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Knitting on the Round with Double Pointed or Circular Needles?

Hi everyone!

We really love our double pointed needles!

We both learnt to knit small things on the round using dpns, which is also the traditional way of knitting smaller projects in Norway. Knitting small items on the round, like socks, dolls or even Christmas balls with circular needles feels very strange to both of us. And let’s not get started on the magic loop, which we really dislike!

We are all different and when it comes to the choices that we all make, it really is a matter of habits, taste and what suits each one of us the best. There are no right ways or wrong ways to knit or crochet, as it is the end result that counts! Personally, we are both masters with dpns but become very uncomfortable when it comes to circulars or the magic loop for smaller projects. It is only when we cast on a larger number of stitches, starting from 96 stitches for a hat (96 is such a great number for knitting, by the way!) and upwards that we enjoy knitting with circulars. And since we are from Norway, we will knit everything, including sweaters and jackets on the round, so we do use circular needles for larger projects all the time.

Toe- up sock knitting with metal needles.

We have been reading the comments on our latest YouTube tutorial and we are noticing that many people have been asking us if it is possible to knit the spiral sock with circular needles. And the answer to this question is: Yes! Of course it’s possible! As long as you are knitting a small project on the round, you can absolutely replace a set of 5 dpns  with circular needles and you can also do magic loop, if that’s your thing… We will obviously never show you how to knit “two at a time with magic loop” but the principle of knitting a sock on the round remains the same – regardless of whether you choose dpns or circulars.

Our best tip when knitting with dpns:

So, if you are considering trying knitting with dpns here is something you should always consider:

Selecting the right type of dpns for each individual project is essential!

The market is full of different kinds of needles: bamboo/wood, metal, aluminum, carbon, plastic and other kinds of composite materials. So, what should you consider when selecting your dpns? Well, it really depends on the project you are doing. If you are going to knit a pair of socks using a 4-ply yarn (fingering weight) suitable for needles 2.5 mm or 3 mm, we would recommend first timers on dpns to consider avoiding metal, aluminum and even carbon needles. In general, bamboo and wooden needles tend to be light weight and not so slippery (bamboo dpns in particular are a great favourite of ours) so there are less problems with needles that fall out of your knitting, especially in the beginning of a project where you cast on a very small number of stitches and before you start to increase.

Casting on with large wooden needles.

If you are knitting something  on the round, that you are going to stuff later on, like one of our Christmas balls or a doll, then you may want to tighten up your knitting so that the stuffing doesn’t show through, so metal needles would probably work much better, as they are less flexible than bamboo or wooden needles and won’t break/bend as easily as wooden needles do. If you decide on using metal needles, the squared ones tend to be less slippery and are actually quite comfortable to hold. Length is also very important, so make sure that you are not knitting with too short or too long needles. Personally, we will always choose the 18 cm (7”) needle length for socks. In both our cases, there is something very comfortable about that length when we hold them in our hands. Others may prefer shorter dpns  – but if they are too short for the number of stitches, you will have problems knitting on the round  as there is a big risk that you drop stitches, so be aware that shorter needles for small projects isn’t necessarily better.

Knitting a short row heel and top-down socks with bamboo needles.

So, next time you are considering doing something with dpns, think about the project that you want to make and select the needles accordingly. There are many choices available and there is always a perfection option for everyone. We’d also like to ask you to keep in mind that all LYS have dedicated and passionate people working there, who know how to knit and who can advise you and help you to select the type of needle which would work best for a specific project in order to help you take your knitting to the next level!

PS: If you haven’t seen our latest tutorial, you can catch up by clicking here.The pattern for the spiral sock is available here.

We hope you are enjoying knitting the spiral socks and we wish you a continued great week! See you on Sunday on YouTube at our usual time, 6:00pm CEST // 11:00am CDT


Calendar of events (click on links for more info)

May 28th – June 3rd, 2019: “Knitting Under the Midnight Sun”. Cruise along the stunning Norwegian coast together with us. Due to another cancellation, we still have 1 cabin available. More information is available here.

August 15th – 19th, 2019: Tour some of Britain’s most stunning gardens together with us. In addition to visiting some seriously beautiful gardens in the Cotswolds, we have tickets to Prince Charles’ Garden at his private residence, Highgrove. These tickets are almost impossible to come by, so this is a unique chance! There are still a few spots available. We are SO excited about this trip!! More information is available here.

March 3rd – 9th, 2020: “Knitting under the Northern Lights”. Cruise along the stunning Norwegian coast together with us. We just opened this cruise for registration and half of the spots are already gone. We expect it to sell out very soon. More information is available here.

    • Maryfrances Peters on May 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm


    Hi Arne and Carlos,

    I am new to watching your videos and I have to tell you that I love them. I have three of your books but I did not know about your online activities. I love them. I am hooked! I learned more about you from your KnitStars 3.0 section. I have already made one of the mittens and I so loved knitting it. Please don’t stop! I am from Massachusetts. Thank you!

    • The Knitting Leatherman on May 9, 2019 at 7:43 pm


    Hej, I really enjoy knitting your Christmas balls which make great presents (and some silly jokes). I always do them, scandinavian style on five needles and always on steel. So, just to add to your advice, I find steel dpns are best for me because they let the stitches slip along easily and not get caught up on the needles as they go. I once had an amusing conversation on a night bus with a really nice woman who, once she had gotten over her initial surprise at seeing me in full leathers take out knitting from inside my jacket, asked me why I used five not four needles. I explained this was how I had been taught and said it made more sense to me. She said she’d try it out and then said she thought it was very nice to see such a butch man knit!

    • Shirley Beard on May 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm


    I am a dedicated 2 at a time toe up magic loop knitter. I have knit more than a dozen A&C Design Line and Pairfect socks this way. But I was drawn to knitting the Gaute Spiral Socks from the tutorial and anxious to use my new Prym 2.5mm DPN needles so decided to give it a go. I absolutely love this pattern and the socks that are the result. And they knit up so FAST!! Yes I will have to knit a second sock but expect that it will be even quicker than the first. Yes, I still have Mountains and Fjords on the needles in my original methodology but am so pleased that you have added another dimension to my sock knitting. I will be making many more Gautes for those deserving people on my gift list with absolutely no worries whatsoever about fit. Genius. And so attractive on the lovely foot model in the video. 🤗

    • Mark Stewart on May 12, 2019 at 1:07 am


    Hey guys I’ve been knitting for around 8 years an never been able to knit up socks with the hell turn .I’ve knitted tube socks ,an the 2 in 1 that was fun but I’m glad to see a sick with out a turn lol ty so much can’t wait to give it a go

    • Susanna on May 13, 2019 at 10:33 am


    I’m addicted to you!
    Hope to meet you both one day, on one of your Norwegian cruises.
    Super cool guys you are, you are!
    I live in Cornwall, England.

    • Ellen on May 13, 2019 at 1:16 pm


    I learned to use dpns growing up and didn’t like magic loop either, but in 2001 I tried socks on 2 circulars from Cat Bordhi’s book and now use that method from everything in the round from mitten thumbs, to socks, hats, sleeves, and sweater bodies. I don’t get any laddering and my project is easily transportable without losing stitches. I have done socks 2 at a time but my preference is just one. I guess it’s like our overall knitting style…continental, English, picking, throwing, Portuguese, etc….be open to trying new things and use whatever you like. And in this case, I may give dpns another try. Thanks.

    • Kathy on May 13, 2019 at 2:11 pm


    I have used double pointed needles for years, though in sets of four, not five. I’m working to get better with sets of five but either way I have problems with carrying floats over the join between needles. How do you prevent the float from being tight? Should you catch it close to the end of the needle you are finishing or at the start of the new needle? Or somehow spread the stitches to keep the float loose? Thanks.

    • Norma Herrera on May 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm


    I originally learned to use DPNs when knitting small circular items, but I hated the “laddering” I would get at each juncture. Is there a technique that can prevent these? If so, I may give DPNs another try! Thank you.

      • Catherine Duncan on February 17, 2021 at 4:45 pm


      You could try pulling the 2nd stitch at the start of a new needle

    • Gisele Paquette on May 13, 2019 at 11:22 pm


    Hello, you guys are awesome as usual. I have some questions about knitting needles, whether metal, wood, bamboo or plastic. I knit a lot with cotton and find it difficult to knit with bamboo needles, especially when knitting 2 together or passing a slipped stitch over. I think I should try metal for that situation. How does the ball at the tip of Prym needles work? Are they ergonomic, and are they plastic? Do the stitches glide over the needles well enough? So many questions! Thank you so much for your mini tutorials. They keep my interest.

    1. Reply

      The Prym needles are ergonomic – they are triangular i shape and finished with a round tip. The material is composite. They are really great for knitting as they are very comfortable to hold. We love the way the stitches slide of the needle and the round tips are great for our way of knitting since we don’t prick our index finger every time we knit a stitch. We highly recommend them!

        • Anne on May 26, 2019 at 6:32 pm


        I have bought some Prym ergonomic dpns and have to say they are FANTASTIC .

    • Carol Greiner on May 14, 2019 at 3:17 am


    Hi Arne and Carlos… I so look forward to your weekly podcasts/videos. I am a self taught Knitter. I learned by observing other knitters, but could never understand why those I watched made so many hand movements when I coud accomplish great tension and even stitches just by grabbing the yarn from my index finger. Then I watched your videos (and I am totally addicted), and saw you knit the same way I do. I’ve since learned the terms Picking and throwing. I was wondering if sometime you might post directions for your pearling technique. I have watched it but am not getting it, as I am throwing my yarn when pearling and your way seems so much smoother. Thank you for your time.
    Carol Greiner
    North Carolina, USA

    • Karen strybos on May 14, 2019 at 9:42 am


    Hi Arne & Carlos. I was wondering what is your go to cast of for toe up socks?

    • Aiden on May 14, 2019 at 8:10 pm


    I’m new to the world of knitting. I am an American living in the mid west. Simply, I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for all that you do. Finally, I want to say that you sure strike a uncanny similarity to our famed late television knitter, Mr. Fred Rogers. It would be awesome to see your tour extend to an demonstration invite visit to Mr. Roger’s learning center, and give maybe a demonstration with their knitting lovers young and old. All out of loving good taste it would be. I’m pretty sure I am not the first to reference Mr. Rogers likeness between you and him. None the less, you’ve brighten up my day.

    Disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated with Mr. Fred Roger’s official educational in any way other than just a childhood fan of his work. Below, I’ve added the following link below for your interest.


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