Arm Knitting with Textured Yarns

Regular PLY contributor Maja Siska is here to show you how to turn your skein of textured bulky yarn into a wearable piece in less than 30 minutes. Take it away, Maja!


arm knitting 6Arm knitting works well for that special skein that is too beautiful to knit regularly, or just the latest crazy yarn off your wheel looking for a life of its own. Yes, you could wear the skein around your neck – but if you want something more “finished,” this is a good way to go.

How do you do it? Just use your arms instead of knitting needles. It makes gigantic stitches, which open into loops that show all the glory of your yarn.

It is child´s play – literally: I have taught it to a 7 and 10 year old and within half an hour they were proudly wearing their scarves.

I love arm knitting because it is quick and easy, it makes a proper item that you can wear multiple ways, you do not need a lot of yardage, and last but not least it allows your textured yarn to be seen in all its beauty.

Adapting Arm Knitting for Handspun
Depending on the length of the skein, I have begun with anything from 5 stitches for a long thin scarf to 12 stitches for a wider one. If you knit it and it is too wide and too short or the reverse, just rip it back and change the number of stitches; it will only cost you another 20 minutes or so.

For a cowl, I found the best way to close the loop is to make a scarf and then knot the two ends together into every other stitch or so with a bit of left over yarn. I leave about 2 inches of tails on these knots and they become a feature – rather than trying desperately to hide the seam.

An example:  approximately 35 yards (32m) of yarn, arm knitted across 9 stitches = 4 ft (120 cm) length, which works for a cowl.

And the most important rule: HAVE FUN!

arm kntting 2

For more information …

Here is just one video demonstrating this technique:


Maja headshot

Trained as an architect Maja is also a designer, artist, knitter and spinner. Anything wool is high on her list. She lives in Iceland on a farm with an array of animals.

On ravelry: majasiska.

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