Marjorie, a reader (and a blogger) asks:
" I recently got some very short [needles] ... but I haven't tried them yet. Do you have any advice on the length of the dpns? I thought these short ones might be more comfortable on a thin sock."
"De gustibus non est disputandum," "in matters of taste, there is no right and wrong." If you like them, and they work for you, go for it. BUT, I will say that the type of work being done doesn't influence the length of the needle as much as the interaction of your HAND and the needle--a very short dpn might be too short to get your hand on properly. If you look back at the illustrations in this blog, you'll see that every hand grasping a needle presses the needle between some fingers and the palm of the hand, or between the fingers and the heel of the thumb. In no case is any needle held in the fingers alone. Unfortunately, a very short needle might be too short to hold any way EXCEPT in the fingers alone--uncomfortable.
Long answer short: Make sure the dpn's are at least long enough to get a good grip on.
Polarbears, a reader, left this
"I wonder if you will suggest my own "unvented" solution.
Those first few [rounds of dpn knitting] can be maddening. I'd recommend finding an experienced knitter to 'start' your initial experiments with double points. That way you can perfect your technique first and then move on to attempting those slippery first rows when you are more comfortable with the process."
RESPONSE: Polarbears, you're right! If you're learning, find someone to cast-on your first dpn project. Makes learning dpn's easier AND contributes to community... I'll bet anything that a new dpn-er at a guild meeting--ANY guild meeting anywhere, will have knitters falling over themselves to be the first to help out. If you're the shy type, the nice folks at your LYS (local yarn shop) will be happy to get you going with the needles and yarn you just bought from them. (If you like knitting, you'll be back for more supplies!)
Another advantage: Obviously, I (of all people) think a lot can be accomplished by sitting quietly and looking at illustrated instructions, BUT adding that real-life component--watching someone else do it--is invaluable.
Dear Readers: If you are feeling bold, and if you have anything to say or ask about dpn's, consider speaking out in the comments. If it's a question to you, it's probably a question to others.... If it is a neat trick which worked for you, others will be glad to know of it, too.