By Home Decor Contributor Alyssa
For those of us who are afraid of real knitting because, you know, it takes forever and it’s so easy to mess up. There is a way to create something with the warm, inviting feeling of something knitted without most of the cons that come with doing it yourself. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it: arm knitting. This technique uses your own arms as the “needles,” creating large loops that generate quickly and seamlessly. This is great project for a cold, Netflix-binge-watching day when all you want to do is be productive while sitting on your butt.
I love blankets, but why do they cost 30 bucks a pop? I bought a beautiful one from Target that was my first apartment warming gift to myself, but the lovely, chunky, ombre blue and white knitted throw quickly became my kitty’s absolute favorite thing in the apartment and I lost ownership of it forever. Now it sits on the floor of his favorite hiding place, covered in his fur for the rest of its life. So I decided to make one that was sort of similar using the arm knitting technique, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!
For this project, you will need:
To create a chunky blanket, I used three skeins at once. You will see all three strands referred to as one, all-encompassing strand in this tutorial. You could even use four to make it a bit more chunky, whatever your preference is!
Next, you are going to create a slip knot. Do this by creating a loop with your working yarn (the yarn that you are pulling from the skeins, not the tail you just created).
Next, put your hand through the loop and grab the working yarn. Pull through, like this:
Put your hand through the loop you have just created. If you can tighten and loosen the loop easily by pulling on one end of the yarn, you’ve done it correctly. Tighten the loop slightly, but not so much that when you slide it up to your elbow, it’s too tight. You want to keep your loops pretty loose for this project.
Now, we are going to cast on. Start by making a “pincher” out of your pointer finger and thumb, and slide them between the tail and working yarn dangling from the slip knot loop that is now around your wrist, like this:
Next, you are going to wrap the yarn around the back of your hand and through your pointer finger/thumb by twisting your palm up to face you, like this:
I’ve re-labeled the yarn 1, 2, and 3 to help you decipher what is going on in these pictures.
Next step: Slide the same hand that has the loop around the wrist through yarn strand 1, coming at it from the outside of your hand, not from the side that has your palm.
I know this picture looks funky, but I swear it’s simple! After you slide your hand under yarn strand one, go up and over strand 2, then coming from the opposite direction of where you slid under strand one, slide under strand three. So you will go under it from the side your fingers are on, like so:
The yarn that is around my knuckle area of the hand that is vertical in the above picture is the yarn from strand one. Make sense?
Tighten the loop you have just made around your wrist. You have your first cast-on loop! It should look like this:
When I made mine, I had 25 stitches, although I wish I had more, maybe 30, so I’d suggest doing that.
Casting on is by far the most confusing part of arm knitting, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to get all 25/30 stitches. The rest of it will go by much, much faster. It’s also important to make sure your stitches are not too tight so you can slide them up your arm as you cast on more and more.
Now, let’s get to knitting! So much easier. Start by grabbing your working yarn in the hand with all the stitches:
Next, lift the first loop off your arm.
Bring it over your hand…
And off your arm completely, so it looks like this:
See the loop created by the yarn in your stitch-holding arm’s hand going through the loop you just pulled off? You are going to put your opposite hand, the one without all the stitches on it, through that new loop. Go at it from the inside, or the side facing your body, like this:
Yay!! Your first real stitch! You can tighten it a bit by jiggling the yarn around. You are going to do this for each loop, back and forth, from one arm to the other, until your blanket is the length you want it to be. I did around 30 rows. Keep in mind that because these loops are so big, you will not need as much yarn as you think you will! I didn’t use all of my yarn at all – probably only about half of each skein.
To cast off:
Knit one loop onto the wrist that does not hold all your stitches, like you are starting a new row. Knit one more so you have two stitches on one wrist. Now, hold your working yarn in the hand you are stitching the new row onto, like this:
You are going to grab the first stitch, the one closest to your elbow…
Pull it over the second one…
And completely off your wrist. Tighten. I know this seems weird and wrong, but it’s right, I promise.
Do this for all of your remaining stitches until the last one is on your wrist (you’ve already pulled the second to last stitch over it). Cut your working yarn and thread it through the remaining loop. Knot it. I knotted my tail around my first stitch a few times, too, before cutting it. Aaand you’re done!
Good job, and enjoy your cozy new blanket!