Knitting Conundrum: Slippery DPNs

Former hat on DPNs

My one greatest fear every project I work on is losing stitches. Most of the time I can fix this on my own, which doesn’t bother me. It’s losing several at a time and then seeing they’ve unraveled without me knowing it. What’s worse is when they make it all the way to the bottom of the piece. When that happens, I have to strongly resist the urge to toss the project.

Losing stitches on DPNs is a big issue for me because I use metal needles. After constantly dropping stitches on my wreck of a hat (you know, the one that called for fingering weight and I knit it in worsted weight), I just wanted to give up. Instead, I did some research online to figure out how to stop dropping the stitches.

One of the most common pieces of advice I came across was to not use metal DPNs at all, but rather wood or bamboo. These needles have a grip to them that holds the stitches in place so that they’re less likely to fall off.

That’s well and good, but what if you have metal needles already and don’t want to spend the time or money to get more DPNs? I found some advice for that as well! There are needle tips you can use to put on the ends of each needle when you’re not working with them. It holds the stitches onto the needle with little to no effort on your part.

Still don’t want to spend time or money on this idea? Got old pencils or an eraser? It turns out you can stick bits of eraser on the ends of your needles, like you see I did above. I cut the erasers off some old pencils I knew we weren’t going to use and put them onto the ends of my needles. I will say, after tinkering a bit, a softer eraser works a little better because it’s less likely to split.

Now, I know that changing erasers as you knit along can be a bit of a hassle. I wouldn’t do this with something that has relatively few stitches, like mittens or socks. For a hat with 100+ stitches, I’m willing to take a little time to switch those erasers around. Despite the later result of having to rip the whole hat out, I found knitting to be very relaxing not having to constantly worry about the stitches falling off.

Have any tips or tricks for keeping stitches on the DPNs? Please share them!

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2 thoughts on “Knitting Conundrum: Slippery DPNs

  1. I love your resourcefulness with the erasers! I never would have thought of that. I actually had the same problem but I switched to bamboo DPNs early on in my collection, and I LOVE them. Not only do they really have grip and keep my stitches secure, but they also weigh less, which for me helps me keep whatever I’m knitting from stretching out, etc. I actually got bamboo straight needles and circulars, as well, because it makes it so much easier for me to knit.

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