Arm Knitting Experiment

When an octogenarian asks you if you know anything about arm knitting, the correct answer is, "No, but I'm sure we could figure it out!" That is how I ended up experimenting with the technique and fodder for today's post.

Carol is the founder of a medical support group I attend and it quickly came out that we both love knitting. When chatting after a meeting one day she said she would love to learn arm knitting, and I eagerly invited her over to figure it out together. I am always up for a crafting challenge and I was excited to make a friend. Carol brought the chicken salad and her sister, Penny, and I brought my fearless spirit and an instructional Youtube video.

For those unfamiliar with the technique, arm knitting is just like using knitting needles except your arms are the needle. You pull the loops through by hand and end up with an airy fabric, great for oversized cowls and quick throws.

When diving through my stash to prepare for their arrival, I found myself drawn to a bag of roving I've had forever. I'm pretty sure it's Ashland Bay Merino and while very nice, wasn't close to the top of my spinning queue. I quickly split it into quarters lengthwise and decided to use it as is for my first piece.

I loved the fabric I got. But that cowl was plenty big for me and only used up 1/3 of the roving. I couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if I spun the remaining portion into a huge, bulky yarn and made a matching cowl. So, I did.

I'm sure this is obvious to you, but even the mostly gently spun two-ply is going to be significantly thinner than the unspun fiber it came from. I like the fabric of the spun version much less - it's so loose it makes me think of netting. It has a lovely drape, but I like my garter stitch squishy.

What did I take away from my experiment? Arm knitting is a fun, quick way to knock out a FO. I'd definitely use it to make a quick blanket or scarf for someone who likes chunky accessories. I have pretty tiny arms and found a bulky handspun too thin to make fabric I enjoy - I'd have to figure out how to arm knit tightly to use that yarn weight successfully.

I also found how fun it was to experiment with a new technique with a new acquaintance. Carol and I proudly wore our cowl at the next meeting and it was great to see her glowing with pride. We're looking forward to more knit nights together in the future!