101 Uses for Straight Needles

needlesIt happens to all of us.  We begin, as new knitters, knitting away on our 14″ straight needles, scarf after scarf after scarf until we’ve equipped everyone we know with warm, handmade neckware.  Eventually we get bored with squares and rectangles and we venture into increases and decreases.  We try a hat knit in the round.  Later we’re on to lace, cables, and socks.  One day we discover that knitting on circulars is much more comfortable than straight needles, so we start replacing our straight needles with circulars with each new project.  Maybe we buy the Denise Interchangable set.  God help us if someone introduces us to Addi Turbos, because there’s no going back after Addis.

So what do we do with all those straight needles we’ve accumulated?  Some of us pass them along to the new knitters, or dump them at Goodwill, or list them on eBay.  Others may hang on to them because they are beautiful things.  Maybe they are antiques.  Maybe we inherited the needles our moms and grandmothers once used.  Maybe we just like the way they look in a nice piece of stoneware.

I have found new uses for my straight needles have talked to others with some unique uses too.  I wondered if there really could be 101 Uses for Straight Needles. Here starts the list…

needle-pot1) Back Scratcher – This has to be the most popular use for the straight knitting needle.  It’s just the right length and it’s always within reach of the serious knitter.

2) Conversation Piece – What’s lovelier than a crock of needles, I ask you?




3) Cat Scratcher – Perfect for those with allergies or if you want to keep your cat 14″ away from your expensive, handspun yarn.


4) Pom Pom Maker – And here’s how:



Step one: Grab a handful of knitting needles that’ll be about the diameter of your desired pom pom.



Step two: Wrap your yarn around the needles leaving long tails at the beginning and end of your yarn for cinching the pom pom and attaching it to your knitware.




Step three:  Remove all but two needles.



Step four:  Wrap the two tails in opposite directions around the pom pom and pull as tight as possible.  Tie the tails to secure them.




Step five:  Cut the pom pom edges.



Step six: Now you have a pom pom, go and adorn things.


So the list has begun.  Post your alternate uses for straight needles and let’s see if we can find 101 uses.


13 responses to “101 Uses for Straight Needles

  1. 5. When I worked at the library in the tech services dept, I would use straight knitting needles to apply glue to the inner spine of the book when it came unglued. But that’s a commitment right there. You can’t knit with those suckers after the glue has dried…

    6. Didn’t Elizabeth Zimmermann say once she used her straight needles somehow to repair the motor in her motorboat? I don’t own a motorboat, so I can’t say from experience…

  2. 7. My used Singer sewing machine didn’t come with a pin to hold the spool of thread on top. A size 6 US straight needle holds the spool just perfectly. Picture on my blog: http://handknitsbysusan.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/sewingmachine2.jpg

    8. Markus suggested using extra straight needles as supports for house plants, which I think I might try sometime. He also thought you could use them for a game of pick-up-sticks, but that’s debatable.

  3. 9. Chopsticks, ideally bamboo, although it may hurt if you slip!

    10. Hair sticks/holders – although that may be more like that one’s hair is a good place to stick your needles, instead of your needles being a good way to hold up your hair.

    11. Skewer — well, mostly, I’ve used a needle to stab, retrieve, and pick up a runaway ball of yarn — but surely there are other things you can jab with a needle in a useful (and less violent) manner

  4. 12. Teach spawn to knit with them. If you’re lucky, spawn will consider the straight needles a fabulous gift and will be content to experiment them, but will leave your Addi Turbos alone.

    13. Retrieve things under bookcases with them.

  5. 14. Lisa K used to spear feeder fish with straight needles to feed to her turtle.

    15. She has also used them as chop sticks, which Beth mentioned, and as a makeshift spoon to eat chili.

  6. 16. I’ve used them to scoot things I can’t reach off high shelves in the kitchen.

    17. They also work to turn the wall-mounted TV off at work (I used to stand on a wheelie chair and nearly kill myself trying to reach the button.)

    18. You can use them as a straight edge to draw a straight line.

    19. The Quik-Stix huge needles can be used as a rolling pin if you work on the edge of a table or counter and let the knobby end stick off the end.

    20. OK, admit it! You have too used one of the small DPNs as a toothpick.

    21. I’ve used those little bamboo ones to test cakes for being done.

    22. The metal DPNs are perfect for piercing potatoes or hard squash before baking.

    23. In a pinch, they work as playdough or clay tools…

    24. I’ve used them to scoop little broken-off pieces of egg shell out of cracked eggs.

    25. Dip them in ink and write with them.

    And … No. 26. To clean a dirty glass or bottle that you can’t quite reach the bottom — stick a dishcloth or paper towel in the glass and use the needle to swish the cleaning cloth around and to push into hard-to-reach rims.

  7. 27. To retrieve that naughty ball of yarn that jumped off the couch and is just out of reach!
    (I’m too much of a couch potatoe to actually get up to get it!)

  8. 28. For sewing, when turning your project right side out, use the long, straight needle for drawstrings or to push out corners.

  9. 29. For stuffing plushie toys. Think Build a Bear workshops when then violently jam the stuffing into limbs. Use the knitting needle to push and distribute and separate the stuffing.

  10. 30. The wooden dpns can be cut in half and baked with polymer clay for shawl pins.

    31. Using larger gauge straights, you can hold 2 of them together, with the tail of a yarn pile in between, wrap them tightly for about 3 inches of the length, then start to rotate them in your hand as you wrap diagonally and you can wrap nice yarn cakes without a mechanical ball winder.

    32. Hubby and I have used them the play with cats (our cats all have way too many claws to play with bare hands)

    33. itching inside of a cast, when my sister wrecked her boyfriends car, she broke her arm and used my 8s as a scratch-er.

  11. 34. Use them as chopsticks! LOL

  12. WONDERFUL!!!!

  13. Hahahaha, this is amazing! I am definitely linking this post up to my blog – please take a look!! http://handmadebysylvie.blogspot.com/

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