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At first I also thought DPNs were really awkward but I don't mind them now. I use the Swallow type needles, which are made of casein and are at least reasonably soft. Metal DPNs really make my knuckles hurt (arthritis?) so I recommend wood or plastic of some nature.

A couple other things:
- If you tend to knit loosely, make sure you pull the first st after you change needles snug so you don't get that laddery gap thing.
- For me, it's easiest if both ends of the needle I'm working on are above the needles around it. Also, the "back end" of the needle I've just finished goes UNDER the one next to it. I'm not sure that makes sense without a photo but it works so much more easily.
- Also, I place the needle I'm working onto ABOVE the needle I've just finished.
- During the first few rounds, I inevitably feel like the work is an octopus that will attack me. Once you get a few rounds in, it sort of "stabilizes" itself and becomes much, much easier to work with.

I hope at least one of these helps you! I remember being so frustrated when I first used DPNs.
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