How to Knit With Four Needles

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When you're tired of knitting scarves, afghans, dish cloths and other flat, square or rectangular objects and aspire to make socks, mittens and hats for your family and friends, it's time to graduate to knitting with four needles. Once you've mastered the art of four needles, there is nothing you can't make with yarn (and a little bit of time).
The basics of knitting with two needles, or even one circular needle, are very much part of knitting with four. So there's nothing to re-learn, just a little more to keep track of.

Things You'll Need

  • Set of 4 double-pointed needles
  • Yarn
  • Set of rubber slip-on needle ends
  • Select a yarn you consider easy to knit in a shade you like. This will help motivate you to keep knitting. Also, have a project in mind.

  • Cast on. Choose one of the four needles and slip a rubber needle end onto one point. Cast on stitches as usual.

  • Distribute the stitches. Unless the pattern specifies the amount of stitches per needle, slide some of the stitches onto two of the other needles, placing approximately 1/3 of the stitches per needle. Be certain the stitches aren't twisted around any of the needles before you begin knitting. Because you're knitting a connected tube instead of a square or rectangle, twisted stitches will cause an irreparable twist in your work unless you can unravel them.

  • Sit at a table. Because four needles are hard to manipulate at first, let the table surface support the needles you aren't actively working with-at least until you get used to handling all four needles at once.

  • Knit your yarn. Pick up the fourth needle and knit until you reach the end of the stitches on the first needle. Knit one or two more stitches from the next needle. This prevents a visible "seam" from forming in your work. Take the now-empty needle and repeat. You are now knitting with four needles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unlike two-needle knitting, knitting all stitches makes stockinette stitch; knitting and purling in alternate rows make garter stitch.

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