This Is Why I Love Tools So Much

Anneliese Fox
3 min readMay 25, 2022
double pointed knitting work in process on four needles, three wood, one aluminum
Knitting work in process. photo by author

For some reason, I decided to knit a tiny, little sweater for the roll of toilet paper that hangs out on the back of my toilet. Not apologizing for it. The pattern is adorable and the yarn is scrumptious. It may be silly, but I am going to love it.

So I got started. I have close to a bazillion knitting needles stashed all through the house. This particular pattern calls for size four, double pointed needles. And guess what? I actually had one set of six inch long, size four, double pointed needles. Four lovely little things in beautiful green wood. And they are lovely to work with.

Only one problem. I need either needles that are a little longer, or more needles because there are so many stitches that they like to fall off the ends of the needles not in use. If you are a knitter, you understand why this is not a good thing. The rest of you will just have to take my word for it, because this article is not about knitting.

After struggling with the first few rows, I knew I needed something else if I was going to finish this project, even as small as it is. So I handed one of the needles to my husband. My question to him was simple:

“Can you make one of these, or should I go out and buy another set?”

Now I’ve made my own crochet hooks when I didn’t have something large enough. Making your own knitting needles in larger sizes isn’t difficult either: get a dowel the right dimension for your project, sharpen one (or both) ends in a pencil sharpener, and sand until smooth. Making something as small as a size four knitting needle is a bit more challenging. Plus, I really didn’t want to go out for materials.

Dear Hubby to the rescue. He asked if I preferred steel or aluminum. I said aluminum and we walked out to the shop.

In his metal working stock, he found a rod that was very nearly identical in diameter to my needle. After cutting to length, he mounted it in a cordless drill, then proceeded to grind the tips (one at a time) on a bench sander to the proper taper. A little more hand sanding and buffing and I had a new knitting needle. It’s the one on the left in the photo above.

The whole operation, from initial ask to me trying out the needle probably took about fifteen minutes. I don’t think I could even get to the local yarn store in that amount of time, and it’s only down the road a ways.

So this is why I love having a lot of tools around. In the first instance it allows me to undertake a spur-of-the-moment knitting project because I probably have all the knitting tools I need for the task. Secondly, in the instance where I don’t have exactly what I need on hand, there’s a good chance I have the ability to make it.

Yes, I have more tools for more types of craft than perhaps I need. But the thought of giving some of them up gives me the willies. Who can say when I’ll need that bottle capper? I’ll keep it just a little while longer.

Anneliese Fox

Writer of speculative fiction, programmer, artist in wood and clay, owner of Fox Computer Systems. My almost weekly blog follows what interests me at the moment