I'm not a university student, but I was once a new knitter, and these cakes of yarn are affordable, attractive, and much more accessible than the yarn that the "real" knitters buy, which is sold by the pound and more often than not is very fine.
All that is to say, I had amassed a collection of those crude wooden DPNs meant for one-time scarf use because every time I purchased a cake, I got a pair for free. I had all sizes from 7mm to 12mm, and only once did I find a seller who had them in the "small" size of 6mm. I got four of those.
So I was all ready to start knitting in the round. But trying to knit a hat, which is about 20" in circumference, on three splintery wooden needles, each of which measures 14" in length, proved to be too challenging a task.
Eventually I learned about, and acquired, circular needles, in both 32" and 16" lengths, as well as nice, smooth, 25cm/8" (I think) DPNs, both in stainless steel and bamboo.
|The bottom half of these sleeves are knit flat, in garter stitch, just the way I like it. But do you see the tops of those sleeves? Short DPNs, to the rescue! To-be-released Bloc Pullover by Kathleen Dames in Applelaine Apple Pie (lavender) and some wonderfully soft alpaca/wool blend mill ends purchased from one my two favorite Taobao shops.|
All that faffing about, sliding stitches from one end of the DPN to the other, or even worse, pulling the length of the cable through while magic looping just wasn't doing it for me. For the most part, I avoided socks, leg warmers, arm warmers -- anything usually knit in a small tube, and especially when those tubes came in pairs.
|Thanks to my short DPNs, I am now happily knitting away on socks. But doing the same sock twice is still proving to be a challenge. Left: Hedera by Cookie A in Patons Kroy. Right: Unisox by Nicole Montgomery in Regia Monaco Color.|
And then I had a thought -- maybe I just needed some shorter DPNs. For months I searched Taobao for short DPNs. There were tons of DPNs on there, but only "short" (25cm, which I already had, and weren't short enough for my purposes) and "long" (40cm), which I have absolutely no interest in. (I knit Continental style whereas most Chinese knitters seem to knit lever style, and thus the long length can effectively rest between their thumb and forefinger. Interestingly, these super-long DPNs are quite scarce in other parts of the world, and I occasionally see posts on Ravelry asking where they can be found. The answer is China). I saw that the sets of 5" DPNs were available from Chinese sellers all over Ebay, so I redoubled my Taobao searching efforts, trying all the search terms I could think of that might lead me to the prize, but to no avail.
Finally, one day, while I was searching for a silk/wool blend to stripe into my Rondeur sweater, I came across this shop, which carried the 13cm DPNs I'd spent so much time looking for. They also carried circulars in hard-to-find extra-long lengths. Hallelujah! I immediately put in an order for a set of the DPNs.
|While perusing the craft section of a local bookstore, I found this book of top-down sweater patterns. The original is Japanese. I will be getting lots of use out of my DPNs when I knit all those in-the-round sleeves!|