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Casting On with Double Pointed Needles

October 3, 2013

MaterialsDouble pointed needles (DPNs) can seem a little scary at first. The cast on is often the most confusing part of working with DPNs but fear not!

Follow our simple step-by-step instructions and you will be casting on and knitting in the round on DPNs in no time.

Three Steps to Cast On to DPNs :::

Step One ::: Cast on the number of stitches required for your pattern plus one more onto a single DPN (so if your pattern says to cast on 28, cast on 29).


Cast on required stitches + 1 onto a single double pointed needle

Step Two ::: distribute your stitches – there are many ways to distribute your stitches and all of them are fine but I prefer to spread my stitches out over the three needles in a particular way. This way I don’t have to place a marker, keeping things simple. Picking up another needle and slipping from the back (aka starting with the first stitch you cast on) slip about half of your stitches onto 1 needle. Then pick up a second needle and slip about 1/4 of the total stitches onto that needle. Pick up a third needle and slip the remaining stitches onto that needle. You will now have your stitches distributed over 3 needles.

Slipping a stitch (purlwise): place the right hand needle in to the next stitch as if to purl

Slipping a stitch (purlwise): place the right hand needle in to the next stitch as if to purl

One stitch slipped

One stitch slipped

Step Three ::: Join for working in the round. Remember that extra stitch we cast on? We are going to use that extra stitch to create a nice clean join. First take your 3 needles and lay them down (see picture). Make sure all of the cast on edge is going ‘inwards’ – this is a good way to make sure your cast on is NOT twisted. To join slip the last stitch cast on (that extra stitch) over to the start of round stitch (the first stitch cast on). Knit or purl those two stitches together – this will be the first stitch of your round. If your instruction is to knit the first stitch, k2tog, if your instruction is to purl the first stitch, p2tog.


Stitches on 3 needles

Slipping last stitch cast on to beginning of round

Slipping last stitch cast on to beginning of round

Ready to k2tog or p2tog and start the round

Ready to k2tog or p2tog and start the round

Now you have joined for working in the round! For more information on what to do next, see our tutorial ‘Knitting on DPN’s’.

Helpful Hint ::: How to avoid ‘ladders’ - Ladders look kind of like runs in a stocking. They are loose stitches and gaps in the fabric that sometimes occur between the last stitch of one needle and the first stitch of the next. How can you avoid this? Simply make sure to give an extra tug to your yarn on the first stitch of a needle, this will make it extra tight and prevent ladders.

Some cute patterns, perfect to practice knitting in the round using DPNs:

lumberjack socksantler mittens

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