Knitting in the round is an essential knitting skill if you plan to knit socks, hats, and other circular patterned projects. We have talked about how to knit with circular knitting needles in the past, but there is another way to knit in the round. Using double pointed knitting needles is a great way to knit small circumference patterns, such as baby hats and socks. If you have never used double pointed knitting needles, you may find them to be awkward. Here are a few guidelines that will make learning to knit with double pointed knitting needles a bit easier.
These needles typically come in packs of four or five needles. Both ends of the needle are pointed, allowing you to knit from either end. The benefit is that you can join the needles in a round and knit on and off from them. Like other knitting needles, double pointed needles are available in different lengths and materials. If you are a beginner, start with wood or bamboo needles so that they are less slippery.
Learning to cast-on with double pointed needles can be the most challenging part of using them. Start by casting on to one needle and then the stitches can be distributed to the other needles. To transfer stitches to another needle, slide the cast-on stitches to the end and use the second needle to slip the stitch onto the needle.
A pattern that calls for double pointed knitting needles will specify how many stitches should be on each needle. To join your stitches in the round, make sure that the stitches are all pointed the same way and that none of the stitches are twisted. Then, switch the first cast-on stitch with the last cast-on stitch. Use a stitch marker to mark the end of the round.
When getting started, it is important to go slowly to get the feel of it. Hold the needle with the first cast-on stitches in your left and the empty needle in your right hand. Knit as you normally would. When the stitches run out in your left hand, switch it to your right hand and knit from the next needle on the left. The two other needles will hang while you knit. Some patterns will specify using four double pointed needles and some will call for five needles.
Circular knitting with double pointed knitting needles is commonly used to create a garment that is closed at one end. Pay attention to the pattern and the instructions for finishing the remaining stitches. You may need to slide the stitches off or you may be grafting to finish up the project.
Many knitters are intimidated by the thought of knitting with multiple needles. We suggest giving it a try, as this method is much easier than using circular needles for smaller round projects.