A Complete Beginner’s (and I mean super beginner) Guide to Arm Knitting

By guest blogger Sarah Marland

After interning at Red Heart for 2 ½ months, I finally learned how to knit! I had been wanting to learn ever since I started, but I was nervous about it—it just looked confusing and difficult to me (even though I’m a pretty crafty person). But it’s actually not that hard! The other day, I learned how to arm knit. It’s incredibly easy, takes very little time, and it looks pretty cool once your project is finished. Here’s how I made my first cowl in 20 minutes:

(Don’t worry, I’m going to include my personal beginner’s translations throughout this step-by-step guide)


Cast on:
1. Make a large slip knot about 1 yard from the end of the ball, and slide it onto your right arm.
2. Hold the working yarn (the yarn from the ball) and the tail in your left hand as if doing a long-tail cast-on (the working yarn should be around your index finger, the tail should be around your thumb, and your middle and ring fingers should hold those pieces of yarn in place).

LW4233EN photo A








3. Move your right hand under the front strand (the piece that goes around your thumb).

LW4233EN photo B







Pick up the loop around your index finger and pull it through the loop around your thumb. Place that loop on your right arm.

LW4233EN photo C







4. Place the working yarn and tail on your left hand, just like in the first photo (except with two loops on your right arm). Repeat step 3.
5. Continue repeating step 4 until you have 12 cast-on stitches (12 loops around your arm).

LW4233EN photo D








Row 1:
6. Hold the working yarn in your right hand. With your left hand, pull the stitch (the loop closest to your hand) off of your right hand and over the working yarn.

LW4233EN photo E







7. A loop was just created in your right hand. Place this loop on your left arm, creating the first stitch.

LW4233EN photo F








8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for all of the stitches on your right arm until your left arm has 12 stitches and your right arm has none.

LW4233EN photo G







Row 2:
9. Row 2 is done the same way as Row 1, just with opposite hands. So, hold the working yarn in your left hand. With your right hand, pull the stitch at your left wrist (loop closest to your hand) off of your left hand.
10. Take the loop now in your left hand and put it on your right arm.
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 until the 12 stitches are on your right arm and none are on your left arm.

12. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until the cowl is about 45” long (I just went until I had about 1 yard left of yarn, or until it was long enough for my liking—you can wrap it around yourself to see just how long you want it)

Bind Off Row:
LW4233EN photo H13. Knit the first two stitches of the row just like in previous rows. Drop the yarn from your hand, and pull the first stitch over the second stitch and off your hand. You now have one stitch on your left arm.
14. Knit another stitch, drop the yarn, and pull the second stitch over the third stitch and off your hand.
15. Repeat this until the row is complete and there is only one stitch left on your arm.
16. Cut the end from the ball of yarn, leaving enough yarn to sew the ends together. Pull the tail through the final stitch and knot it once or twice to secure it.

17. To keep the ends from coming undone, knot each end around the nearest stitch of the cowl.
18. Use the tails of the yarn to sew the ends of the cowl together (making your knitted piece into one big loop). Knot the yarn once finished and cut the excess off.

I’ve now made three cowls by arm knitting; maybe it’s time to learn something new? Comment below on what technique/pattern I should learn next!

7 thoughts on “A Complete Beginner’s (and I mean super beginner) Guide to Arm Knitting

  1. Shanea

    How much yarn did it take to make the cowl? That looks like a bulky or super bulky weight.

  2. Patricia

    Hi thanks for the tutorial and for using words that aren’t to hard to understand. This is super duper easy, I think I’m hooked

  3. Sharon

    Thanks. Tried other sites couldn’t catch on. With our instructions I got it right away.

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