making knitting needles

My mother-in-law was a Waldorf school teacher many years ago so she was keen to teach our children how to knit.  The first step she taught them was how to make their own knitting needles!

She started them with 3/8" needles(=9mm or #13) but today we made a pair of 1/4"(=6mm or #10) and 3/16"(=5mm or #8).  The method is the same for any thickness and they are surprisingly quick to make.

To make one pair you will need:
~ two 1/4"x12" hardwood dowels
(or two 3/16"x12" dowels)
~ two 3/4" beads with 1/4" hole
(or 1/2" bead with 3/16" hole)
~ sandpaper (we used 150 and 320 grit)
~ glue (I like to use Weldbond)
~ beeswax polish and rag for polishing

Here's a handy knitting needle conversion chart.

To make the needles:
Traditional Waldorf methods have the children sand the ends of the dowel to a point.

I found using a pencil sharpener speeds up the process and the kids don't lose interest. (shh don't tell my MIL! ;o)

The pencil sharpener makes them too sharp so the children sand down the points until both needles are identical and smooth!  It's a very forgiving project as you can always start over by resharpening the dowels and adjusting the length so that they are the same.

When the pointy end is nicely rounded then sand the opposite end of the dowel in a twisting motion until the bead fits securely on the end.

Glue the beads on with a bit of glue.

When the glue is dry you can polish the needles with beeswax polish. 

Beeswax polish

4oz olive oil
2oz shaved beeswax

Pour into a mason jar (or melt it directly in the mason jar if you are using a microwave)  It's VERY hot so be careful!
Let it cool and harden up before using.

To apply:
Rub a rag into the jar and rub over your knitting needles. Let sit for about 1/2 hr and then polish with a dry cloth until silky soft!

Enjoy that this is a chemical free product that is safe enough for young children to use! :o)

And for those looking for a great starter knitting book...I know because I'm a starter knitter myself!...I recommend Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick.

Happy knitting!
~ joey ~ 

Featured on:
The Crafty Crow 


  1. You've just been tagged by me on the Liebster Blog Award! Hop on to my blog to know more! :)

  2. A great project for any age. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Joey, these are awesome. We've never made our own needles, but having seen just how easy it is, we have got to try! I'll be linking on Wee Folk Art's Facebook Page. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I just found your blog from Wee Folk Art. I love your creations and these knitting needles are great! I am now a new follower. I would be honored if you gave me a visit and considered following me back.

    1. Welcome Anastasia!
      Thanks I'm so glad you found me!
      Your little ones are adorable, I look forward to seeing what you all do together!
      ~ joey ~

    2. I love this. I found it while I was home from school, and I am definately ready to make this. As a matter of fact, I'm going to book mark your page.

  5. Wow you made them by yourself - amazing!!!

    1. Give it a try you'll be amazed at how seriously simple they are to make! ;o)
      ~ joey ~

  6. This just changed my life. No more $13 sets of knitting needles for me! Whew! Thanks.

  7. Investing in luxury yarns is not only a treat for the senses but also a way to support small and independent businesses in the yarn industry.

  8. Watching a ball of yarn transform into a sweater is like witnessing a magical transformation. The process of knitting or crocheting creates a connection between the maker and the garment, making it even more special.


I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~