Intro: Street (Knitting) Needles
I love knitting because it is an art form it is socially acceptable to do almost anywhere. I love that I can take my knitting with me when I travel but I often end up breaking a needle in a foreign city. I tend to knit with a 6.5mm needle. 6.5mm is approximately the diameter of of many pieces of wood that can be found in the urban environment. I have made emergency knitting needles from broken knitting needles, pencils, paint brushes, dowels, and dead tree branches,
Step 1: Find Your Makeshift Materials and Workshop
Take stock of your environment:
Knitting needles can be made out of broken needles, chopsticks, dowels, paint bushes, pencils and/or dry dead tree branches
Knitting needles can be shaped with knives, utility knives, keys, sandpaper, pavement, asphalt, windows and/or large rocks.
Road and Curb: Many streets are paved with corse asphalt. Sidewalks are generally concrete.
Restaurants: Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants have chopsticks that they may give you with (or without) a meal. Bamboo chopsticks are ideal because they tend to be straight grained.
Grocery Stores & Malls : Grocery stores often have a kitchen supply section, or food court with chopsticks. The store may also have
pencils, paintbrushes, sandpaper and utility knives.
Kitchen Supply Stores: Kitchen supply stores may carry chopsticks and brushes.
Hardware, Hobby or Craft Stores: Hardwood dowels can be found in various sizes at most hardware, hobby and art stores. If you find a hardware store you may also want to purchase sandpaper and an utility knife.
Park & or Landscaping: Landscaping often includes trees or bushes and large rocks. Most trees have several small dry dead limbs. Dead limbs will not have leaves on them in the summer and should make a satisfying snap when broken. Larger parks often have a brush pile where you can steal a few prunings. Tear the branch straight down and off the trunk of the tree. The bark can be scraped off the branch with a fingernail or a key.
Step 2: Trimming
Trim the piece of wood to the approximate length with a knife, your hands or teeth.
Step 3: Roughing Out the Shape
Find a very rough surface like asphalt and rough out the end of the piece of wood. Asphalt can be used like a giant rasp. A match striking motion will wear wood the wood away without fraying the end. Pull down rather than rubbing back and forth (or the end may fray and split). Rotate the wood after each strike. Once the corners are worn off switch to a finer surface.
Step 4: "Sanding"
A finer surface like concrete will act more like sandpaper. Continue using the match striking motion on the finer surface. A knitting needle tip does not need to be round, but the surface may be rounded by incorporating a twist in the striking motion.
Step 5: Burnishing
The knitting needle can be finished by using the same motion on an extremely smooth surface (like glass). Use the same motion on an inconspicuous window.
Step 6: Get Back to Knitting!
Congratulations - recommence knitting.
The wool may continue to smooth out the needles. If there are snags, the wood is not sufficiently smooth.