Modded Circular Needles
Hate double-pointed knitting needles? I do — they slip out of my
fingers and then out of the stitches. So I make my own short circular
needles. Here’s how.
You will need: Bamboo circular needles with a tube rather than
1. Shorten the tubing.
a cable (check eBay; alternately, any cheap bamboo circulars and
some ¼" flexible PVC tubing), box cutter, solvent (rubbing alcohol
and/or acetone), super glue, cotton balls, tin snips or the equivalent
(I use penny cutter shears), small pencil sharpener, sandpaper
( 100 and 220 grit), cake of beeswax
Carefully slit the tubing where it attaches to one of the points and apply solvent with a cotton ball to loosen the tubing from the
point. Then cut the tubing to size. For very short needles, the tubing should be at least twice the point length to avoid harming
the tubing during use. I use 1½" points and 4" tubing for my 7" needles and still wear them out.
2. Shrink your bamboo needles.
Using your shears, cut the 2 bamboo points to the same length. (Save the extra parts! You can use them, too.) Next, pencil-sharpen the bamboo stumps to shape them appropriately — this requires using the sharpener at a shallower angle than usual.
Use medium ( 100 grit) and then very fine (220 grit) sandpaper to smooth the new needle tips. Wipe them down, and then go
over them with beeswax to fill in remaining gaps.
3. Reassemble your needles.
Put a dab of super glue on the plug of each detached tip, and then fiddle it into the
tubing. You’re done!
Oh, but let’s not waste materials. You should have a length of tubing and
some bamboo needle left over, including already-shaped tips.
Illustrations by Dustin Hostetler
a. Cut the already-shaped tips down to size with your shears. (Keep the leftover
bamboo; you might want to make more needles.)
b. Using your box cutter, sharpen the blunt ends of the tips so that you can use
them as plugs for the tubing.
c. Cut the tubing to size and glue in the tips!
Sarah-Marie Belcastro is the director of the Hampshire College Summer
Mathematics Program and a devotee of knitting.