To make these very pretty needles as a gift you'll need:
1/4" dowels- I chose an oak dowel from the local hardware store, it's 36 inches long and I prefer hardwood for my knitting needles. Cut into 8 inch lengths which are just right for knitting scarves, you can get 4 needles from one dowel.
sand paper in 200 and 600 grit
Lara's Crafts Finial Dowel Caps, you can find these at your local Michael's inexpensively or buy them directly from Lara's Crafts here
Wood glue- I use Aleene's, which you can also find at Michaels, PVA glue like Elmer's will work just fine as well.
Make a point on the ends of the dowels with the sharpener. Use the 200 grit sandpaper to shape the point to a smooth taper and lightly sand the rest of the dowel. Finish with the 600 grit polishing to a nice smooth finish that won't snag yarn and dull the ends of the sticks a bit.
Glue the dowel caps on the non-sharp ends, and let the glue set.
After the glue has set, you can paint the finials if you'd like. I used nail polish because it was handy and shiny. I put the needles in a scrap of styrofoam to dry.
To bead the needles, you will need:
Size 15/o seed beads in 2 colors -I used Japanese beads.
Size 8/o beads -I used Japanese beads.
Size 12 needle- I prefer sharps for working small things because they are shorter and don't bend as much
Strong beading thread- I used Silamide, Sono would work just as well.
You'll notice on my pair I switched the main color and accent color on each needle so they are slightly different. It's a way for beginning knitters to keep track of which rows to purl and which to knit.
You will start the beading around the indent in the finial. Marked with a red line on my illustration.
Get about 2 yards of thread, and thread your needle. Main color size 15/o beads are mc and accent color size 15/o beads are ac.
I'm not going to diagram all the steps, there is a diagram at the end with the rounds marked.
Foundation Round- 32 beads, with alternating colors, 1 mc, 1 ac. Push the beads to about the middle of the thread and tie them in a circle around the finial where marked so there is a yard of thread "tail" to work the bottom of the finial.
Peyote, adding an ac color bead over each accent color bead. At the end of the round, go through the last mc bead, and up through the first ac color bead added.
Round 2: First row of netting, 2 mc, 1 ac, 2 mc, skip 3 beads, and go through the next up ac color bead on the previous row. Repeat all the way around. At the end of the round go through the bead you started the round from and up to the first ac added. - You'll end each round this way, going up to the first "up" bead of each round. The up bead is the middle bead of each loop.
Round 3: 2 mc, 1 ac, 2 mc, go through the next up bead, repeat around.
Round 4: 3 ac, 1 size 8/o, 3 ac, go through the next up bead, repeat around
Round 5: 5 ac, go through next up bead, repeat around
Round 6: 2 mc, 1 ac, 2 mc, go through the next up bead, repeat around.
Time to start the decrease.
Round 7: 1 mc, 1 ac, 1 mc, go through next up bead, repeat around.
Round 8: 1 mc, 1 ac, 1 mc, go through next up bead, repeat around.
Round 9: 1 ac between each up bead, repeat around
Round 10: Peyote the last round, 1 ac between each bead added in the last round, pull tight, weave in making a few half hitch knots while weaving the end in, and cut off the thread. This round may need you to skip one bead to get them all to fit right. It will look fine.
Put the needle on the tail end of the thread to work the bottom of the finial.
Round 11: 2 mc, 1 ac, 1 mc, skip 3 beads, go through the next up bead on the bottom of the foundation row. Repeat around.
Round 12-15: 2 mc, 1 ac, 2 mc, go through the next up bead, repeat around.
Round 16: 1 mc, 1 ac, 1 mc, go through next up bead, repeat around.
Round 17: 1 ac between each up bead, repeat around. Reinforce this final row, then weave the end in as above.
And a blank chart if you'd like to work out your own colorway.
These would make a wonderful gift with a skein of yarn and a simple scarf pattern for a beginning knitter, or a thoughtful gift for a more experienced knitter. If it's not too thick, you could also use them for hair sticks, or a shorter length of dowel, maybe 5 inches would make a nice shawl pin.