Arm Knitting: the Needleless Knitting Craze

Have you heard about arm knitting and wondered what it is all about? Get the lowdown on arm knitting here!

Have you heard about arm knitting? When I originally heard of it, I dismissed it as a child’s crafting activity. But increasingly I saw more posts on Twitter and Facebook about it, and I even saw it in the news.

If the Wall Street Journal was writing about this trend, it occurred to me that I might want to take a closer look! So I have, and what I have found has been fascinating.

Arm knitting is really nothing more than knitting with your arms rather than a pair of knitting needles. Obviously, since most of our arms are much thicker than most knitting needles, this produces very large, chunky stitches, which make for knitting projects that are completed in very little time. (Can you see the appeal already?) The most popular projects made via arm knitting are scarves and cowls; blankets are also proving popular. Andrea Brena, an Italian gentleman identified by Wall Street Journal writer Rachel Dodes as having originally documented arm knitting, has a video in which he created a series of floor cushions that he arranged and rearranged to form a number of seating arrangements!

Certainly, arm knitting has limitations. For example, you obviously cannot knit anything in the round when you’re using your arms. At the moment I have found only stockinette and garter stitch patterns used in arm knitting; I’m not sure more complex stitches are possible. (I’m trying to imagine knitting two together or making one with your arms, for instance, and mental pictures are not really coming to me!)

Also, all the projects I have seen with arm knitting have been heavy and thick. I wonder if it would be possible to arm-knit using, say, fingering weight yarn, or even worsted weight yarn, and create a shawl? Could make for an interesting experiment!

There’s no denying that the nearly instant gratification of arm knitting has tremendous appeal, though. Arm knitting could certainly be a lifesaver for someone who needs to knit a gift quickly, or even someone who has lost his or her scarf and needs a new one as soon as possible.

How to Arm Knit

The best (and original) arm knitting tutorial available is widely considered to be from Simply Maggie. At this writing, her video tutorial has garnered over 900,000 views on YouTube (and will probably reach 1 million by the time you read this!). You can watch the video here.

Vickie Howell has her own set of tutorials and arm knitting patterns, which you can find here.

If you’re curious about Andrea Brena’s arm-knitted floor cushions, you can take a look at his video here.

Many yarn and craft companies have released their own video tutorials. These include Michael’s, Red Heart, and Lion Brand. If you need a little more help getting the hang of arm knitting, any or all of these tutorials might help.


Red Heart

Lion Brand

Finally, A. C. Moore has a page devoted to a collection of arm knitting patterns!

Now, I think I’m interested in giving arm knitting a try — how about you?