Knowing how to knit on double-point needles is essential for any knitter hoping to go beyond knitting scarves and blankets. For small projects made in the round, like socks, gloves, or hats, you'll eventually need to use double-point needles. Let's explore some tips and tricks for holding and using your needles.
The first time I bought a set of double-point needles, I might have been the wee-est bit intimidated. There were just so many of them! I knew what to do with two needles, but five?
Honestly, at first it did feel very odd to work with that many needles. But if you want to knit a hat or gloves or socks, there's really no better way than on double-points. And I-cord would be a giant pain otherwise. Working on double-points still isn't my favorite, but I've learned a few tips about how to knit on double-points to make it much easier.
With double-point needles you distribute your stitches across either three or four needles, which allows you to knit something with a smaller circumference than can readily be done on circular needles. The number of needles you use is usually a matter of personal preference. I generally use three, but for some reason, I have one pattern I make a lot and I always use four for that one. So, your preference might vary by pattern as well.
Once you have your stitches distributed across those three or four needles, you then use another needle as your right-hand working needle. When you finish working the stitches on one needle, then the left-hand needle is empty; that's the one you use to knit into the next needle's worth of stitches. And round and round it goes, just like that.
When you're knitting on double-point needles, you're knitting in the round, so the first thing you need to think about is marking the beginning of your round. If it isn't obvious immediately, it will quickly become clear that you can't put a stitch marker at the actual start of your round as it will just slide right off the needle. So either put your marker after the first stitch at the start of the round or before the last stitch at the end of the round. Or it is possible on double-points not to use a stitch marker at all. You can distribute your stitches in such a way that you can remember that the needle with the fewest stitches is the last needle of each round. It certainly makes knitting go that much faster when you don't have to mess with a stitch marker.
When I was first learning how to knit on double-point needles, I wasn't sure how to hold my knitting. Well, the good news is there are two schools of thought on this and you really can't go wrong. If you hold the needles so that the working point is closest to you, you're knitting right-side out. That's how I hold mine.
But you can also have the working point be furthest away from you. In that case, you're just working inside out.
One important thing to think about when knitting on double-point needles is maintaining the tension of your stitches between the two end stitches when you first knit into the next needle. So on that first stitch on the next needle, after you knit into that stitch, give your working yarn a little tug, just to pull it taut. You won't want to get to the end of your project and be able to tell where the needle switches happened.
Knitting on double-point needles may seem tricky, but it's worth learning. Otherwise, how will you knit yourself a pair of these gloves?