One of the most rewarding things to do is to create in order to create. Knitting is a craft that results in many thoughtful and useful items–baby socks, shawls, or blankets, just to name a few. These items can be made especially for those we love or, equally as endearing, for those whom we may or may not know, but for whom we care enough about to make a difference. Perhaps the baby socks are made for babies born prematurely who remain in a local NICU; or shawls are made for elderly ladies in a local nursing home; or blankets are made for the local homeless population. But what if your creativity also shined before the knitting begins? What if you are able to use your love of woodworking to make simple knitting needles? Using a wooden dowel and a few other supplies, you can!
First, secure the appropriately sized dowel with which you would like to knit. Although you can certainly use manufactured knitting needles as a reference to gauge size, the wonder of making your own knitting needles is that they can be made according to your personal preferences of comfort and functionality. This is true of both dowel diameter and length.
Once the preferred length is determined, use a pencil to mark the dowel at the appropriate length plus about 1/2 an inch. Use a saw to cut the dowel at the mark. Then, using at least 200 grade sandpaper, sand the cut end until smooth. The additional 1/2 inch allotted before the wood dowel was cut allows for the desired length in spite of the potential for loss due to the necessary sanding.
To make the needle, chisel the opposite end of the dowel into a point, much like that of a pencil. Once the point is clearly identifiable from chiseling, use the sandpaper to smooth it well. You may choose to use a higher grade to be certain that the needle is smooth enough to avoid snagging the yarn while knitting.
Once the above steps have been completed, so have your knitting needles. However, consider customizing them by applying wooden dowel caps to the rounded, non-pointed end of the dowel. Simply purchase caps that will fit the diameter of the hardwood dowel you’re using, apply a drop or two of wood glue or use a hot glue gun, and insert the dowel into the hole of the cap. Allow a few moments for the glue to dry. Also, if you so desire, consider staining the knitting needles. Or leave them as is for a more natural, earthy quality.
This craft is just one of many that proves that dowels are perhaps one of the easiest, most versatile woodworking supplies with which to work and produce some of the most creative crafts. mypopsox