  • Has sharp tips for delicate or intricate designs
  • Sizes are laser etched on the sides
  • Even the smallest needles in the set don’t bend.

Cons

  • There’s no way to tell the needles apart, as they aren’t different colors. One user suggested painting a little line, each of a different color for each different size.
  • A little expensive, but worth the investment.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Z-Color Double Pointed Needles Set

Z-Color Double Pointed Needles Set

A jumbo set including 5 needles of 11 different sizes. True value for your knitting if you’re going to do a serious amount of projects. The investment is going to be worth it in the long run.

Features

  • 11 Needle Sizes Included – 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 2.75mm, 3.0mm, 3.5mm, 4.0mm, 4.5mm, 5.0mm, 5.5mm, 6.0mm and 6.5mm. 
  • 5 Needles Of Each Size Included
  • All Needles Are 20cm or 8″ long.

Pros

  • Made from high-quality stainless steel
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Some found one of theirs was rusted or had a few nicks or manufacturing defects, they can be easily replaced
  • Clean thoroughly before use as sometimes they come with manufacturer’s residue
  • The tips are quite blunt, so not very good for tight knitters
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Your Questions Answered

How Do You Switch To Double Pointed Needles?

Here is a short video tutorial explaining how to switch to double pointed needles by Davina from Sheep & Stitch on Youtube.

Can I Use A Circular Needle Instead Of Double Pointed Needles?

Yes, of course! If you knit something like a hat, you’ll probably need to switch to these to make the very tip of the hat or the crown. This is because there won’t be enough stitches to fit around the cord.

What Length Double-Pointed Needles Do I Need?

It depends on how many stitches you need to hold and how long needles you’re comfortable with holding. For guidance, check the pattern you’re using.

Hopefully, this helped you be introduced to the world of this often confusing, but very helpful and useful needle.

Are you ready to dive in and try to use these? Did you find a DPN from my recommendations to get you started on your new project? I’d love to hear about your latest knitting adventures, comment below.

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here.

I created Knit Like Granny to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

I love knitting and have met so many other fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.

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