Some years ago, I saw a pattern on TV on how to make a sock. At that time, I didn’t have double pointed knitting needles and didn’t have the funds to purchase a set of them (when I looked, few stores carried them and they were all way toO much for a set of 4).
Well, while visiting my sister’s house I’d seen a small stack of chop sticks that she kept on hand for my niece who preferred using them (and still does). She let me borrow 3 pairs (6 sticks plus she was nice enough to let me have some sanding paper). I went home and got to work. Smoothed down the tips and smoothed out any roughness and made myself 6 double pointed needles out of bamboo chopsticks.
I still have 4 of them, 2 got eaten by my dog. Did not hurt my feelings at all, I got another set of chopsticks and replaced it soon enough. The great thing about them is just that – if I lose one or break one or just need another, I make it. Since then, whenever we’d go to an Asian restaurant or order Asian food, we’d make sure to get chopsticks.
Now I have too many.
I measured the chopsticks (many many chopsticks later) and they tend to run around a size u.s.8 which is around 5 m.m.
I’ve found I like the wooden ones because they weight less and unlike steel they don’t get cold in my hands. I’ve also heard that wooden needles are easier for artheritic hands.
I’ve used furniture polish to make them shiny and slicker, which does not hurt the yarn at all, just make sure to take a cloth and wipe any extra off. Though they do tend bow a little I’ve noticed but I think that happened after I’ve used them so often or that was the way they came, I just think it gives them character.
Also I have several sets, some I sanded a point at both ends and others I’ve left the end flat. They work fine.
Right now I’m making a steering wheel cover for my sister and myself and though the yarn calls for a size u.s.9 or 5.5 m.m. , I like the weave the chopsticks have made – I don’t think it’s too tight or too loose. I’ve just got to do the ties and attach them to the covers and they will be done.
You want to make sure to get the rounded chopsticks not the ones that you have to break apart (the ones that are joined all the way down the chopsticks and are square)-they are too much work to sand.
Ialso have come across some that only about 1 inch at the flat end was together. They are fine as long as the main body of the chopstick is round.
My niece brought me a 3 set that has a little ring engraving-like cut out at the non-pointed end and they worked just fine and the little ring gives them a sort of decorative look.
Someone once asked me how I stop the yarn from falling off the flat end of the needle and I’ve never had a problem with it. But it got me to thinking – most of the projects I’ve used them with have been small things: hats, gloves and socks. but if I wanted to make a blanket it might pose a problem.
While watching a knitting show, the hostess wanted to decorate her knitting needles and she used modeling clay to make decorative stoppers for her knitting needles and glued them in place. I have not tried it but I’m pretty sure that beads or anything with a hole large enough that the needle can pass through could be glued to the end as well as modeling clay.
I’ve expanded my search of wooden knitting needles. The little shish kabob skewers or sticks are a size u.s. 3 which is 3.25 m.m.
They don’t require sanding to a point – they require sanding the point to a dull tip and then smoothing out the rest of the stick/skewer. They work well with lacy weight yarns and at around $1 for a bag of them, not too bad.
And, I’m looking at dowels. because they come in more sizes and I have an electric sander to make it easier.