What to Do With Old Knitting Needles




what to do with old knitting needles

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If you’re a long-time knitter, or if you used to knit but no longer do, there’s a good chance you have a collection of old knitting needles somewhere in your cabinets.

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds would be to simply throw these out. But if you’re the type to reuse and repurpose plastic bottles, then chances are you’re wondering what to do with old knitting needles lying around your house.

Most knitters would recommend one of four options: (1) repurpose them for DIY projects, (2) sell them, (3) use them as tools, or (4) donate them.

These four options are mostly suggestions. You can also come up with your own way of dealing with your old knitting needles. But if you do intend to go for one of these four options, it would help if you knew how knitters usually go about it.

What Can I Do With Old Knitting Needles?

As stated earlier, you have four options. You can:

  1. repurpose the knitting needles as materials for a DIY project,
  2. sell the old knitting needles for a profit,
  3. use them creatively as some sort of tool, or
  4. donate or send them to a charity or recycling center.

Read on as we elaborate further on each option.

What Can I Make Out of Old Knitting Needles?

If you decide to go for option #1, you’ll obviously need a DIY project that can make use of the knitting needles as a material. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to incorporate knitting needles in virtually any, so here are some suggestions:

  • Jewelry (bracelets, bangles, necklaces, rings)
  • Custom Decorations (drawing, letters, art)
  • Pins

Because of their shape, there’s not much you can make out of old knitting needles aside from jewelry like bracelets and rings and some custom decorations.

To turn them into such, you need to be able to bend them.

For metal knitting needles, that may prove to be difficult, but knitters and DIY enthusiasts have found a way to make it easier. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Put water in a pan.
  2. Let the water boil.
  3. Once the water is boiled, put the old knitting needles in and leave them for five minutes. Keep in mind that the keyword here is “boiled” and not boiling.
  4. Repeat steps #1 to #3 until the needles have become softer.

At this point, the needles would have already become soft and malleable or flexible enough to bend. So, use pliers to bend them in the shape you want.

Most knitters would shape them into a circle, hence why bracelets and necklaces are often what comes out of the DIY project. You can also make them shorter by cutting the needles into pieces, then shaping them to whatever you want.

If you want to turn the old knitting needles into custom decor, you can also shape them into letters or drawings like a tree. Of course, it’ll be significantly harder.

Nevertheless, once you’re able to shape the needles into drawings or letters, attach a circle cotter, and hang them on your door or somewhere in your house.

How Much Can I Sell Old Knitting Needles For?

If you want to go for option #2, then you might as well make the most out of your old knitting needles by maximizing your profit. For that, the following tips can help:

  1. Look for a platform whose audience will like or need knitting needles. Examples of such platforms include Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook. Platforms like Amazon and Alibaba have too broad of an audience.
  2. Make sure the price you set for your item is around the same price range as similar products. For your reference, a set that includes five to ten pairs of new knitting needles usually cost around $100. Meanwhile, the price of old knitting needles in the same quantity is around $20 to $50.
  3. Consider adding extra items. As you might imagine, there are a ton of other knitters that has the same idea as you. To set your item apart from theirs, consider including extra items like a ball of wool or a knitted garment.
  4. Customize the product description. When listing the old knitting needles, you’ll be asked to provide a description. It would be in your best interest to customize this rather than put a generic one like 9-inch bamboo needles.

Keep in mind that it’s possible that you won’t be able to sell your old knitting needles. In that case, you might want to go for the third option.

Can I Still Use Old Knitting Needles?

Option #3 is perhaps the simplest route you can take. You simply have to use the old knitting needles in any way you want, aside from knitting garments or toys.

If that sounds confusing, here are a few examples of what some knitters do:

  • Use the old knitting needles to test whether their baked goods are done. This particular application is applicable only to wooden knitting needles.
  • Stick the needles on potted plants to serve as a stake where they can climb or creep up. This is only applicable for climbing, vining, and creeping plants.
  • Use the needles as pins or hair forks for hair buns.
  • Unclog or reach narrow spaces like sink drains and hoses.

There are many ways to use old needles as a tool. You just need to be creative enough, and if that’s not up your alley, get suggestions from other knitters.

How Do I Recycle Old Knitting Needles?

The fourth option is also quite simple and easy. All you have to do is send the old knitting needles to a local recycling center, and they’ll take it from there.

Similarly, if all you care about is getting rid of the needles, you might also want to consider donating them to a charitable organization. Those that accept clothes will most likely accept knitting needles since it’s practically under the same category.

Keep in mind, though, that if the old knitting needles are quite literally impossible to use, it would be best to refrain from donating them to any charity.

There are options for every type of knitter, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, business-minded, resourceful, or someone who wants to be a Good Samaritan.

Regardless, the fact that you’re looking for things to do with your old knitting needles is proof enough that you’re not wasteful.

FAQs About Old Knitting Needles

How Long Do Knitting Needles Last?

Knitting needles can typically last for over a year.

How many years, exactly, will vary according to its material. For your reference, manufacturers use one of four materials for knitting needles, namely:

  1. Wood (Bamboo)
  2. Metal (Aluminum/Steel)
  3. Plastic (Acrylic)
  4. Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber needles can last for a lifetime, metal and wooden needles can last for over five years, and plastic needles can last for around two years.

It’s worth noting that these are not unchanging. Their lifespan may still vary according to other factors, like the frequency of usage, maintenance, and more.

For example, a wooden knitting needle may not even last for a year if you’re too rough while using it. Similarly, plastic knitting needles, despite being the least durable, can last for over five years if used gently, and you only knit once a month.

Are Wooden or Plastic Knitting Needles Better?

It depends on how you interpret the word “better” in this context. Here’s how these two types of knitting needles compare to each other according to several factors:

  • Weight: Plastic knitting needles are the lightest in weight among the four types, so naturally, they’re lighter than wooden knitting needles.
  • Price: Plastic knitting needles are also the least expensive.
  • Grip: Wooden knitting needles are smoother and easier to grip than plastic needles. In other words, plastic knitting needles are more likely to slip off.
  • Longevity: As stated earlier, wooden knitting needles last longer than plastic needles, but again, factors like maintenance may affect longevity.

In conclusion, plastic knitting needles are better in terms of weight and price, while wooden needles are better in terms of grip and longevity.

What Are Vintage Knitting Needles Made Of?

Any knitting needle made of materials other than the standard ones like bamboo, aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and plastic can be considered vintage needles.

But for your reference, the most common materials of vintage needles include:

  • Tortoiseshell
  • Galalith plastic
  • Ivory wood

They’re considered vintage mainly because manufacturers no longer make knitting needles out of these materials. However, they used to in the past. For example, in the 1930s, Galalith plastic knitting needles were quite common but rare today.

Summing It Up

Though there are several things you can do with old knitting needles, there comes the point where you can no longer reuse, sell, or repurpose them. That’s especially true if the knitting needles are incredibly worn out. At that point, all you can do is either send them to a local recycling center or throw them out.

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