We cut some dowels to fit a window we were hanging curtains for and forgot to take out the trash last week, so I had no room left in my recycling bin to stuff the remnants in. Fortunately, I have so desperately been wanting to contribute to the instructables community, so I gathered the discarded cut pieces off the floor to bring you this idea.
Disclaimer: This is my first one, so if you have feedback about what I could post differently next time, I won't be offended, but please be gentle (and I'll thank you now for making my next Instructable more instructable :)
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Step 1: Stuff You'll Need
Those left over dowel pieces/remnants
A pencil sharpener with a hole big enough to put the dowel in (or an Exacto Knife if your dowel is too big for the sharpener)
Several grades of Sand Paper (Coarse to fine)
Some kind of oil (lavender/olive)
Step 2: Sharpen the Ends
For each dowel, sharpen one end to your desired pointed shape. You can use either the pencil sharpener (if it will fit) or an Exacto Knife.
If you want double-pointed needles, follow this step for the other end of your dowel.
Step 3: Sand the Dowel
Like filing your nails, rub in one direction. When you want to sand the angled edges, wrap the paper around the pointed part, hold it with your hand and turn the down with your other hand, like you're sharpening a pencil.
Start with the coarsest sand paper you have working your way to the finest until all the splinters are gone (you don't want that precious yarn fraying before the project is even finished! nor do you want the knitter's hands bleeding all over their expensive cashmere!)
Step 4: Embellish and Treat, As Needed
when you have a finely smoothed instrument, you can decorate it with markers, paint (in thin layers, not letting it distort the smoothness of the point or shaft), or just leave it natural.
When you're done decorating (or if you chose not to), rub any exposed wooden surfaces with oil - it will take care of any hanging shaving fuzz and give it a nice shine, making your new knitting needles look nice and pretty. (Tip: To prevent from having an overly greasy needle, instead of pouring the oil directly on, I put a few drops of the oil on my palm and rubbed the needle with that greased hand.) You might have to let it cure a few hours and do this process again to get a well-conditioned needle.
Step 5: Knit
Get to it!