Best Arm Knitting Yarn
Quickly stitch together blankets, sweaters, and cowls of grand size—no needles required.
Roxanna is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.
Arm knitting involves using your arms to make the stitches with yarn. While it's similar to traditional knitting in the movements that you make, there are some differences.
"The main difference is that with arm knitting you always keep your knitting facing you, whereas in traditional knitting, you turn your work around every row," says Anne Weil, owner of Flax & Twine and author of Knitting Without Needles: A Stylish Introduction to Finger and Arm Knitting ($14.99, amazon.com).
Getting the hang of it can take some time but the results are worth it. The main thing to keep in mind is practice. "Arm knitting is easy to learn, just be patient with yourself as you are learning a new skill," says Weil. Start by practicing something simple and then move onto more complex stitch patterns or shaped projects. Over time it will become as natural to you as traditional knitting.
Another difference is the type of yarn you use. Traditional knitting projects use yarn that is less dense in thickness than the type of yarn you will use for arm knitting. While there are a variety of brands and weights to choose from, there is one type to avoid. "I do not recommend wool roving that is untreated," Weil says. "Though it is the correct size for arm knitting and will look fantastic at first, it will pill and shed wool quickly."
Instead, opt for one of these lauded skeins.
If you have the budget to splurge, high-end yarns are a great way to create the softest, most beautiful arm knitting projects. This option from Broadwick Fibers is formulated from 100% merino wool from Australia. Camille McMurry hand dyes the roving and felts it into strong but supple felted strands of yarn.
Each skein of this yarn uses recycled plastic bottle fiber, resulting in an added resilience. "Core-spun wool is sturdier and larger scale. You can arm-knit with one or two strands at a time," says Weil. "This yarn is typically merino wool spun around a sturdy cotton core, usually."
T-shirt tube yarn is jersey knit fabric that's sewn and stuffed with polyester filling. "This has a very full and fun look and definitely wears well—it just doesn't look or feel like wool," says Weil. "I love this color range of T-shirt tube yarn. It is less flexible and soft than wool. For this reason, it makes good structural arm-knit pieces like poufs." An added bonus? It's fully washable.
For a mid-range yarn that's natural in fiber, try Cascade Yarns super bulky weight—they come in a variety of colorways and are made with 100% Peruvian Highland wool.
You don't have to strictly use yarn that's 100% wool—a blend of fabrics also works for arm knitting. "If you want to arm knit with multiple strands and a less expensive yarn that still has some wool, I recommend arm knitting with four strands of Lion Brand Thick and Quick," Weil says.
This ultra-soft and lightweight yarn is anti-pilling and non-shedding. It's ideal for beginners and can be used for a range of projects, from crochet to arm knitting. The fabric comes in a handful of colors, from ivory and beige for minimalists to purple and red for people who prefer a pop of color.
Made with cotton yarn and filled with hollow fibers, this jumbo fabric is ideal for crafters just starting out with arm knitting. It's a great alternative to merino wool and can be used comfortably all year long thanks to it being lightweight, super fluffy, and non-shedding.
From pale pink to red rust, the color options are endless for this cozy chenille-style yarn. You can use it to quickly crochet or arm knit the coziest of blankets that will complement your home's existing décor.