Knitting Hack: Using Pens As Needles

I spent a week in Las Vegas to help my sister sell her amazing glass work at Glass Craft and Bead Expo. Knowing that we would need things to keep us entertained between customers, Cleo brought some yarn made from sari scraps for me to play with, and play I did.

I had a knitting project with me (of course). Socks (double of course). Unfortunately, the size 1 needles I had with me were much too small for knitting strips of fabric. I could have waited until the end of the our work day, found a yarn store, and bought some fat needles. But as soon as I had this unusual yarn in my hands, I wanted to know what it would look like knit up. So I dug some pens out of my purse and used them as needles.

Humble Bic pens doing the work of giants.

It worked much better than I imagined. I had to push the fabric on and off the pens with my fingers, applying more pressure than you would with regular needles. The pen tips were easy to slide into the stitches and I only got a little ink on my hand in the process.

Minimal pen marks. I was surprised.

While the pens weren’t ideal tools, they did work. I knit up all the yarn we had to make a narrow, multi-colored scarf.

The finished scarf
Cleo models the final product

The biggest down side: both pens gave their lives to make this scarf.

I knew I was killing them early on. I tried to make a note with one and it wouldn’t write. That’s when I saw the ink all globbed in the bottom and knew something was wrong.


As far as I can tell, repeatedly flexing the pens broke the inner tubes. Fortunately, the ink didn’t leak out of the pen proper.

I was pleased that my knitting hack worked as well as it did. In fact, I’m thinking I should try using pencils next.

Have you tried doing needlework with non-traditional tools? Did it work?

Author: Kit Dunsmore

Kit is a writer and an artist who adores living in Colorado. Whether she's hiking in the mountains or walking the prairies, she's always watching the wildlife in order to learn more about the natural world.

4 thoughts on “Knitting Hack: Using Pens As Needles”

    1. I *thought* pencils would work better than pens (although I did wonder if I’d give myself graphite poisoning in the process). Good to know someone has tried it and it works.


  1. I’ve sharpened dowels to make double pointed needles when I didn’t want to run to the store (we had a variety of dowels 🙂 I’ve also used pencils and string to give an impromptu knitting lesson on purling in my chiropractor’s waiting room. (I only had a crochet hook with me)


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