Expert arm knitter Anne Weil shares her top tips!
Crafters across the globe are discovering the joys of arm knitting to make gorgeous giant knit blankets or accessories. Author and blogger Anne Weil has been a pioneer of arm knitting for several years and has used the technique to create all sorts of amazing projects ranging from rugs made from rope to lacy pillows and giant cable throws. Here, Anne provides her top tips to help you get started!
1. Remember that arm knitting is easier to learn than traditional knitting as there are no needles to deal with. It’s a great gross-motor exercise and a fabulous way to change things up in scale, size and feel from traditional knitting. Still, be patient with yourself, you’re learning something new!
2. You CAN stop in the middle of arm knitting! People always ask me this. If you want to take a break, the best way is to place the stitches on a holder. Something rigid works best for this, like a gift-wrapping roll or paper towel tube. If you don’t have that, you can just string your stitches on to a piece of scrap yarn and put them back on your arm when you’re ready. Here are some tips!
Anne’s giant arm knit bunny is available as a pattern or kit from her website flaxandtwine.com
3. Yarn choice is critical. You need to bulk up your yarn as much as you’ve bulked up your needles (going from traditional needles to your arms). You can do this by working with the new extreme speciality yarns, such as those made by Loopy Mango or Love Fest Fibers. Or, you can bulk your yarn up by knitting with multiple strands of a super bulky yarn (something that gets two stitches to the inch or even fewer works best, like Cascade Magnum). These days, you can find some less expensive jumbo yarns at your local craft store, too. My recommendation is to knit up a sample and try it a few different ways until you get a fabric you like.
4. If you are making something like a cowl which will be hanging around your neck, you can get away using yarn that is less bulky. If you are making something like a pillow, pouffe or blanket, I recommend using a bulkier yarn as your stitches will be stretching two directions. You’ll want those stitches to be really full.
5.To keep twists out of your stitches, and keep them all looking smooth and uniform, don’t forget to turn each loop or stitch clockwise a bit as you go from your right arm to your left and counter-clockwise as you shift from your left arm to your right.
See Anne’s helpful videos and tutorials at flaxandtwine.com
6. If you want to keep your arm knitting stitches tight, try these helpful hints:
- Keep your stitches condensed and close to your hand as possible (your arm is smallest and most consistent near your wrist).
- While you are knitting, keep your hands close together. Otherwise, the stitches get pulled bigger.
- Try to grab the working yarn close to the last stitch you made minimizing the amount of yarn included in each stitch.
- You may notice that the last stitch you made won’t actually lock down tight. This frustrates a lot of beginning arm knitters. Here’s the trick, focus on the stitch you made just before the last one. You can tighten this second to the last one by pulling on the working yarn snugly with each stitch. In other words, as you arm knit, think about tightening the stitch prior to the one you’re currently knitting so that it is tightened snugly to your wrist.
- You can always manually tighten your arm knit stitches by starting at the stitch close to your elbow and pulling each one snug against your arm, progressing from your elbow, and going towards your hand.
See more of Anne’s brilliant arm knitting projects and tips, as well as keep up-to-date with all her latest news at flaxandtwine.com