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What kind of cable or tube would you use to join 2 knitting needles of 2mm-3.5mm diameter? Answered

I am looking to create custom circular needles--each of which consists of 2 1-pointed needles connected by a smooth, flexible cable.

This project is to provide access to knitting socks and certain other projects to a friend whose physical limitations make it impossible without the following:

~~~~ Circular knitting needles of which the metal needle portions are no less than 10" in length and between 2mm and 3.5mm in diameter. Cable length may be between 20cm-80cm depending on the project. ~~~~

What I'm stuck on is what kind of cable to use and how to attach said cable so that the yarn slides over it smoothly, going either way over the join.

I can either cut the ends off of straight needles or use needles with double points--I thought the double pointed ones would allow the needle to slide into a hollow cable that could be meddled with so as to make a smooth join. it is possible that the larger needles are hollow and could have a cable inserted, but that would be very small.

I am happy to entertain the idea of other material for the needles--it must be strong enough to do stitches without flexing. Bamboo has been tried and is out, given the length and diameter. The needles I have on hand are, as far as I know, made of steel.

If I get anywhere, I'll post an 'Ible.

Thanks in advance,



Best Answer 7 years ago

I like rickharris' idea of using a bicycle brake cable.

You'll need to fasten it somehow, though. Probably the most secure way would be to cut the end off the needle, then drill a hole in the end to fit the diameter of the brake cable (use a drill press and clamp!!). Glue the cable in with JB Weld, then form a nice bevel with something flexible that will stick to the metal (Sugru, maybe?)

I haven't a clue as to what Sugru is, btw, but I think I will be finding out.

Do you think that one could weld a needle to a cable? A friend of mine is a welder and might be able to do me a favour.

Could be tricky. The cable is usually stainless steel (well, any cable worth using and owning is), which is tricky to weld - especially when it's being welded to aluminum needles!

Because the needles are so thin, I think I might need some kind of sleeve (I thought I read about a plastic tubing that shrank when heated, I will have to look) to join needle and cable. But I think you are right about the brake cable being a good idea.

Fortunately, I can find needles at the Salvation Army store to practice on. :)


Best thought I've got for homebrew is to turn down the inner end of the needles, and fit flexible plastic tubing between them which has the same OD as the needle stock. I don't knit, so I have no idea how well or poorly that would work.

I've seen friends using plastic knitting needles which are a pair of needles on either end of a flexible section, but I don't think those have the stiff end you're looking for. Still, "if it happens it must be possible" so maybe similar materials can be obtained and formed.... (Start with a rod of the right plastic, heat the center, and draw it out the way one draws glass to get the thinner, more flexible, middle?)

As long as the tubing can be tapered down, it would work out fine. Ideally, I'd find something that would be heat-shrink or maybe find some kind of taping that would work.

I've even considered using a loooong strip of duct tape and setting the needles on each end, then rolling carefully to make a cable that's stuck to the needles. If I get desperate, I might try it. :p

Seconded on the turning -- I've never seen steel knitting needles, only plastic or aluminum. ...turn it down so it matches the ID of the tubing required.

Older needles and the very thin needles are often steel. Some needles are glass, acrylic, or even casein. There's always wood, but I would have to know more about it to know what the flexibility of a 3mm diameter piece 10" long would be.

Plastic coated curtain wire - The sort that looks like a spring when you peel the plastic coat off. This + a couple of suitable needle points should do.

Failing that some cycle brake cable (Bowden cable) might do the job if you can attach it to the needle points - are the needles hollow when you cut them?

I'll look for both of those this weekend, thanks, Rick! There's a cycle shop downtown that's very friendly. (Yay for neighborhood stores!)