Friday, March 9, 2012

Wrestling with half an Octopus

My friend Annie (who I miss dearly) taught me how to use dpn's (double pointed needles) way back when we were all in Monterey. She told me that it was a bit like wrestling with an octopus but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy! Especially for a crocheter like Annie!!
She was right! It is easy! AND it is a bit like wrestling with an octopus. Good thing we only have to mess around with 4 octopus legs rather than 8! Yikes!
IF you want to make hats, socks and really small stuff (baby hats!) you really need to know how to use dpn's. Sorry... but that's the way it is!
There are all kinds of tutorials online ( is my fav!) and you can even check out a book at the library. You can also just bite the bullet and buy a book - which I did!! I have Teach Yourself Visually Knitting (click on that highlighted text to go to the page at Amazon). I really like it and if I get stuck on stuff I usually go to that book first!
I'm getting ready to start wrestling with my own half of an octopus right now! I've been making a hat for Boyo - it's the same one that a friend of mine is making right now (DB!) It's a really easy hat, a simple rib that ends up looking pretty cool at the top. HERE  is the link to the blog where we found the pattern! Probably over on Ravelry too!
I started out using a 16 inch #7 circular needle! I love circulars but they only work for so long. Once you start decreasing, that cable gets in the way! It doesn't want to bend enough to allow small numbers of stitches on it. ~I did buy a really super short cable needle... my #8 9inch! But wrong size for this hat. Darnitall!!
Here is my (Boy's hat!) hat still on the circulars

Now I have to get all those stitches off of that circular (which holds them so nicely, I don't usually drop any... sigh) onto those 4 sticks... oh yay...

It's easy!! It is! It's actually a lot easier to put the stitches onto dpn's from a circular than it is to cast on all those stitches...just start knitting with a dpn rather than the circular end on the right!

Just follow your pattern using a dpn as your right needle and knit them all off the cable....

Pretty soon you have a bunch of stitches on your dpn and some left on your cable.... space them out! Put some on another dpn!! You should space it all out so you have a relatively even amount on 3 dpns!! Save that 4th one for knitting!! ****follow your pattern! Try not to start a new dpn with a purl stitch** trust me!!! AND the 2nd stitch on the dpn- pull it tight!! GRRRRR really tight! It will help prevent ladders. Which are ugly....

 Now that you have all of your stitches relatively evened out onto 3 dpns... don't count mine! I'm pretty sure I'm close, but definitely not even!!
Now using your 4th dpn.... knit away!!
Follow your pattern
Try really hard to not start a new dpn with a purl stitch!
When moving to the next dpn.... pull your 2nd stitch really really tight!
Around and around you go!!
It's a bit awkward but once you get going, it's pretty cool!! You can have small amounts of stitches on those needles and don't have to worry about your cable getting in your way!!


  1. So...if I read this right, I can just get some really short circulars and skip the wrestling match?!? ;)

    Thank you for taking the time to make knitting feel so approachable to this overwhelmed quilter!

    1. Yep! You can totally skip the dpn's..... but it's really not that hard! AND you can make amazingly small things with dpn's! Sometimes wrestling that cable can be almost as bad!!