When I leave the house, I always have a yarn project with me in case I end up with a few free minutes. At school pick-up the other week I found myself with 10 minutes and a ball of yarn and no crochet hook or knitting needles. Oops. It started me thinking, and I decided to see whether I could make my own knitting needles. They are just pointed bits of wood. It couldn’t be too tough.
I bought some 36 inch long, 1/4″ (6.35 mm) dowels (50 cents each) and cut one into five 7 inch lengths.
I sharpened both ends in a pencil sharpener, but they felt a little rough, so I sanded with some fine sandpaper. They felt too dry, so I rubbed them with some olive oil and beeswax skin balm I happened to have.
The result looks like regular double pointed needles, just a little thicker and shorter than the cheap 6 mm, 8-inch ones I have been using (darker needle, below.)
But would they work? The answer is yes, with a minor qualification. They worked well for regular, smooth, plied yarn. They were a bit awkward for fuzzy boucle yarn because it catches on even the tiniest rough spot. I wouldn’t replace all my store bought needles with homemade ones, but it’s an easy, cheap way to have plenty of extra needles. Now I can stash some, with a small ball of yarn, in the car or my purse and not be caught unprepared again.
Then I started thinking, what if I were really in a pinch? What if I didn’t have a craft store or a hardware store, or just wanted really quick needles for a project*? How about pencils? I had some double pointed colored pencils, so I gave it a try. Again, it works as long as the yarn is pretty smooth and you work a little loosely.
I cast on fewer stitches for the center, blue hat, so I expected it to be smaller. The pink hat was done with the thicker pencils, and the striped hat with thinner store bought needles, so the pink is a little larger.
*The yarn-but-no-needles scenario isn’t totally far fetched. It hasn’t just happened at school pick-up. I was at a kids activity for a few hours early in the winter, and they had a bunch of yarn for a wrapping project, which nobody was doing. I had my hands free and had forgotten my usually project bag. I ended up finger crocheting a scarf while I sat there. If I had thought a little more, I might have grabbed a pair of pencils instead.