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How to make your own knitting needles by Elemental Handcrafts

How to make Your Own Knitting Needles with Kids

by, Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts

A wise woman once told me that the best way to teach your child to knit is to start at the beginning; by having your child make his or her own needles. In this tutorial, I will teach you step by step how to make your own wooden knitting needles, with your child. Wood is the best material for a person to knit with as the wood holds the warmth of the hands while you knit. The smell of the beeswax polish acts as natural aromatherapy as the needles click-clack their way through the yarn and into what will hopefully become a lifelong love of knitting.

We’ll start at the beginning. The “ingredients” you will need are as follows:

  • one 36” wooden dowel -size and wood type depends on your preference
  • sand paper – coarse, medium and fine
  • beeswax or other natural wax or oil (an almost used up candle or crayon works)
  • a bit of wool roving
  • dish soap
  • warm water
  • a soft cloth
  • glue
  • scissors

Start with your store bought wooden dowel. The easiest to find is likely to be birch wood. You can also special order cherry, walnut, maple or other hard woods if you prefer, but the birch is easy to work with and easy to find. The size to buy depends also, on your preference. Bringing a knitting needle sizer, (found at craft or knitting stores) is a good idea. For a child just learning, large easy to handle needles are best. Choose a dowel that is smooth and straight.

Knitting Needle Sizer

Have an adult carefully cut the dowel down to knitting needle size. Ten inches is a good starting size. The child can now help sand one end of each needle into a point, using the coarse sand paper. It’s easiest to lay the paper flat on the ground and rub the needle on the paper, turning it often so the tip stays relatively even. Help her with this and assist so that you don’t end up with too sharp a point. The tip should be gradual as it flows into the rest of the needle. Do this for both needles.

Once you are happy with the shapes of your needle tips, use your medium grit sand paper to sand the whole needle, tip to end, and follow this sanding by repeating with the fine sand paper until your needles are as smooth as can be. Then finish the wood with your wax. I like to use a beeswax based polish made for salad bowls. If you’d like a vegan alternative, you can use a crayon or non beeswax candle, or just a simple olive oil. Buff it to a shine with a soft cloth.

Now comes the top. You can use many things for a personalized and colorful knitting needle topper. In the past I’ve used wooden or glass beads, acorns, slices from a branch, clay sculptures and even small pebbles glued into place with strong glue.

Today we’ll make felted wool needle toppers. To do this we will make a wool bead. Take a small piece of carded wool roving.

Roll it into a tight ball and while holding tighlty, dip the ball into very warm soapy water. Roll the wool ball in your palms until it starts to tighten up. It will get softer and mushy feeling before it tightens. You might want to get this started for your child. Once you feel it tighten, keep rolling it and dipping as needed until you have a solid, wool, bead. This should take about two to three minutes. Practice rolling the dry wool and felting it a few times to determine how much wool you need to get the size bead that looks best on your needles. This can take a little practice, but is fun to do.

Once the bead is dry, (a sunny window will speed things up), have an adult use sharp scissors to snip a little sclice in one side of the bead. Try the bead on the flat tip of your needle and once it fits nicely, add a little strong glue and put the bead back on the needle and let dry completely.

You are now ready to knit!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through my shop:

If you prefer your knitting needles already made, visit my shop in March as I’ll br re-stocking my stash of colorful and unique knitting needles! Thanks for reading and have fun!