Arm Knitting a Scarf: No Knitting Needles Required

When arm knitting first started trending, I dismissed it as an easy way out for people who don’t want to learn to knit with needles. I was so wrong! Arm knitting is just like regular knitting, except that your arms are the needles. I know. It’s mind-blowing.

I tried arm knitting myself and soon fell in love with it. Once you get into the flow of how to arm knit, feeling the yarn move from one arm to the other is meditative and wonderful. The only downside? Don’t get stuck with your arms handcuffed in the middle of a row when you’re trying to answer the phone.

Wanna learn how to arm knit? Check out this tutorial and you’ll fall in love as quickly as I did.

Arm Knitted Cowl
Photo via Craftsy member Anne Weil

What you can make with arm knitting

The gorgeous arm-knitted cowl above was created by Craftsy member Anne Weil. (Anne also sells a fabulous step-by-step arm knitting tutorial right here on Craftsy! If you need extra help, be sure to check out her detailed how-to.) Notice the loose gauge of the yarn. For this reason, it’s best to work with several strands of super-bulky yarn held together.

One of the most common arm knitted projects is a scarf or cowl. You can also make a scarf, then seam the ends together to make an infinity scarf. Experiment and let the loose gauge of arm knitting inspire you!

How to arm knit

Ready to get started? Here’s how to arm knit a scarf:

Holding two or three strands of yarn together, make a slip knot and place it on your right arm.

Casting on

Cast on using the long-tail method: Grab the yarn that’s attached to the skein with your left hand. Wrap it behind your thumb and use your ring and pinkie fingers to hang onto it. Grab the tail end of the yarn between your pointer and middle fingers.

Long tail cast on arm knitting

Place your right hand up through the loop wrapped around your thumb.

Cast on arm knitting

Grab that yarn tail with your right fingers.

Cast on arm knitting

Pull the tail through the loop to form a second loop.

Cast on arm knitting

Place that loop on your right hand.

Cast on arm knitting

Repeat these steps until you have 10 loops on your right arm. (You can cast on fewer stitches if you want your scarf to be more narrow — or more if you want it to be wider.)

Arm knitting the first row

To arm knit the first row, transfer all the loops on your right arm over to your left arm. Here’s how:

Grab the yarn that’s attached to the skein with your right hand. Hang onto it as you pull the first loop from your right arm right over your hand. Don’t let go of the yarn!

Arm knitting the first row

Place that loop onto your left arm.

Arm knitting the first row

Pull the yarn tightly just like you did the slip knot, making sure the loop is just big enough to slide over your left hand.

Arm knitting the first row

Repeat these steps until all the loops from your right arm are now on your left arm.

Knitting the second row

Move all the loops from your left arm over to your right arm. Here’s how:

Grab the yarn with your left hand. With your right hand, pull the first loop from your left arm off your hand.

Arm knitting the second row

Place the new loop onto your right arm.

Arm knitting the second row

Repeat those steps, grabbing the yarn with your left hand and pulling the loop from your left arm over your left hand.

Continue to arm knit, switching arms for each new row, until your scarf measures the length you’d like.

Binding off

Once you reach the desired length of your scarf, bind off: Knit two stitches, just as you did for each row of the scarf. Then pull the first knitted stitch loop over the second knitted stitch loop.

Arm knitting bind off

Drop that loop.

Repeat, pulling the loops over each other to bind off just as you would if you were using needles.

When you only have one stitch left on your arm, pull the loop off your arm. Cut the yarn at the end and pull the yarn end through to secure it. Weave in those ends and you’re finished!

Learn more fun knitting techniques with Craftsy’s ever-growing collection of knitting technique classes.

Have you tried arm knitting? Do you think it’s similar to knitting with needles?

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3 Responses to “Arm Knitting a Scarf: No Knitting Needles Required”

    I would rather see a video of this in action. Much easier to get the hang of than individual photos. Please consider.

  2. Nancy

    I want to learn to finger-knit. I watched a video about it on YouTube but cannot find it again. Does anyone know where I can go to at Crafts to learn? I am left-handed and cannot find anything to teach me to knit . I did find one teacher but all he had was a short video.. I am a premium member now though, is there someone who teaches left-hand knitting ?? Thanks for any email is…

  3. Rachel Ferrero
    Rachel Ferrero

    How many skeins of yarn are needed to arm knit a blanket with extra large yarn?