Saturday, February 9, 2013

Arm Knit Cowl - Finished in Under 1 Hour!

When I came across Simply Maggie's video and blog post on arm knitting, I loved her amazing idea for a fantastic chunky cowl.  (If you want to purchase one of these cowls, she has some for sale.)  The problem is that while there are tips to make your own infinity cowl (holding 2 yarns together, cast on 12 stitches) there is very little other pattern information.  I decided to write down what I did when I made my own arm knit cowl so that it can be easier for others to make their own.


The video is fantastic because it shows you how to cast on, and knit both forwards and backwards... With extra tips to orient things correctly and use your arms rather than knitting needles.

It is really good that this project takes under an hour to knit up, because it is hard to set aside your knitting while your arms are the needles.  What should you do if you really do need to step away?  Transfer the stitches onto a random needle and gently set aside.

  • 120 yards (60 yards held double) of Super Bulky Yarn.  The yarns in this sample were Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Denim (Blue) and Black.   (Each ball of yarn comes with 106 yards, so there is plenty for this project.)  My Cowl Weighs 185 g.  
  • Needles - You don't need needles, you're using your arms!  Depending on the size of your forearms
  • Notions - You may want a yarn needle for weaving the ends of the cowl together, but the holes are big enough that you can use your fingers. 
  • Finished Size - ~13" x 42" Flat (before sewing the ends together.)  
I arm knit a little differently from Maggie, but I think her video is really good so I provided links to the relevant parts of the video below.  Maggie knits by holding the working yarn in the hand belonging to the arm you are knitting off of.  I prefer to put my hand through the loop I am to knit and then pull the yarn through, much like using knitting needles.   Therefore, I put the terms for the stitch you are making in terms of knitting terms (i.e. knitting forwards and knitting backwards.)

Pattern Instructions
  • Cast On 12 stitches to you right arm holding two strands of the super bulky yarn together.  (0:16 of the video)
  • Row 1: Knit 12 stitches backwards (from Right arm to Left Arm.)  Take care to see the Knit Stitches facing towards you.  You may need to fiddle with the technique a bit to find what works best for you to create untwisted knit stitches.  (2:17 of the video)  
  • Row 2: Knit 12 stitches forwards (from left arm to right arm.) Again, take care to keep your knit stitches untwisted.   (4:05 of the video)
  • Repeat these two rows 10 more times (for 22 rounds total) ending on Row 2, or until the scarf wraps around your neck twice comfortably.  
  • Bind off loosely.  (6:27 in the video)  At the point the piece should measure (ROUGHLY - when laid out on wooden floor) 13" x 42"  (The gauge is so loose that you can easily pull it longer or wider, so these measurements are very rough.)
  • Because this is a stockinette fabric with a right side and a wrong side, we are not going to make a mobius (or infinity) cowl.  To sew it together, fold it so the RS fabric is on the inside without any twists.  Sew the Cast on edge to the bind off edge.
  • Weave in any remaining loose ends.  With a gauge this loose, weaving in ends securely may be hard.  I knotted them very well and then cut the ends.  
  • Wrap your new cowl around you neck twice and feel super cozy!  Marvel at the fact that this took you under an hour to put together.  

Oh, and it really did take about 30 minutes to knit this cowl.  Maybe I would be faster the second time around because I'm not taking notes while I'm knitting!  Time yourself and tell me how long it took you to create in the comments below.  

Thank you Maggie for this amazing inspiration!

This knitting instructions were written by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use.  Inspiration for this pattern came from the Simply Maggie's "How to Arm Knit" Video. You are not to distribute or sell this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2013  


  1. I love arm knitting :) I found the same video you did, and I can now do a cowl in less than 20 minutes, a full scarf in about 30 and a baby blanket/basket filler in 30 as well :)
    I love the way your cowl turned out, great job!

  2. Took me two hours to make my first scarf. Ran downstairs to show my flatmate where it promptly unravelled. And I mean unravelled. The wool is now wound up in a bag ready for me to try again tomorrow. Not sure what went wrong. :(

  3. Could this be done needles? Say size 50?

    1. Yes and no. To make this cowl on size 50 needles you would need to increase the stitch and row count since the gauge would be different. My arm is >2x as big as size 50 (25 mm) knitting needles. It would be a lovely cowl, but the stitches won't be anywhere as loose as from arm knitting.

      My gauge was almost 1 st/inch x 1 row/2" from the arm knitting. Maybe baseball bats would be a good alternative.


    1. I'm not Maggie, but I'm glad you think this is cool! I just watched her video and added some written instructions based on what I did. :)

  5. This was a nice tutorial, but it would have been even easier to follow if you'd used black and white yarn or some other bold contrast.

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