How to Arm Knit - An Intro Guide
"Arm knitting is easier than traditional knitting as there are no needles to deal with" gushes arm knitting author Anne Weil.
Laura Strutt from madepeachy.com takes us through the wondrous world of arm knitting, from how to get started to some of her favourite patterns and yarns.”
So what is arm knitting?
Arm knitting is the fabulous technique of knitting with your arms without the use of needles. Simply, cast the first stitch onto one forearm, then use your hands to work through the stitches by pulling the working yarn through the loop to create a stitch. Place the new stitch on the other arm and repeat on the opposite side. Easy!
The rows of the project are worked in a back and forth manner. Unlike regular needle knitting, there is no turning of the work - instead you are simply working through the stitches from your right arm and passing the new stitches onto the left. When you're finished with a row, you simply change to the opposite direction, working through the stitches on the left arm to pass them over to the right!
Arm knitting is great for newbies and master knitters alike. While experienced knitters can easily get into the flow of catching the yarn and creating the stitches, beginners have the fantastic opportunity of working on such a large scale that it’s easy to see how the stitches are created and join together in a series to create fabric.
For those that are nifty with needles, you may be pondering why you’d lay down your dps, circulars and cable needles in favour of knitting with only your arms. Well, there are plenty of reasons why you might try this smart and ultra simple technique. For one thing, arm knitting is incredibly fast. So if you’re a yarn-oholic with a need for speed, an arm knitting pattern might be a top choice as your next project.
To jump straight in, check out all of our arm knitting patterns.
Learn how to arm knit
The stitches created in arm knitting are much larger than regular needle knitting, because the tension of the fabric is created by the size of your arms. For this reason the stitches are much larger so you can create super-sized projects in just a few hours. Just show me a knitter that doesn't want to work up a luxurious on-trend chunky throw in an afternoon!
We've also hand-picked three epic patterns you could complete today:
- Basketweave Arm Knit Blanket: This gorgeous super bulky yarn creates fabric which is as luxurious as it is cosy. Perfect to snuggle up with on a chilly night!
- Giant Arm Knit Bunny: Kids will love this arm knitted super-sized bunny, crafted using beautifully soft super chunky yarn.
- Arm Knit 3-Hour Blanket Design: This brilliant three hour blanket is the real deal. Created using a gorgeous chenille-effect yarn it gives an extra heavenly texture.
Chunky yarns for arm knitting
You can arm knit with roving yarn, exceptionally super chunky yarn, or you can save money by layering up several strands of a more standard chunky weight.
How do I pick a yarn?
- Try and go for plump knits with a full bodied yarn like the Wool from We Are Knitters. For a chunkier effect combine two or more strands together to turn up the volume.
- Eco-friendly knitters will love this blend of cashmere, silk, polyamide and viscose in Lana Grossa Cashsilk as it will give a chic contemporary finish to statement arm knit accessories and garments.
- Why not try adding more interest to the individual stitches with a ‘chain’ construction yarn like Debbie Bliss Paloma, which is created in such a way that rather than the fibres being plyed together they are knitted into a chain. This gives you all the volume and impact of a chunky yarn while maintaining a lightweight finish.
- Multicoloured and variegated yarns will add bright pops of colour to your project without the hassle of changing yarns as you work. Rowan Big Wool Colour is available in six glorious shades for you to try!
- Feeling fancy? Combine two different weight yarns in complementary tones to create a richer, layered finish to the fabric. This striking shrug teams a boucle and a chunky to create a real show stopping garment!
Ten arm knitting yarns to try out
We've put together an edit of out favourite yarns work with as you take on your next arm knitting project:
- Lion Brand Quickie: This yarn has been designed specifically for arm knitting. A super-soft blend of acrylic, wool and synthetic, available in seven tempting colourways, this yarn gives a distinct finish when knitted. Plus, with 20m per ball, it's enough to create a cowl in one go!
- Schulana Piumino Print: This generous 32m ball of chunky yarn is ideal for funky oversized arm knitting projects. Despite appearances, this sumptuous blend of alpaca, wool and polyester gives a light finish - fabulous if you’re using multiple strands held together as one.
- Katia Velvet Loop: This yarn is top pick for glamorous projects with a sultry velveteen finish. Created from polyester this yarn has the texture of chenille, but with the benefit of being machine washable and easy to care for.
- Debbie Bliss Paloma: With a striking chain-stitched construction, this yarn is a pure joy to work with whether you’re knitting with needles or your arms. The combination of baby alpaca and wool makes it ultra-soft and it’s available in a host of sublime colours.
- Rico Fashion Gigantic Mohair: This super chunky mohair yarn is created with acrylic, merino and nylon. At 60m per ball, you’ll be delighted at how far this yarn will go. Available in a range of classic neutrals to stand-out brights, there is guaranteed to be the perfect shade for your project!
- Universal Yarn Bunny: Turn up the fun with an adorable novelty yarn like this this easy-care polyester and acrylic blend. Super chunky, it's even adorned with adorable fluffy bunny tufts.
- Wisdom Yarns Poems Puzzle: Add more texture to your oversized arm knitting stitches with this superwash merino and polyester blend. With a unique braided construction that will make each stitch eye-catching, this glorious rainbow of colour will certainly give your finished project a pop.
- James C. Brett Flutterby Animal Prints: From jungle cat to giraffe, bring some animal magic to your craft with this brilliant novelty yarn that's an amazing 90m per ball. The collection includes 10 funky animal print inspired colours, with a super tactile chenille finish.
- Loopy Mango Big Loop Yarn Merino Mini: Treat yourself! This 100% merino yarn is soft, snuggly and ideal for arm knit accessories guaranteed to get you noticed . Available in a rainbow of colours, this yarn is one for the wish list.
- Spud & Chloe Outer: Perfect for arm knitting patterns, and unbeatably soft, this yarn is a blend of cotton and wool. At 55m per ball it's a prime pick for making arm knitted scarves and hats, available in an assortment of bright and muted colours.
Five scarves to arm knit
Arm knitting is the miracle way to magic up some striking accessories. If there’s one thing that will never go out of style - it’s the chunky knit scarf!
To inspire you we’ve rounded up five of the best arm knit scarves for you to try:
- Elegant Fringed Wrap: Surround yourself in the wonderful softness of this super-sized arm knit wrap. This design is worked with a combination of two textured yarns to create a rich and luxurious finish. Measuring 183cm long, this can be wrapped around you to envelop you in a cosy style.
- Variegated Chunky Cowl: Add a bright pop of color to your outfit with an arm knit cowl. The unique, yet simple, construction of this cowl creates a continuous loop of arm knitting which translates into a clean and modern shape around the neckline. Variegated yarns, like this one, blend lots of brilliants colours and shades together, and remove the fuss of switching between different yarns when arm knitting.
- Triangle Kerchief Shawl: Give the traditional triangular shawl a funky modern update with arm knitting in a chunky textured yarn. This classic shape is created with the simple use of increase stitches to form the neat triangle, which can be looped around the neck to really showcase this statement accessory. This design is worked in a tactile boucle yarn which give the make a wonderful lux finish!
- Classic Scarf: Play up the preppy style with a classic straight arm knit scarf! This design couldn't be easier - with a small number of stitches required when arm knitting to make up each row, you will be delighted at just how quickly you can work up this wardrobe staple! Selecting a bright and bold multi-colored yarn like this one will really turn up the fun on this quick and easy project!
- Glamorous Multi Yarn Cowl: For a more dressed up look why not team together a complementary palette of yarns in a range of finishes? This design works with four different yarn types, which care held together as one and worked to create stitches with lots of interest, that will look striking against simple evening wear and tailored coats.
About the author, Laura Strutt
Laura loves to knit, crochet and sew, she believes her dog, Waffle, is the most handsome dog on Instagram and hopes to one day be in a Ukulele band with her husband.
If you're looking for more inspiration, Laura's written a book on Arm and Finger Knitting Arm Knitting, £12.99, CICO Books