DIY discovery: arm knitting

Do you have a list as long as your arm of friends/relatives/randoms requiring Christmas presents? Then this DIY might be something for you. I learnt how to do it in about half an hour on the weekend, which is pretty fast for any kind of craft – and I was one of the slower ones in the class* to pick it up! If (unlike me) you’ve knitted before and have better coordination skills than me (that should be just about everyone), you should be able to catch on to it straight away. Basically, arm knitting is knitting using bulky yarn with your arms as the needles.


As I myself was learning and had both arms literally tied up, I couldn’t shoot a how-to video, but there are quite a few tutorials online if you search “arm knitting”, including some here. (Some tips that I would add, having just learnt it, are to start off with at least two metres of yarn hanging free, don’t make your stitches too tight or you’ll never be able to remove your arm, and do not attempt to do this activity in the presence of cats. But that last piece of advice applies to just about any craft activity.)

My first piece turned out like this…


… which isn’t really useful for anything much, but if it were a bit more of a rectangular shape it would work as a scarf. There are lots of ideas for what you can do with arm knitting online, including making cowl neck scarves (ie infinity scarves) and blankets. It all depends what kind of yarn/tape you use (I’m thinking you could be super eco-friendly and use up all your fabric scraps by making something out of this twine, although this would not be a quick project). Seeing as you can make a scarf in only about half an hour, once you learn this skill you can easily whip up presents for people at an hour’s notice – all you need on hand is the yarn. Like knitting, arm knitting is quite relaxing (and addictive) once you get the hang of it, so it’s easy to do in front of the TV or while chatting with friends. Perhaps you could try it for a pre-Christmas crafternoon activity – but make sure you do all your eating and drinking before you start!


*I learnt this on a camp for SisterWorks, which is a group supporting refugee and migrant women to build craft and other small businesses. If you don’t have time even for arm knitting and need some Christmas presents, check out their next market – details are all on the website.