I started my hat using chopsticks. It is taking forever and is not perfect but I think I am doing pretty good! I made my double pointed needles using 5 bamboo chopsticks from Daiso and sticking them in a hand crank pencil sharpener. I used a sandpaper block to smooth them. They are pretty smooth and working out well. One end is narrower than the other and I use the thicker to knit in my right hand and the other end is narrow so easy to pick up stitches and slip them off. Working with cotton is a pleasure too because there is no splitting of the yarn to worry about. The square shape is nice to hold and keeps the yarn on without slipping off.
While I was cleaning yesterday, I found a balsam wood set of chopsticks and they were longer than the bamboo ones so I sharpened and sanded the pointy ends. It didn’t work because the ends were narrow and the loops wouldn’t go on the thicker part. So then I put them in the pencil sharpener until I grinded off about 1-2″ of the narrow part and it was more even. I sanded them again and they worked. I first tried using acrylic yarn but it was weird because the balsam wood is not very slick and the yarn didn’t want to slide easily. Well now I know why knitting needles are never made of balsam wood. I sanded them again using my nail file because it is a finer grain than the sandpaper block I have. I used my wood dusting spray to see if the polish would make it slicker and it did a little. They sure smell good now. I knitted a little sample to show that it does work. I used a hair elastic to use as a stopper so the yarn never slips off.
Then I had another idea! The balsam wood is very soft. I thought I might try to make a crochet hook on one of the knitting needle ends! I got my pocket knife and I made a dent about 3/8″ from the end of the chopstick on a corner. The I was able to keep slicing a thin flat piece off to that point from about 1″ down from the nick. I was able to shape the top and under the hook area with the sanding block and my nail file. It came out better than I thought! I went to my son and said, “Your Mom is awesome! Look what I made!”. Of course he wasn’t as excited but he saw that I made a hook. Actually the hook was easier to use on acrylic than the needle ends and is about as big as a J or K hook. This might be handy to fix the dropped stitches. I get how to keep looping the dropped stitch up to the knitting needle. I guess if you start off as a crocheter, some things click easier like that. I can’t wait to make something with my new hook!