Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 25, 2006

Knitting with power tools

Filed under: Humor,Knitting,Power tools — secretmojo @ 5:22 am

[I’m knitting a hat for Made By Hand. And I’m an idiot. Which means you can do it too!]

I think I speak for all the knitting men in the world — because I am all the knitting men in the world — when I ask “where are the power tools?” Where’s the cast-on machine? The skein maker? The gauge measure? Some of these have been made, for sure, but it seems they don’t get much market out there in a woman-dominated craft.

I believe that one of the key differences between women and men is that women can enjoy living within constraints, knowing that being clever and improving technique will remunerate lack. Men, on the other hand, will see possibilities just like women do, but instead of honing skill to create a better product, will build a tool for it. The Chip Clip was invented by a guy, for example. Chicks already knew to use clothespins.

Furthermore, if knitting were a male activity, extensive energy would be dedicated to improving every tangible element of it. Most yarn would contain Kevlar. Computer programs would calculate, via “string theory,” any conceivable pattern. Nanotech (“GrabMaster™”) needles would be all the rage today, advertised like five-bladed razors: a taut, sexy woman touches — ever so lightly — the tip of His needle, gets a tickle, then shines a coy, sensual look at her Chisel-Chin Man, “knitter extraordinaire,” whom, after athletically binding off, she tackles in a fit of primal lust.

To prove that men want (in fact need) more tools for everything, allow me to confess pictorially.

I grabbed a spare pair of chopsticks (free, with food) for research purposes:


As you can see, I’ve cast on about 15 stitches. I’ll use these sticks with straighter yarn to understand the topology of my hat in a more pristine environment.

However, I couldn’t knit very well. First of all, the chopsticks were not sharp enough to dig between stitches. Secondly, the wood kept binding to itself, creating stutter, screwing up my rhythm.



Put your chopstick into a drill as if it were a bit. Try to keep it straight. You may want to give a few test spins to see if it wobbles, and realign if it does.

sanding.jpgWith 100-grit sandpaper, squeeze the pointed edge. Fire up the drill, and pull the sandpaper towards the end as if you were licking a candy cane. Repeat until you get the sharpness you desire. I stopped short of making a rapier tip, because I was afraid the wood might snap off during a purl.

After fashioning the tip of both “needles,” rub them with fine steel wool, smoothing them until slippery.

Don’t varnish. Because that’s just silly, and I would laugh at you.

Enjoy your new, slick, pointy needles!


Ahh… Much better!



  1. Here I look away from your blog for 48 hours and just LOOK what you have been up to. I think your contribution to the knitblogging universe really cannot be measured yet, but will be felt for generations and generations. And that is all I can say, so stunned am I by those knitting sticks you’ve fashioned.

    Comment by bloglily — August 25, 2006 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  2. Nicely done. You know – some people make their own knitting needles with roughly such schemes. Though there is a tendancy to start with dowel rods so that the needle sizes of commercial needles can be matched easily. And often an electric pencil sharpener followed by a gentle application of sandpaper, finished off with a light waxed-paper rub for the slide factor.

    Comment by Anna — August 25, 2006 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  3. Anna, waxed paper–excellent idea! I seriously considered the pencil sharpener technique, but did not want too great of a slope on my needles. Also, the instant I considered using dowels (yet decided not to) was when I saw the price of plastic knitting needles. It was like getting poked in the eye with one.

    Bloglily, it’s certainly a frightening excercise to consider what the character of my impact may be. In one scenario, nefarious superknitters of the Mojo Cult blanket the world in a cozy within 20 minutes, increase global warming tenfold, and sit around cackling and drinking wine while the world is forced to pay for its air conditioning in lengths of yarn.

    Comment by secretmojo — August 26, 2006 @ 2:41 am | Reply

  4. I read your post to my husband and his eyes lit up at the idea of power tools. I’m still more interested in the knitting. How is it that we are so differently wired? Please keep knitting.

    Comment by charlotteotter — August 26, 2006 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  5. *happily giggling with glee*

    I am just so glad I am not the only one that has tried knitting with chopsticks.
    At least you figured out how to make them work!!

    Comment by fey — August 27, 2006 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  6. Charlotte & fey: I have found that if you think of something new and quirky with knitting, someone HAS PROBABLY DONE IT ALREADY. Knitting is like a community of mischief, and finding something freshly naughty to do with the needles and string is very difficult. I was thinking of knitting pasta as a joke, but as a precaution I better Google that first…

    Comment by secretmojo — August 29, 2006 @ 6:15 am | Reply

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