Arm Knitting How-To Photo Tutorial // Part 1: Casting On

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here to learn how to arm knit.  I think you’re going to love it!  You don’t need to be a knitter at all, though if you are, it will be familiar right away. If you aren’t, I’ve provided lots of detailed photographs to make it super easy to follow and learn.

You’ve reached Part 1: Casting On of a four part arm knitting tutorial.

You can reach the other parts of the tutorial here:
Part 2:      Arm Knitting
Part 3:      Binding Off Arm Knitting
Part 4:      Finishing Arm Knitting
Or, if you want to skip to the end and/or have a portable copy, you can purchase the instant download PDF of all instructions here. Or, if you really, really want to skip to the end, you can buy a gorgeous arm knit cowl from me here!

All you need is a good attitude and lots of bulky yarn and you’re ready! To make the knit fabric really full, I use three strands of a bulky yarn at the same time.  Here are some yarns I suggest and some samples:

Lower Cost:
// Lion’s Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick (Wool/Acrylic blend)

// Loops & Threads (Wool/Acrylic blend) (tutorial sample also in this yarn)

These yarns can be found at national chains such as Joann’s, Michael’s and Walmart.

Luxurious:
// Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky (100% merino wool, note you need 6 skeins of this for the cowl)
// Rowan Drift or Rowan Big Wool (100% wool)

These yarns can be found online or at your local yarn shop.

What I love about arm knitting is that you can come away from your first learning experience with a gorgeous cowl! What could be better?  Here are yarn requirements and measurements for the cowl before we get started.

Part I: Casting On
Slip knot
 // You will be working from 3 skeins of bulky yarn at the same time. Place all the ends together and treat it as if it were one strand of thick yarn. Before you start, make sure your yarn can unfurl from your skeins easily.

// About 1.5 yards from the end of the yarn, make a loop by taking the working yarn over the tail.

// Pull the working yarn through the loop.

// Pull this tight to finish the slip knot.
// Place the slip knot on your right hand with the tail closer to you and the working yarn farther from you.

Casting on

// Make a loop with the tail, so that the remainder of the tail hangs in front of the loop.
// Hold the top of the loop with your right hand.  Put your left hand through the loop and grab the working yarn.
// Pull it through the loop. Drop the yarn you held with your right hand.

// Put your new loop over your right hand.
// Pull the working yarn and tail apart to tighten the stitch on your arm.
// Repeat this process for as many stitches as you’d like.

If you want to make the cowl, cast on 10 stitches.

We’re well underway! You just accomplished the hardest part.  It’s all a breeze from here on in. Here’s what’s coming up:
I’ll keep posting through the weekend, so go buy your yarn and you’ll have a cozy cowl by Sunday night!
xo anne
  1. Oooh, another excuse to buy yarn! Can’t wait to try this.

    • anne

      Thanks Betz! the rest is coming soon!

  2. Wou! Amezing! I dont see anything like this. Thanksa for tut! Kiss from Serbia,
    Cale

    • anne

      Thanks so much!

  3. Cathy

    Hi,
    Have just signed up for your blog via email. I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen more clear, concise and easy-to-follow tutorials.
    I really like the pompoms-in-bulk. Like you, I try to find easy (lazy?) ways around everyday, monotonous things. For me, I would have turned the bench up-side-down and wound around all four legs. More poms at one time but more winding to get the thickness needed. Hmmmm, need to think about that!
    And wouldn’t it be great if more-reasonably-priced yarn still came in skeins that you could just un-twist and ta-da there was your almost-sausage. Maybe not so many poms at once but the thickness needed would sure be there! Hmmmm, need to think about that as well! Need to combine the two options somehow.
    Of course, when skeins were still around we would borrow a human who (whom?) could be bribed to hold up their arms forever in order to wind the skein into a ball. Remember doing this for my Mom (without the bribes); the rhythm we would get going was mezmerizing.
    It just seems we crafters are never satisfied! :-)
    Can’t wait to see what comes next and can’t wait to continue wandering my way through the rest of your blog.
    Cathy

    • anne

      Hi Cathy,
      Thanks so much for your kind words. I agree on the bulk pompoms – that was silly of me not to think to turn the bench upside down. And yes! taking a skein that comes unbound would be an easy way to do it – voila, no twisting! Have fun exploring!! I’m so glad you are here.
      Anne

  4. Cathy

    Oops, forgot!!!
    When I make this I’ll make it as a scarf. Don’t know where you live but I live in SW Ontario in Canada and the winter winds are quite nasty. Cowls look nice but don’t really keep out the wind. As the knitting in this is so loose I would be able to wrap the scarf around and around my neck to fill in the space between me and my coat.
    Again, all the best,
    Cathy

    • anne

      Cathy,
      You make the cowl long enough to wrap around twice. You will not believe how warm it is. There is something about how the air pockets in the stitches that makes it insulating and plushy at the same time. It feels light and airy but keeps you super super warm. Just try it! :) Let me know how it works!!

  5. Amit

    Awesome post.. and beautiful skill

    • anne

      Thanks so much, Amit! Give it a whirl!

  6. Cuc L

    Thanks for doing a PHOTO tutorial. I posted a video tutorial I found on my blog, but I personally think that photos are much more clear. No pause and rewind ;)

    • anne

      I agree! A step by step photo tutorial can be much easier than a video. Perfect for a brand new beginner!

  7. Thank you for this tutorial! I have a question however. It seems that my stitches weren’t as tight as yours look? It made it confusing to bind at the end. Do you have any tips?

    • anne

      Hi Sarah, It is typical to have your stitches looser when you are first learning. As you get used to the action though, you should work on making the stitches tighter. If you have tighter tension, it will look less stringy and loose. To do this, when you are about to do a new stitch, grab the working yarn close to your arm so the stitch you just made doesn’t have a chance to loosen to much in the making. You can also tighten it (and the last few stitches) down on your arm right after you knit the latest stitch. The new stitches on your arm that your making should be fairly tight to your arm. Thanks for taking the time to ask!

  8. maria

    What! Awesomeness! I never figured out the knitting thing either, so this not only looks easier, but way more fun. Thanks can’t wait to try it!!

    • anne

      Thanks so much Maria! I hope you do!! It is super fun!

    • anne

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Try again some time. You might get it the second time around. Or, watch for my next class – non-knitters have been very successful in class!

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  11. I’d heard of arm knitting & always wanted to try. Excited to get started with your great tutorial! Thanks for.sharing your knowledge:)

  12. BUENAS TARDES
    DESEO APRENDER A TEJER CON EL BRAZO ESPERO ME INDIQUE COMO ADQUIERO SUS TUTORIAS

    GRACIAS

  13. Lydia

    What a beautiful tutorial! I am struggling with the actual arm knitting (step 2). I’m getting a wide sparse of yarn between my rows, and can’t seem to tighten the stitches to make rows that are tight together. It seems like the tail is getting in the way. Any ideas? Sorry, it’s difficult to explain. :)

    • Thanks so much Lydia. I’m so glad you are trying it! and thank you for taking the time to write me! Here is what I would say:

      The best way to control the size of your stitches is to make sure you are minimizing the size of each loop of yarn you pull any given stitch. You can do this by grabbing the working yarn close to your hand for the next stitch and keeping the amount of yarn pulled through for the next stitch to a minimum (though you should still be able to move your hands). You can also tighten your stitches manually, bringing any excess length into your working yarn. If you do this, make every effort to keep the stitches a consistent size throughout your work.

      It may be that the yarn you are using isn’t thick enough to create a substantial yarn. Try adding an additional strand and see if that helps.

      Not sure what to say about the tail except that you can weave it into the end to keep it out of the way if you want.

      Have fun!!

  14. Hannah

    Hi there!
    Have you ever tried to make a throw blanket with this method? I’m curious if you think the stitch would be too loose for that. Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah! You can make a throw blanket with that method. I would look at the other comments in this post. I’ve answered this question before. I would consider adding another strand to bulk up the yarn, especially if you are using a slimmer super bulky yarn.

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