Truth time: I love crafting, but when it comes to knitting I ALWAYS get frustrated. I was lucky to grow up with a great teacher, my grandma, but year after year we would need to start from the beginning because of angry battles in which the yarn won. My main trouble was figuring out how to hold the yarn in my fingers to give it the proper tension, looking at the stitches on my needle and realizing which piece needs to go over and which goes under, and then before I knew it I would end up frustrated with a pile of knots.
Arm knitting is a great beginning step to learning how to knit. Since you are working with your arms, which are now also known as extremely large needles, it’s easy to see the stitches and understand what to do with them. It also goes a lot faster than regular knitting — this circle scarf took us 30 minutes start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, it did take time to learn arm knitting too. My arms got tied up in knots and I had to cut myself out, but with practice I got it! For this installment of #31DaysofDIY, we broke the steps down to be very basic and to help you understand which way the strands need to move. Scroll back through when you’re making your scarf to really get the hang of creating stitches. Soon you’ll be an arm knitting pro and then soon after that you’ll be a knitting pro. We promise.
No idea what #31DaysofDIY is? It’s a brand new tradition here at Brit + Co that’s all about kicking off 2015 right. We’ve challenged ourselves to make or learn something new every single day for the month of January, and we’re inviting all of you along for the ride. From DIY basics like Sewing 101 to learning to design and laser cut our own stencils, we hope this month of making inspires you to make all year long.
– 2 skeins of super chunky yarn
*Arm Knitting Pro Tip: The yarn that is attached to the skein is called the working yarn, and the piece that you pulled out is called the tail.
1. Hold both ends of the yarn in your hand and measure out seven “elbow” lengths of yarn. At the seventh “elbow” mark, make a slip knot and place it around your right arm just below your elbow.
2. Create a loop with the tail and hold the top of the loop with your right hand.
3. Put your left arm through the loop and grab the working yarn.
4. Put the new loop on your right arm. Tighten by pulling the working yarn. Cast on 24 stitches.
5. To start the next row of stitches, you will hold the working yarn in your right hand, pull off your last stitch, and insert your left hand through the new loop.
6. Keep repeating for all 22 stitches until your knitting is on your left arm.
7. To create the next row you will hold the working yarn with your left hand, pull the last loop off of your arm, and insert your right arm through the new loop. You will want to create 8 rows. The knitting should end on your left arm.
8. To bind off your scarf you will need to knit two stitches on your right arm. Then pull the first stitch over the second stitch. Knit one more stitch from the left, and then pull the first stitch on the right over the second stitch on the left. For the last stitch, pull the loop off your arm, snip the end, and pull through so you end up with a second tail.
9. Time to stitch the scarf together into a circle. Meet the two ends together and, using your two tails, weave the sides together as if you were lacing a shoe. Secure by tying a knot where the ends meet.
Arm Knitting isn’t the easiest thing. Believe me, you can get really tangled up in the strings, especially when you’re working with multiple skeins. We suggest sticking to two skeins when you’re starting your arm knitting adventures. Once again, I suggest you scroll back up and go through the images multiple times. The stitches will seem awkward at first, but with practice it will “click” and you’ll be creating rows of stitches in no time at all!
To begin your knitting adventure you are going to want to hold both ends of the skeins in one hand and measure out seven “elbow” lengths of yarn.
At the seventh “elbow” length mark you will want to create a basic slip knot. To do this you create a loop by crossing the two strands over one another. Grab and pull the back strand through the loop. This will give you a loop with a knot! Slide it onto your right arm.
Time to complete your first stitch! The first row of stitches are referred to as “Casting on.” To cast these stitches onto your arm you’re going to make a loop with the tail end of your yarn and hold it in your right hand.
Weave your left hand through the loop and grab the working yarn.
Pull the working yarn through the loop.
Slide the new loop onto your right arm.
To tighten your stitches, pull the tail and working ends of the yarn. You want the stitches to be tight on your arm, but not so tight they can’t move.
You will need to cast on between 22-24 stitches. I’m not going to lie, I watched many tutorials over and over before I was comfortable creating stitches. I scrolled back through the tutorial every time I was casting on a new stitch. When you’re ready, move onto the left arm!
We will now only be using the working yarn (yarn attached to the skeins). We’ll work with the tail again later.
Hold the working yarn with your right hand and slip the last stitch over your hand while pulling the working yarn through. This will create a loop.
The first stitch of the second row! Slip it onto your left arm.
You will want to pull the end of the working yarn to tighten these stitches.
Second row of stitches done! They should all be on your left arm and your right arm should be free.
Now move back to your right arm. Hold the working yarn with your left hand and slip the last stitch over your hand and slip the knew loop onto your right arm. Scroll back through the tutorial to master the stitches of arm knitting!
You will want to create eight rows of stitches. They will end up on your left arm.
Time to “cast off.” It was nice having a warm cozy piece becoming one with my arm but I wasn’t ready for the commitment forever. To start casting off, you will need to create two stitches onto your right arm.
Grab the first stitch on your right arm and pull it over the second stitch and off of your hand.
You will now just have one stitch remaining on your right hand. Next you will need to create a new stitch on your right hand ( by pulling the working yarn through the stitch on your left hand) Repeat the process above. Slip the first stitch on your right arm over the second stitch, leaving one stitch behind. You will follow this pattern until you have reached the end of your 24 stitches.
Can you believe it? You’re all done! For your last stitch you’re going to snip the working yarn and pull it all the way through to create a knot. When snipping the yarn, leave a two-foot-long tail.
Can you believe you made that with just your arm?! We can’t! Now I know we’ve said that these #31DaysofDIY have got us hooked on many new crafts, but arm knitting is in a whole other ballpark. We are OBSESSED!
Using the long tail you cut from the working yarn, you will tie the two ends of the scarf together to make a cowl scarf! Weave them through the rows of stitches as if you are lacing a shoe lace. There is no science to this, just weave them together. Tie the end in a knot with the tail end of the yarn from the beginning steps. Luckily this yarn is very fluffy and forgiving. It is impossible to see mistakes.
So fuzzy and warm. This is definitely a winter staple.
Try making more scarves with different types of yarn. We still used two skeins but this yarn was less fuzzy and created a less dense scarf.
Like we said, this is a winter MUST!
Have you ever tried arm knitting? Do you find it easier than real knitting? Let us know in the comments below and share your projects with us using the hashtag #31DaysofDIY.