Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Upcycle: On Pins and Needles ...


I grew up surrounded by women who knew how to wield pastel, plastic knitting needles, cold metal crochet hooks and thousands of pins. From around the age of 5, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into this fold. I resisted mightily!! And I was bad at all of it. I have very clear memories of my grandmother undoing an entire teddy bear I knit (a 3rd grade "needlework" assignment) and re-knitting it, the night before I had to hand it to my teacher. Because Granny had some sense of my little-girl pride, she never told anyone. I had a pretty amazing grandmother.

Anyway, I loathed "home economics" and pretty much all the domestic "arts" at which both my parents excel. But it seems I picked up on some basics and now I'm very grateful for them. I can't say that I love to knit or crochet and my sewing is mostly garment hacking for refab purposes. But hey, I know how! And yes, it's hard to do any of these things well. So I now have a ton of respect for the needle-wielding talents of the world. And when you can no longer use the needles ... or they're so "vintage" they're warping ... I have some ideas for how you can refab them!  


Liana Kabel's Knitwit jewelry is a phenomenon. Seeing her work inspired this post. For tutorials on how to make your own beautiful things with old needles and pins, read on ...



Great tutorial on how to work with old needles - good basics. Plus instructions for making vintage knitting needle bangles!


Bend an old metal needle into a new shawl pin!  Not a tutorial but it looks doable to me. 


I love the whimsy of this idea. Real knitting needles, cut short and popped into a glass sphere to create a keepsake ornament. Instructions here


Starburst anything screams retro. Using vintage knitting needles to do it?  Awesome! Get the complete how-to at DecorHacks


Another version of the knitting needle starburst clock from the Naughty Secretary Club


Simple repurposing idea... paper flowers are popular. Old needles make good stems!


Using a roll of ribbon, a knitting needle and old tree ornaments, make an ornament tree! Complete how to here


Pins, buttons, talent and patience ... equals mind-seizing art


And finally, for every safety-pin-jewelry idea you might ever want, head to Brit and Co. Instructions for everything