In Defense of DPNs

A hot topic . . . in knitting, at least. With magic loop and other circs available, I feel that many knitters have given up on DPNs as old-fashioned and hard to manage. I was knitting on some DPNs in the airport a few months back and heard a man whisper to his (also) knitting wife: “can you do that?” She was a little miffed, I think, and responded, “yes, but I wouldn’t want to.” So, today, a brief defense AND an informal survey.

Here’s why I like my DPNs and own a set in just about every size:

  • the way they click and the way they move out of the way of the next needle–it’s a bit of an acrobat show, and I love that my fingers know what to do
  • the way they fold up and can be fairly secure without needing any extra clamps or tools; it took me a while, but I have developed the perfect fold.
  • they are relatively cheap and you can own multiple sets (for working on multiple socks); a plus, if you are not a monogamous knitter
  • I’m not a fan of magic loop (especially for socks and mittens)–it has it’s place, no doubt and I have used the technique many times, but if I have my druthers, I go for the DPNs instead
  • I’m not a fan of fixed circs either: there are too many variations to purchase them all, and the joins need to be excellent for things to slide smoothly. I love my Addi interchangeables, but I have not been able to find them in sock sizes–am I looking in the wrong places?? Please advise!
  • they are a little old fashioned and out of style (yep, that’s me, I guess)
  • I sense that you can do more with DPNs . . . but maybe I’m just reaching
  • keeping one behind my ear makes me feel a little dangerous

The problems: well, ok, yes, if you leave them on the couch, they can stab you in the ass. If you are using them in a car and gesture too wildly (or simply have one in your hand when you go to pull out more yarn), you can injury yourself–and others. If you don’t shift stitches around, your knitting can develop small lines or ladders.

What about you all? How many of you still use DPNs and for what projects?

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This entry was posted in big questions, choices, DPNs, knitting, needles, review, tools, why?. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to In Defense of DPNs

  1. Debbie mandel says:

    I am also a fan of double points, except when the needles are above size 7, they seem to get all floppy and take on a life of their own! For sock and mitten knitting, I think they are the only way to go. I did order some circular Addi’s small enough for sock knitting, but I had to put more of a bend in the actual needle to try to get the angle right to actually knit with them. But, even that really didn’t work. So, I happy carry around 4 sets of size #1 double points in my sock knitting bag. They are all different, one is bamboo for slippery yarn, one set is square, one set is a pretty color, one is carbon steel, I might lose one since they travel with me so much, um….I need them all! (Ok, there might be more than 4 sets in there, and then the other sizes.)

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    • lissymail says:

      Oh, the traveling! I’ve been curious about the square needles–do you like them any better than standard DPNs?

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      • Debbie mandel says:

        I do like them, but the ones I bought are a bit short for some of my sock knitting- the stitches sometimes fall off at the edge. But, they are faster for me, since you poke the round tip into a space occupied by a square needle, there is a V shaped opening for the needle to go through, if that makes any sense! I certainly is an interesting new idea in knitting. Everyone should try them and see how they like em.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Talya says:

    At this point- I’m only using dpns as cable needles. Why? Cause I don’t like cable needles with that little bend in them. Also because I can never find a cable needle when I need it. 🙂

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    • lissymail says:

      🙂 Oh, I love a good DPN cable needle! I’ve been using mini DPNs from Knitpicks lately and I think they are the best cable needles!

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    • Debbie mandel says:

      I have a wooden set of short dpn from knitpicks. I use those for cables also. The wooden ones hang onto the stitches alot better than the metal “cable” needles.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. polwygle says:

    To every point you made, I’ve been there. Even the being stabbed part. I will never give up my DPNs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pat says:

    I agree with you. I love DPNs for socks, mittens, tops of hats, and on the narrow parts of sleeves, especially baby and children’s. I also like using a DPN when doing a traditional bind off on a circular needle. Magic loop is way too fiddly for me. I only use multiple circular needles when doing stranded work on small circumferences.

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  5. Mum to three says:

    I love my dpn! For all the reasons you listed too! I’m a creature of habit, and can’t quite seem to get into circs.

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  6. bromefields says:

    I have to admit, I’m a fan of circular needles. DPN’s intimidate me 🙂

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  7. knittedblissjc says:

    haha, I love that a lady sniffed at you about using dpns! Some people are judgey. I use them, but they aren’t my fave- but I will take them over magic looping with two circs, since I find the circulars flapping about more annoying. But everyone has there personal preferences for what works best for them!

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    • lissymail says:

      yes, agreed! and it was a strange moment. I thought “knitters unite” was the motto . . . but maybe not in the waiting-grumble of the airport!

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  8. Mrs. Optimistic says:

    I love love LOVE my DPNs! I started with a circular, but much prefer the DPNs to it. I hate the crimping of the cable, having to scootch the yarn around, it all gets on my nerves. And who said that old ways are bad ways? Just because there are other options out there, who says that you can’t use the tried and true way? Even if circulars are easier to use, doesn’t that make you more skilled and versatile to use anything you want to, verses just doing whatever is easiest?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lissymail says:

      🙂 I like your style! Yes, old fashioned can be great! I also am not a fan of moving the yarn round the cables either. Sometimes it just feels right (or wrong) and you know

      Liked by 1 person

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