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Saturday, December 13, 2008

DPN learning curve


I managed to find some time to play with the KP Harmony DPNs I received on Tuesday. These are my very first Double Point Needles! Can you believe I've been knitting hats and mitts without DPNs???

The first thing I noticed is how pointy these sticks are! I was surprised to find that my previously-never-splitty yarn was actually quite a bit splitty when I knit with these DPNs. I have to be very careful about that. While knitting, I couldn't help but worry about whether I was knitting too "hard" and possibly risking dulling the sharp point. I guess it must not be a problem and I merely have to get used to the feeling of using wood DPNs.

The second thing I noticed is how I needed to change the way I held my knitting. These DPNs are 8 inches long. While I had no problems knitting with the DPN in my right hand, I found that the tail end of that DPN would catch on my right sleeve. This sort of thing had never came up before since I've been knitting with circular needles. Now I have to adjust how I hold the knitting. It also helps a little if I pull my sleeve up.

Starting something small (mitt) in the round using DPNs is a little more fiddly than with circular needles, perhaps it is just a matter of getting used to it. One thing I really love is how much faster the knitting goes on DPNs once the piece gets more established. Yay! Now I think I will have to collect more DPNs in sizes 3.5 mm, 3.75 mm, 4.0 mm, and 5.0 mm. (I'm waiting for the sock size DPNs to arrive; they're on back order until 23 Dec 2008)

I've noticed that I tend to knit tighter using DPNs. I'm sure it is from a fear of stitches falling off.

Pattern: Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool, Jacaranda(?) color, 1 ball + ~1 yard of 2nd ball
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

So if you've been following my blog, then you know I've been working with the Four Rib Braid cable pattern lately and using them in mitts. To recap: Pink Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts, inspired by the Four Rib Braid iPod Touch Sock (pattern outline) I made, which was inspired by Cable Bag #3 (pattern outline).

I mentioned some planned improvements to the pink mitts (in this post) and have implemented them in the Purple Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts:
-- Minor tweak for seamless transition from ribbing to cable pattern. (there are 2 photos in this post so you can compare the two)
-- Changed the 2 rounds of ribbing at end of thumb and made it completely stockinette. I think it looks neater this way.
-- I am finally happy with the thumb gusset. Thumb gussets are a challenge for me.
-- Oddly enough, with the thumb gusset the way it is, I am now happy with a 16 stitch thumb.

The wrist section on the left mitt looks "lumpy" only because I have a jade bracelet there. I've worn that bracelet for many many years, and I am not removing it. No, it's not really because I love this bracelet. It's because I know it will be a painful process to remove it. Many many moons ago, my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to try on this bracelet. It was $*@&^#$%! getting the thing on. Many people use some soap to help slide these things on and off. I've kept the bracelet on ever since then and have worn it for such a long time that I don't even notice it is there. So after my mom had me put this bracelet on, she had this brilliant idea that I should try on a 2nd jade bracelet. I was like, NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

They say jade changes color over time. My mom believes this because she had a jade ring that was mostly white with a speck of green on it, which she received from her grandma when she was a kid. Fast forward several decades later, that same jade ring has turned completely green! I can't say whether my jade bracelet has changed over the years. Check back with me in a couple of decades, ok?

For my 3rd pair, I need to make the mitt larger to fit someone with much larger hands. In an earlier post, I mentioned some things I'd try to make a larger mitt. What I ended up doing was casting on 4+ stitches AND working ribbing on the palm side of the mitt (instead of the stockinette palm on the purple and pink mitts). This turned out too loose/large. The photo above shows the mitt fitting on the bottom of a Starbucks Grande size cold beverage cup. Yup, too large. I need to frog this and start over.

Next try will be one of the following, I haven't decided which yet:
1. CO 4+ stitches and stockinette on palm.
2. CO same # of stitches and ribbing on palm.

1 or 2? I'm leaning towards #1, because I knit stockinette much faster than ribbing.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.

11 stitch(es):

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

My mom tells me that jade turns greener the more you wear it. I'm not sure it's true. But I do love jade. I have a bracelet that was her mom's, and I love it.

The purple mitts look great. How much larger are the hands of your next recipient? There's a lot of stretch in knitting, and I tend to like my mitts a bit snug, anyway.

Claudia said...

I bought quite a few sets of dpns from ebay to play with. They're not all that pointy and were pretty cheap. I just want to be able to learn and not have to keep buying more sizes. But the first time I tried using them I failed miserably. I need more time. I'm taking them out right after Christmas and not putting them away until I make something with them!

Aunt Kathy said...

I have the KP harmony DPN's the whole set. I am still trying then out. I am always nervous that my stuff will fall off but I keep trying.

CatBookMom said...

I very seldom use 8in dpns, since I'm more of a circular needle knitter for items with the number of sts to need that much length. The Bryspun 5in dpns (sets of 5) are terrific for mitts and small hats; they don't come in sock sizes ;( Brittany makes 6in dpns, but you have to find some way to keep them together since the envelope they come in doesn't keep them well.

I'm making a pair of Maine Morning Mitts in some lovely Lang Mille Colori yarn for a gift, and then I'm going to tackle your lovely braided cable design.

Virtuous said...

Gurl I don't know what possessed you to try DPNs and kick your circs to the side not matter how cute they are! LOL
Never for me! Haha! I am deathly allergic to DPNs! :oD

Options are definitely sharp!

And I am sure you will loosen up the more you use your sticks!

TracyKM said...

My DPN collection is mostly thrift shops, yard sales, and Wal-Mart/discount dept. store. I'm usually happy with whatever needles come my way, LOL. It is fiddly to start something, but I like that if it does get twisted, you can just untwist inbetween two needles. I have just learned how to make two things at once on one circular. Now THAT was fiddly to start! But it did go fast once going. I think Magic Loop though is faster than DPNs....

Jean said...

I have used dpn's for hats and tried one pair of socks with them, but did not like carrying my project around on them, so I converted to circulars. Your purple mitts turned out great, the improved rib really shows. Yikes on the jade bracelet, most people would probably not mind having jewelry stuck on them, but, I would definately freak out, I have gotten a stuck ring off with alot of dawn soap, and it did work.

Cosmo DK said...

I use "sock" needles a lot - five or six inch long ones. Mine are wooden ones, which have a bit of surface tension with wool yarn, so I don't have to fear them falling out too much.

And wool holds its shape fairly well, too, so that helps.

Just finished making a Persephone scarf for my husband out of Galway Colornep. It's gorgeous! Thank you for posting all these patterns.

I love to make knittingcharts - if you ever need them made, I'd consider it.

Unknown said...

The trick is to use the shortest size you can manage. 8 inch ones are long. I find myself constantly moving the working needle around the others. But it's still faster than ML for me.
You will love the sock needles!

Cindy G said...

Oooh, pretty mitts! Love the pattern and love the color.

Me, I'm a dpn fan all the way, but I like mine in the 6" length. If I have lots of stitches, I just use more needles (at least until I have enough stitches for a 16: circ).

Rosie said...

How did you knit all of those thumbs without dpns? That's amazing! I totally prefer dpns over any other needle. I can't stand circular needles unless I am knitting something large.
Love the mitts!