DPNs vs magic loop method

dpnsvsmlThis is my review on which method I prefer for knitting in the round: DPNs (double pointed needles) or the magic loop method (using circular needles).  If you’re new to knitting, maybe this post will be helpful!

For those who don’t know exactly what each method entails — both can be confusing — KnitPicks has beaten me to making a good explanatory video on how to knit both ways:

And I know it may look like it, but I’m not sponsored by KnitPicks… I just like their needles and they had the best video I could find.  That video also includes knitting with two circulars, but I’ve never done that so I don’t have an opinion on it either way.  Let’s get started.

double pointed needles

Double pointed needles (DPNs) have been the traditional way of knitting small-ish objects in rounds for a very very long time.  Think socks, hats, mittens, Easter egg decorations, whatever small tubular things you can think of.  Let’s look at some pros and cons:


  • Most patterns for circular small-ish objects are already written for DPNs because that’s the traditional way.
  • You don’t have to deal with the “wings” of the magic loop method.
  • DPNs are available in very small needle sizes.


  • DPNs can feel like you’re wrestling with a pointy wooden spider, especially when you’re just learning.
  • Because there are more transitions between needles than with the magic loop method, there are more places where your tension could be off, potentially leaving ladders of loose stitches all the way down your project.
  • DPNs often aren’t available in the larger needle sizes.
  • There are many possibilities for your yarn to slip off the needles, since they don’t have ends.

Not looking too good, huh?  Let’s check out the other one:

magic loop method

The magic loop method is a very new technique, so many patterns do not have specific instructions for it.  Sounds bad, but let’s see:


  • With a little practice, you can adapt patterns written for DPNs to suit the magic loop technique.
  • You don’t have to juggle as many needles as with DPNs.
  • You don’t have to worry as much about your work slipping off your needles because there are only two possible ends to slip off of.
  • Circular needles are available in larger needle sizes.


  • Circular needles sometimes aren’t available in small sizes.
  • Those “wings” can take up a bunch of space.
  • Tension issues can still take place — for instance my transitions from one half of the work to the other are always really tight, making it harder to slide the needles through.

OK, so DPNs have 3 pros and 4 cons, and magic loop method has 4 pros and 3 cons.  I guess then that my personal favorite would have to be…..


DPNs!  Surprised?  That’s just my personal preference.  Many people who are frustrated with DPNs are very grateful to have an alternative such as the magic loop method, and honestly I’m glad it’s an option, too.  However, since both methods are relatively awkward it’s really just a matter of what works best for me.  I don’t have as many tension issues with DPNs, and for me the magic loop method just takes up too much space to knit comfortably next to others.  Also, if you get wooden or bamboo needles you won’t have to worry so much about your stitches slipping off, since they’ll have a nice grip to them, thus pretty much eliminating that con, in my opinion.  Considering that some pros and cons weigh more or less than others in importance, my favorite is DPNs.  Plus, DPNs look really complicated to everyone else, so they’re impressed by our mad skills.

Since it’s really just personal preference, which do you like best?  Do you have any pros or cons for either method that I didn’t mention?    Any questions?

I hope this post was both entertaining and helpful, and as always, thanks for stopping by!  I’ll have something on crochet next time!

ski bonnet: begin!

Remember that awesome ski bonnet that I wanted to make?  Well, I’m gonna make it!

I’ll be using 3 skeins of Berroco Vintage in their Dewberry shade, which I had to purchase today, even though I said I couldn’t afford yarn this month.  I swear, this yarn was the cheapest yarn in the store that still felt soft.  I’m gonna just say this is my birthday present to myself.

So I started the pattern, and I was immediately struggling.  I know how to do the magic loop method but I’m still not good at keeping the breaks between the sides tight and even, so that was all over the place.  Maybe I should try it on double points, which I’m more used to, so I don’t have those “wings?”  In row 1 I immediately had to learn two new things, as well: the Left Twist and the Right Twist.  I think I’m doing them right.  (Check out those links for video tutorials on YouTube.)

In the end, my first 6 rows looked so shabby that I frogged it.  I think I’m going to practice with some spare yarn to get the hang of the pattern first before trying it again with my nice magenta yarn.  Anybody have any advice for me?

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