Thursday, August 24, 2006

Make Your Own Knitting Needles

I figured out a way to make bamboo knitting needles without a lot of expense!! Woohoo! Unfortunately, it can take some time. Want to know how I did it? Great!! Here we go!!

Bamboo skewers (these can be found in your local department/kitchen store. Sometimes grocery stores have them with the kitchen utensils)
Really fine sandpaper
Your choice of polymer clay
Baking sheet

Optional: Kool-Aid, water, distilled white vinegar, old cup

1. Make sure you find two skewers that match in diameter--they're usually pretty close in the package, but watch out for warping, as well, although it doesn't affect the knitted piece.
2. Using the fine-grain sandpaper, carefully smooth out any roughness, paying close attention to the tips of the skewers--you don't want your needles to be too sharp!
3. (Optional) In the old cup, pour about 3/4 -1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a package of Kool-aid in the color of your choice. Stir until Kool-Aid is dissolved. Place your chosen skewers into the cup of Kool-Aid mixture for several hours. The bamboo will soak up the coloring. If desired, flip your skewers so the bamboo can soak up coloring on the other end, as well, leaving kind of a tie-die effect in the center of the skewer. Once the color is as you desire, set out to dry in a color-safe area. Once dry, follow with the proceeding steps.
4. Line the baking sheet with foil. Depending on how many pairs of knitting needles you're making, take more foil and make an accordion pattern with it. Place this on the foil-lined baking sheet.
5. Set your oven to the appropriate temperature on the package of the polymer clay.
6. (WARNING: DO NOT USE AROUND FOOD PRODUCTS OR WHERE FOOD IS TO BE CONSUMED OR PREPARED.)Using the clay of choice, make whatever type of fob (piece that fits on the end of the needle, opposite of the point) you like, making sure there are no bubbles in the clay. Tip: I take a tiny bit of clay, roll it into a worm, flatten it, then adhere it to the end. Then I add whatever design element I like. If you desire, add glass beads to your clay design.
7. Place your knitting needles into the slats of the accordioned foil on the baking sheet. Repeat step 6 as often as desired or until baking sheet is full.
8. Bake, following directions on the polymer clay package CAREFULLY. While baking, wash your hands to remove any residue. Do not allow children around the oven while baking, because the clay gives off harmful fumes.
9. Once baking is finished, allow your needles to cool--usually about 10 minutes or so. Now, you're ready to start knitting!!

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