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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).

castonto1needle

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.

distributionofstitches

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

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth Weiss permalink
    August 17, 2015 2:25 pm

    Love this pattern–on my 5th pair, but………the right side of the knitting on the sock where I have picked up the stitches just never looks as good as it should. Sometimes one side does, but the other does not. I must not be picking up the right eight stitches. I can only find seven, and I have knitted 12 rows on the heel flap. Where does the other one come from–the corner? (Using the Baby size) I never made a sock until I found your pattern, and I must say that with your instructions, it was very doable! Thank you so very much for your wonderful website, patterns, and yarn. ( I know I am supposed to pick up the whole loop, and I do, but it just looks messy after I have finished putting it together with the rest. H E L P please!!!

    • August 18, 2015 9:34 am

      Hi Elizabth – I usually pick up one in the corner. You would have 1 before the heel flap, 6 slipped sts on the edges from the heel flap and 1 more from the heel turn. If it looks better to just pick up seven though, I would just pick up seven and you will have one less decrease round in the gusset. It’s more important (in this case)that the pick-up looks nice than the exact number. Another tip is to pick up 1 stitch further in. It makes a slightly bigger pick-up seam but looks a little cleaner.

      • Elizabeth Weiss permalink
        August 18, 2015 3:27 pm

        Thank you so much! I did what you suggested and it did look so much better.

      • August 19, 2015 5:42 pm

        You can always try magic loop, but don’t be afraid to try new things!

  2. Doris Shaw permalink
    April 22, 2015 7:59 am

    I’ve been knitting (and crocheting) for yrs but had a decade away from these crafts. Couldn’t remember the finer pts to finishing and was delighted by your DPN join info. Will be checking back often. Thank you sincerely.

  3. Claire permalink
    March 11, 2015 5:12 am

    I have a pattern requiring double pointed needles (my first project with DPNs!). It says “using 2 double pointed needles and A, cast on 2 stitches”. I’m not sure what they mean by “and A”. Could you clarify?! Thanks in advance.

    • March 11, 2015 2:14 pm

      Hi Claire – its hard to say without knowing the pattern but I’m guessing it is a 2 color project? A is probably the color you cast on with

  4. Margaret permalink
    October 9, 2014 8:54 pm

    Hello, I’m a little confused by the instructions for distributing the stiches. If the goal is to distribute the stitches on three needles, why are the instructions for four needles? The instructions say put all of the stitches on one DPN (needle #1) then slip half onto another needle (needle #2) and then pick up another needle (needle #3) and slip 1/4 onto that needle and then pick up another needle (needle #4) and slip the remaining stitches. I apologize if I’m missing something obvious, but I even made my husband who is an engineer go through the steps with me, and we’re both confused.

    Thanks!
    Margaret

    • October 17, 2014 2:40 pm

      Hi Margaret

      Your stitches will go on 3 needles and you need a fourth needle to knit them with. Does this clear things up?

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