The moment my anti-“arm knitting” resolve crumbled

The moment my anti-"arm knitting" resolve crumbled

Throughout the last year or more, I’ve managed to avoid ever typing the phrase “arm knitting” or uttering a single thing about it. There was one phase where it seemed like I couldn’t click anywhere on the Internet without encountering a mention, but I studiously avoided following any of the links or reading anything at all about the craze that was sweeping the yarn nation. The definition of arm knitting seemed self-evident, no need to click for an explanation, and I was happy to sit out the fad. Then just recently the whole thing flared up again — I started seeing rampant mentions of a book called Knitting Without Needles by Anne Weil, often accompanied by photos of things that were not at all horrifying. (I have no idea where my instant disdain for arm knitting came from, honestly — it’s just there in my head, involuntarily.) Saturday before last, I popped into Craft South to buy a Moroccan pillow I’d been coveting, and found that Weil was going to be doing a book signing in a matter of minutes. There I was, faced with the book itself, so I broke down and flipped through it. Assessment: not awful. I was a little bit interested to meet her but had urgent pre-Thanksgiving errands to run, so off I went. Then somehow yesterday, cruising around the web, I found myself at her blog, Flax and Twine, and more specifically at a post about this giant, fluffy, basketweave, arm-knitted charcoal grey throw. And I’m not sure I can live without it! (You know I have mega blankets on my mind.) So I might be caving in about this whole bloody arm knitting business. Have you all done it? Am I crazy to have been avoiding it this whole time? Can you live without this blanket? I need to know.

Gift Idea of the DayUNRELATED/VERY EXCITING SHOP NEWS: If you’re curious to learn about natural dyeing or have someone on your gift list who is, I’m happy to report we’ve now got autographed copies of Kristine Vejar’s jaw-droppingly great new book, The Modern Natural Dyer, along with the beautiful boxed kit for the Northwoods Hat, available in three colors. See Fringe Supply Co. for pics and full details, and to grab yours before they’re gone!

45 thoughts on “The moment my anti-“arm knitting” resolve crumbled

  1. you can make that blanket without ever wrapping yarn around your arms,i’m just saying….. ;) (arm knitting is not something i will ever succumb to…i have no desire to knit with yarn that bulky ever,for starters.followed by i have enough projects in the wings to last me for the rest of my life,and learning a new type of a craft i already know well is not at the top of that list…but to each his/her own….)

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  2. I have been completely with you re: arm knitting, and then, yes, the charcoal grey throw! 😳 The poufs are pretty cool also. Not a fan of the hats or cowls tho. I think I felt that somehow arm knitting wasn’t ‘real’ knitting; it was for people who couldn’t ‘really’ knit. . What a snob eh?! LOL….Creating is creating, However you do it, however you get satisfaction from it. That’s all that really matters.

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  3. I’m not into it. I suspect the photography is better than the function. A bit of retail experience with super bulky knit throws taught me that those loose super bulky knits are prone to super ugly pulls and snags. Plus you toes poke right through.

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  4. I have Anne’s beautiful book and it is a big hit with the kids in my life. They loved making the octopus family. The throw and pillow cushions are on my list to try as well as the knit rug. Learning new crafts is always fun and keeps things interesting. Also, it makes you look at your stash in new and creative ways in terms of how you can combine different yarns to achieve the gauge necessary for the projects.

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  5. I will likely never succumb to arm knitting. I know nothing about it, but I imagine that your arms are tied up in yarn for a while. If I cannot just throw it down in a second then it is not for this mom, I have little onces that take priority.

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  6. I think it’s easy for people who’ve knit for a long time to put their noses up at something that looks like an “easier” version of what they already know and love. I had ignored it too. But then I did arm-knitting with friends at a knitting party, and had fun, and made a cute cowl in under an hour. And enjoying the process as well as the outcome is what it’s all about right?

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    • Oh definitely, yes. I don’t think I’ve thought of it as easier or not real knitting (to the comment above) — just … silly? Maybe. I don’t know what. Plus I tend to not really like the look of oversized knitting that much, with some notable exceptions.

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  7. Love that photo with the chair….the blanket makes it look like a miniature.

    The first I heard of arm knitting was when some of my son’s friends (20 somethings) were doing it for quick Xmas gifts a couple of years ago. I didn’t think I’d ever be interested. Heck, I seldom even venture into worsted weight. But I just finished a test knit with chunky yarn, and loved the whole process, and the sweater is beautiful. So….never say never is my mantra these days. Besides that, I imagine your version of arm knitting would convert a lot of naysayers.

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  8. I have been crocheting for a decade now, but am fairly new to knitting. I had never heard of arm-knitting before coming across this book through Pinterest a few weeks ago, then managed to stumble across Flax and Twine and FELL IN LOVE with this blanket! I agree with the other commenters that the hats and scarves are not for me, but the home goods are just lovely! It is quite pricey to make the throws, but it would be a nice splurge for a cozy winter weekend project^_^

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  9. my sister took Anne’s class at Squam this past fall. Loved it and made the most beautiful pouf! I am really interested in trying it and I LOVE the look of this blanket!

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  10. I used to think and kind of still do that arm knitting is for people who can’t knit for real. A friend tried making an arm knitted infinity scarf and it looked like a hammock! We got a good laugh out of it though. You go first and let us know how it works for you!

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  11. Crazy, I too have been avoiding this ‘thing’……….BUT Vejars book is THE best!! And just so I am not a TOTAL snob, I am going to visit the site for Flax and Twine.

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  12. I love chunky yarn, if its plied (not single) but question the wear life of bulky yarns. Arm knitting doesn’t fit with the reasons I love to knit. Not a question of trying something new but more about having no draw to it. The questions that come up looking at the blanket on the chair, “will it be used? will it be a pain to store? will it be super snuggly and comfortable? will is wash well? will it hold up over time or just pill and mat?” Would love to hear from anyone who has used a bulky yarn knitted item over time.

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    • The giant blankets do seem wildly impractical to me — especially from an off-season storage perspective. (Plus I have cats!) In my mind, they look pretty gross after about two days, but in pictures they can remain forever appealing!

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      • Hi everyone!
        I appreciate all the hoop-la over my blanket and book in general. First, I want to say thanks to Karen for sharing my book and pattern on the blog. I will respond to some of the comments individually up above, but I find these strong passions over arm knitting amazing. Honestly, arm knitting is simply knitting on big needles (your arms) without having to deal with the big needles/noodles. The way the yarn travels is the same, the way the fabric is made is basically the same. In the book you’ll find all sorts of traditional knitting techniques, like cables, lace, shaping and stitch patterns, just on a larger scale. The problem most people have is that folks don’t bulk up their yarn enough to get a good gauge so the fabric quality is off. This is what turns people off, I think.

        I am a traditional knitter and designer as well as an arm knitter. I keep coming around to Karen’s tag line above: “Knit and Let Knit” and I think that’s really true. Everyone has their own design sense and aesthetic that pleases them. I adore chunky and extreme knitting. I also enjoy minuscule crochet. Playing with scale produces beauty and interest for me, it may not for someone else. Making something with only yarn and my hands is magical and soothing to me. This may not be true for someone else. But we can all appreciate the love of making and creating without looking down on others.

        I love that I have introduced hundreds of non-knitters to the craft and art of knitting and that they love it. Isn’t that what we want as knitters to encourage others to enjoy what we love so much?

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m all for home knits. And home knits that are quick sound lovely. So there’s that. I’ve seen arm knitting around, and think, why not arms instead of size whatever needles? But what happens when you’re done for now and want to (as Anne describes so well) ‘throw it down’ and move on to something else… You have to take the ‘needles’ with you! LOL

    But ask yourself, are you succumbing to the technique itself, or just the lovely grey of this throw? Nowadays, I see these greys and though I cannot wear them, I call em ‘Karen-greys’ in my head.

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  14. I love the look of that throw, for sure, and the idea of a quick project is always fun. But how do you put your project down? Do you have to do the whole thing in one go?

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  15. I agree that the chunky blankets, arm-knitted or not, are gorgeous, especially in a luscious chunky single ply yarn. But, how heavy are they for their size? I’ve found that no matter how soft the yarn, a blanket or sweater that is too heavy to easily move under or around in is uncomfortable. I’ve knit a few throws/afghans/blankets/whatev-u-call-ems. Anything over 1000 grams is too heavy for me. I prefer ones that weigh between 500-700 grams.

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  16. Arm knitting is a no, for me. I did watch a YouTube video to see what all the hype was about and I literally fell asleep during the tutorial.
    I love the look of the chunky throws, just as you do! I decided to go a different route. By day I work for a plumbing company. I had one of my bosses make me some 18″ needles out of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe. I have knit a couple cowls with them to see how I liked it. I would love to make something like Laura Birek’s Giganto Blanket that I saw on YouTube. She just uses longer versions of the 1 1/2″ PVC pipe needles.

    I have a couple photos of the two I made on my Ravelry page. ID: shawnag

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  17. Not for me either. It is just too bulky. I think it would be like adding another piece of furniture to the room. Probably a booger to wash and dry too. I do love the color though :)

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  18. The only successful project is a completed project that you are happy with!

    That said arm knitting, quadruple zero needles knitting, toothpick knitting … whatever floats your boat … yet … is it really necessary?!

    For part two to all this is my second mantra for knitting … simple + beautiful + practical = priceless!

    The effort + time + money invested in a project should yield maximum usefulness and use and now those arm knitted projects fall woefully short!

    The weight, the delicate nature to wear and tear and the grotesque oversize and overconsumption of fiber to be flaunted is downright repulsive to me.

    Tip toeing off stage now … for some might find contrary opinions a big no and how dare you!

    I believe “we” can do better and point out that smarter choices can be made for endurance and sustainability of what we make!

    Knit happily … knit faster!

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  19. I was anxiously awaiting this book, and was thrilled when it arrived! It is simply divine! Anne is such a brilliant creator of luscious wares, as well as s fantastic teacher on You Tube.
    I jumped on the arm- knitting band wagon a couple of years ago, but just focused mainly on scarves, which is fine, but this book goes into a works well beyond neckwear!
    So happy you posted this piece on Anne Weil. She’s tops!

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  20. As a knitter and yarn shop owner, I can attest to the allure of arm knitting first hand. We were lucky enough to have Anne in Baltimore for a couple of years as she was conceiving of and producing Knitting Without Needles. We hosted 2 jam-packed arm knitting workshops prior to the book being published with all ages and experience levels with great success. Each participant left wearing an arm knit cowl, but more importantly, a huge smile on their face. We did another workshop and book signing just weeks ago with Anne with the same result. Arm knitting may not be for everyone, but please….let’s not be snobs about the way we use yarn to create. There’s room for all in the world of making.

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  21. I enjoy arm knitting. I like that it is quick and cozy. I have made scarves, cowls & a blanket. Now, with Anne’s book, have also made 2 hats. I think it is just preference. I prefer quick & not needing extra stuff-like needles. It is quick, but if I have to stop, I just take it off my arm, and put it back on when I start up again. I have seen bad arm knitting. It is usually done with too skinny of yarn. I think there is room in the world for all types of knitters, all types of yarn & projects. It’d be boring if we were all the same.

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  22. This posted under a specific comment instead of in general – reposting here.

    Hi everyone!
    I appreciate all the hoop-la over my blanket and book in general. First, I want to say thanks to Karen for sharing my book and pattern on the blog. I will respond to some of the comments individually up above, but I find these strong passions over arm knitting amazing. Honestly, arm knitting is simply knitting on big needles (your arms) without having to deal with the big needles/noodles. The way the yarn travels is the same, the way the fabric is made is basically the same. In the book you’ll find all sorts of traditional knitting techniques, like cables, lace, shaping and stitch patterns, just on a larger scale. The problem most people have is that folks don’t bulk up their yarn enough to get a good gauge so the fabric quality is off. This is what turns people off, I think.

    I am a traditional knitter and designer as well as an arm knitter. I keep coming around to Karen’s tag line above: “Knit and Let Knit” and I think that’s really true. Everyone has their own design sense and aesthetic that pleases them. I adore chunky and extreme knitting. I also enjoy minuscule crochet. Playing with scale produces beauty and interest for me, it may not for someone else. Making something with only yarn and my hands is magical and soothing to me. This may not be true for someone else. But we can all appreciate the love of making and creating without looking down on others.

    I love that I have introduced hundreds of non-knitters to the craft and art of knitting and that they love it. Isn’t that what we want as knitters to encourage others to enjoy what we love so much?

    Like

  23. I tried arm knitting and thought it was fun. I also thought it would be a great way to get younger knitters involved. I didn’t love the look of what I did, it was more loosely knit than I wanted so I would probably use more strands next time, but I definitely had fun using my arms as knitting needles.

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  24. I tried one arm knitting project and hated it! It was a big chunky scarf, and it just didn’t suit me. My fabulous husband, seeing my frustration, ripped it out for me and re-balled the 3 balls of yarn (it came with the contingency that I wouldn’t arm knit again).

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  25. I JUST picked up this book from Craft South last weekend. I am smitten. Her aesthetic has me completely sold. I don’t like “Pinteresty” arm knitting, but I love the household and children’s patterns in this book. I find arm knitting quite therapeutic, all the tactile and almost dance like quality of using your arms as needles. It also makes knitting easier to understand, somehow? My mom has never been able to grasp knitting with needles, and I am SUPER excited to try and reintroduce knitting to her this way.

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  26. Pingback: Squam 2017: Reflections and outfits | Fringe Association

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