If you look at the Loumms Year of Socks, you’ll notice that Lou and I definitely favour DPNs over Magic Loop or using two circs for socks. It’s not that we dislike using circular(s) for socks, but there’s a certain aesthetic about so many shiny, pointy sticks that appeals. Of course, socks are versatile enough that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what method you use. However, when you’re first starting out, all those shiny, pointy sticks can seem not just intimidating but flat-out insane — attach a cable in between and it looks positively sinister.
When I used DPNs for the first time, it felt like no matter what I did they flailed and spun and tangled, so that no matter what I was knitting it turned moebious. They seemed impossible, even worse than actually learning how to knit without pulling the yarn so tight it snaps. At that time, though few would believe it now, knitting blogs were few and far between, and I was still too shy to speak to anyone in my LYS other than to hand over my card and blush vigorously when the transaction was completed.
A lot of the problems associated with DPNs lay in how unwieldy and cumbersome they can feel right at the start of the project. They flap all over the place and fall out if you’ve cast on too loosely. (It’s no wonder airline hostesses carry vague concerns about knitters’ needles flying out of their projects and poking someones eye out mid-flight.) Yet, if you’ve cast on too tightly, they jerk and swing and the stitches seem to crumble rather than ease from one needle to the next.
Though circs can solve some of those issues, they have a host of perplexities all to themselves. And while I think circular needles are the bees’ knees, DPNs will always hold a special place in my heart, especially for smaller projects. I love them for socks; they are fab for sleeves; legwarmers are all the warmer when they grow from a multi-spiked trapezoid.
Over the next few days I’m going to post a short series of sort-of tutorials on how to use DPNs, but mostly a list of all the things I wish I had known when I started knitting my first tubular project.