Then, I attended the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. Among other things, there were some people giving knitting lessons. I didn't stop by until the second day, by which time they had given away all their knitting needles. However, they offered to teach me using sharpened chopsticks. This worked reasonably well, although the yarn did catch a bit on the rough wood.
Back home, I had some disposable chopsticks lying around, so I decided to see if I could improve on the chopstick-knitting-needles idea.
Much thanks to the Maker Faire knitting people for the idea, and also for teaching me a way of casting on that I will actually remember.