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Can You Knit with Pencils?

Whether you're needle-less for some reason or just plain bored, consider learning how to knit with pencils. It actually works!

By: Kaylee Pope, Editor, AllFreeKnitting.com
Can You Knit with Pencils

Whether you're extra curious about knitting in unique ways or just forgot your needles back home while vacationing, it may or may not have occurred to you that knitting needle alternatives aren't exactly few and far between. Knitting needles, after all, are just sticks with a tapered end. Not unlike a pencil! Knitting with pencils is actually pretty easy.

There are a few pitfalls you will want to avoid when knitting with alternative needles like a pencil, however. Picking the wrong pencil or failing to pick the right yarn could easily turn your project into a tangled mess. Check out our tips below to ensure that your penciled projects actually turn out!

Fun Fact! A while ago we polled our readers and asked what kind of weird objects they'd tried to knit. Much to our surprise, many of the members of our knitting community shared that they actually learned how to knit using pencils before investing in real knitting needles.

Picking a Pencil to Knit With

You can knit with pencils pretty easily. To knit with pencils, you will want to make sure you have two pencils that are around the same size and are smooth on all sides. If you have an old pencil with pieces missing, your yarn may snag on the outside, easily ruining a project amidst your knitting. You will also want to make sure the pencil is sharp, but not too sharp.

 In order to knit with a pencil, you will need to have a needle that tapers off at the end, making it easier to knit, but beware of extra sharp pencils that can harm you.

How to Knit with Pencils

1. Select two pencils you will be knitting with.
They should be the same pencil or very similar. Two different sized pencils will lead to uneven rows.

2. Sharpen your pencils so they are tapered at the end.
We actually missed this step and it made knitting with two pencils way harder! You may also want to consider removing the lead at this time to avoid marking up your yarn.

3. Cast onto one of your pencils.
You will cast onto your pencil just like you would any other knitting needle

4. Begin knitting!
Knit as you usually would! Pencils are significantly shorter than some knitting needles, so I recommend only trying this for shorter or smaller projects. 

5 Tips for Knitting with Pencils (or Other Household Objects)

1. Make sure that your gauge is correct.
Knitting needles need to be paired with a specific yarn weight in order to correctly create a project. Try comparing your pencil to a knitting needle to determine the gauge. 

2. Secure the tip of your alternative knitting needle.
If you're using something like a pencil or pen, add a dollop of extra strong craft glue to the end to make sure it does not fall off and mark up your project. 

3. Watch out for snags!
If you're trying to knit with an object like a pencil, paint brush, or chopstick, be careful that the wooden surface does not snag on your yarn.

4. Don't use expensive yarn.
Purling and hooking with alternative knitting needles can be tons of fun, but chances are your project won't be the belle of the ball. Use cheaper yarn or even yarn scraps to try this out. 

5. Don't just starting knitting!
There are plenty of helpful tutorials out there on how to make knitting needles out of pencils or chopsticks. Check the world wide web for some tips. Maybe you'll end up making your new favorite needles!

11 Knitting Needle Replacements in Your Home

If you're in desperate need of a knitting needle or are just curious about how knitting with household objects may turn out, consider trying out one of these silly alternatives!

  • Chopsticks - Because what else are you going to do with these when they come with your Chinese takeout?
  • Tinker Toys - Dip into your old toys for these.
  • Toothpicks  - You'll probably knit a mouse-sized scarf, but it'll be extra cute!
  • Paintbrushes - Watercolor brushes are often just the right size and made from plastic.
  • Crochet Hooks - If you don't have one, you might have the other, right?
  • Sticks from the woods - All you need to do is whittle them down.
  • Your Arms! - Arm knitting patterns are actually super popular. We have a few patterns here.
  • Your fingers - Finger knitting was popular a few years ago. This unique way to knit is actually relatively easy.
  • Popsicle sticks - These might be tough to use but never say never.
  • Straws - I'd recommend using hard plastic ones. And definitely, do not try a curly straw!
Find even more wacky knitting needle options in our list of 24 Absurdly Clever Knitting Needle Alternatives.

What other household items will actually make great knitting needles?

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