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Arm knitting: What’s the big deal?

13th February 2019


Arm knitting: What’s the big deal?

“It really has the wow factor…”

The trend for super-chunky knits has taken the internet by storm in recent years, but is it everything it’s cracked up to be? Our Editor investigates…

It’s been a hot debate recently – super-chunky knits are so quick to make and they look amazing, but are they practical and are they worth the price? I must admit that I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic but I was open to being convinced. Armed with two huge balls of yarn, I set out to knit a blanket and answer the question – what’s the big deal with big yarn?

What’s it like to work with?
For my blanket, I used Woolly Mahoosive Mammoth. I decided to cast on 25 stitches and work in stripes alternating between two shades – Light Teal and cream. The blanket used about three kilos of each colour. I was worried that it would be heavy, but most of the weight was taken by my lap, so it wasn’t too hard on my arms. I did find that I needed to wear short sleeves to stop the yarn from getting snagged on my shirt, but it kept me so warm while I was working that that wasn’t a problem at all. It took a few rows to get into the rhythm of knitting but once I was on my way, it was a really satisfying process.

Is it really practical?
One of the criticisms I’ve heard online is that roving-style yarn like the one I’ve used for my blanket isn’t very hard-wearing. Most of the yarn we use every day is spun and twisted to give it extra strength, but roving yarn is loose and can be easily pulled apart. If you’re knitting at a loose tension like I have here, you will need to treat your blanket with care but mine has held up pretty well so far. I’ve heard from other people that washing can be a problem but the yarn I’ve used can be washed in a washing machine on a delicate cycle. If you’re knitting something that needs to take a bit more of a beating (for example, if you want to use it in a kids’ bedroom) then you should probably stay away from the roving-style yarn but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a supersized knit. Options such as Woolly Mahoosive’s Chenille, Get Stuffed or Felted Merino will all stand up to wear and tear.

Is it good value?
Making my blanket would cost you £111, which I will admit I would have to save up for. However, these blankets can retail in posh shops for well over double that, so if you’re dead set on a super-chunky blanket to complete your cosy bedroom décor, making your own is definitely the way to go. It’s also super quick – mine took less than two hours to make, but that’s a double-edged sword – you don’t get the pleasure of as much knitting time as you would get if you were knitting in DK or even a standard chunky. If you want to have a go at making something in super chunky yarn, you don’t have to go straight for a blanket – you can make smaller homewares such as cushions for under £30.

Is it worth it?
Here’s the thing – I knit in the office quite a lot. When I’m reading something at my desk, I’ll usually have a project on the go, and even if not there’s almost always a few knitted things on my desk. None of them have even had half of the reaction from the other folks in the office as I’ve had for this blanket. Every time I took the project out to work on over lunchtime, I got a huge number of positive comments. It really has the wow factor, unlike any other knitted item I’ve ever had in the office, so if you want to impress your friends and family then yes, absolutely this is the project for you!

Your guide to…
Arm knitting

Casting on

Step 1: Leaving 50cm of yarn, make a slip knot and place it on your Right Arm (RA).

Step 2: With Left Hand (LH), make a twist in working yarn and place on RA.

Step 3: Rep Step 2 until all sts have been cast on onto RA.

Right-to-Left rows

Step 1: With LH, reach through st on RA and take hold of working yarn.

Step 2: Pull working yarn through loop and drop stitch off of RA.

Step 3: Slipstitch up onto Left Arm (LA), pushing a little way up the arm.

Step 4: Rep steps 2-3 until all sts have been worked.

Left-to-Right rows

Step 1: With RH, reach through st on LA and take hold of working yarn.

Step 2: Pull working yarn thorough loop and drop stitch off of LA.

Step 3: Slipstitch up onto RA, pushing a little way up the arm.

Step 4: Rep steps 2-3 until all sts have been worked.

Casting off

Step 1: Work 2 stitches as normal.

Step 2: Pull first stich over second. 1 stitch cast off

Step 3: Work next stitch as normal.

Step 4: Rep steps 2-3 until all sts have been cast off.

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