If you are thinking about learning to use double-pointed needles (dpns), but intimidated by the prospect of socks, consider mittens.

Mittens are very easy to make, and take much less time than socks.  I prefer knitted mittens to store-bought because they are more flexible than the poofy, padded kind and don't snag they way commercial knitted mittens do.  Mittens for children are especially convenient and useful.

Many people first experience dpns when decreasing at the top of a hat, but I don't think that use is a very good preparation for projects made entirely on dpns.  Like so many things in knitting, the easiest way to learn is simply to jump in and try.  Hats are usually knit out of heavier yarns than socks, mittens, or gloves, which means they use larger needles.  Those larger needles are naturally heavier than the needles used for most dpn projects, and that weight is inconvenient.

Really, any needle larger than a US 8 (5mm) will want to slide out of your stitches when you use dpns. Mittens are perfect for getting comfortable with smaller yarns and needles, as well as the accompanying smaller gauge.

As cool weather approaches (not to mention opportunities for gift-giving!), consider making a pair of mittens for yourself or a child you know.