Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knitting: Arm Knit Infinity Cowl (Tutorial)

I have something I think you are going to love! An "arm knit" infinity cowl! As in, knit on your arms instead of with knitting needles!

Have you heard of this trend? Maybe it's been around a long time and I'm just getting to the party. I don't know...

I will just tell you a friend of mine, Angie, had one of these infinity cowls and I thought it was to-die-for and then was even more intrigued when she told me she made it in about 30 minutes watching a Youtube tutorial. Seriously. She claims she is not a knitter.

So I watched and learned and I've made over a dozen of these in the past two weeks! That's no exaggeration. (As you may have learned, I tend to get compulsive about things I enjoy!)

I have made them for friends with January birthdays and for my sisters, just because. And a couple for myself. I would love to make one for each of you except for my list of other creative to-dos I shoved aside. And the laundry. So instead, I'll teach you!

You could just watch the YouTube tutorial (there are a bunch actually), but everyone does things a bit differently so I thought this project would benefit from a photo-tutorial and text explanation as well. Watching a long video isn't my favorite way to learn. And if it isn't yours either I have a tutorial with a few video snippets to show you how to make an arm knit infinity cowl.

So what color will you make?  I keep thinking I need more. It's not much of an investment of time or money (only 2 skeins of chunky yarn!) so you can go a little crazy.

And it's reversible. I'm wearing it "knits" side out in the taupe color and "purls" side out in the hot pink. I think they're both interesting. And these are super soft and snuggly so they're fun to wear.

Ready to get started? Click through for the details.


You'll need:
Before beginning roll up your sleeves (literally--or wear short sleeves so they are out of the way) and remove watches and jewelry. You will be moving your knitting from one arm to the other just as you would move work from one needle to the other if knitting with needles.

A step-by-step tutorial is below, but if you are a knitter, or if you want a quick reference after you've learned how to make this cowl, here is the pattern:

Arm Knit Infinity Cowl Pattern
  1. Working with two strands together, cast on 12 stitches.
  2. Knit every row for 20 rows.
  3. Bind off all stitches
  4. Seam cast-on and bound-off edges together to form a giant loop.
  5. Weave in ends.
Sounds pretty easy, right? It is! Now for the full tutorial.

**You will work with two strands held together--pull one from each of your skeins.**

You will start your cowl with a "long tail" cast on (mentioned only for those knitters out there; pay no mind if this term is new to you), using your arms. Using two strands together pull out about a yard and a half of yarn, make a slip knot at this distance, and slide the loop over your left hand so it sits comfortably on your wrist (not too tight or too loose). This should leave a tail long enough to seam your work at the end.

You will have the double-strand "tail" and the double-strand "working yarn," which is the yarn attached to your skeins. Grab both of these with your right hand and slide your pointer finger and thumb between these double-strands as shown below:

Now pivot your right hand up, keeping a grip on the yarn... that the one of the strands is looped around your pointer finger and one is looped around your thumb.

To cast on, use your left hand to slide under the outer side of the pointer finger loop...

...and then slide under the outer side of the thumb finger loop...

...grip the yarn of that thumb loop and pull it through the pointer finger loop...

...and finish by sliding it over your left wrist. You have just cast on one "stitch." This makes a total of two since the slip knot counts as the first.

Here's a short video explanation as well:

Repeat this cast on method until you have cast on twelve "stitches."

Now you are ready to knit. Arm knit.

Grab the working yarn with your left hand...

...and use your right hand to slide the first stitch off your wrist, over your hand and down over the working yarn.

Slide your right hand through the loop made with the yarn in your left hand. Do this from the back side of the loop.

Let go of the loop with your left hand and grab the working yarn below the loop you have just slid to your right hand. You have just "knit" one stitch.

With the working yarn held in your left hand, repeat this process by sliding the next stitch from your left hand over the working yarn...

...and slide your right hand through this loop to form a second stitch on your right hand.

Continue "knitting" in this manner until you have knit all 12 cast-on stitches and moved the work to your right arm.

Now I'll show you how to "knit" in the other direction. With all the stitches on your right arm, grab the working yarn with your right hand...

...and use your left hand to slide the first stitch over the working yarn in your hand.

Then slide your left hand through the loop formed by the working yarn (do this from the back side of the loop) to place one stitch on your left arm.

Here's a short video to show you this in full motion:

Continue arm knitting until you've knit 20 rows.

Then bind off all your stitches. 

Bind off like this: Knit two stitches as usual onto your right hand (unless you knitted an odd number of rows in which case this would be your left hand)...

...then pull the first stitch over the second and over your hand.

Now what was the "second" stitch has become the "first" stitch and you've bound off one stitch.

Continue binding off by knitting a second stitch onto your right hand and pulling the first stitch over the second. You will continue binding off this way until you are left with one last stitch on your right arm. (If you find that you have accidentally kept knitting instead of casting off and have more than two stitches on your right arm you can undo your stitches by pulling on the working yarn and sliding the loops back onto your left hand until you are back to two stitches).

Here it is in video form:

When you have one stitch left cut the working yarn and pull it through that final loop to secure.

Step back for a minute and enjoy your beautiful work!

You could weave in the ends and wear this as a scarf, or seam the ends for an infinity cowl by following the steps below. 

Here is a mini version of the cowl so I can show the seaming more easily. This is the the right side, or "knits" side facing up.

And here is the "purls" side facing up.

With the purls side up, fold the cowl in half with the cast-on and bound-off edges (they both look like braids) together in the middle. Don't be alarmed if your cowl looks like a tall tube instead of a wide loop--it's just the way the knit work stretches--hang tight.

If you followed the steps of this tutorial exactly you will have the original tail on the top or bottom and the final tail at the other, but if they are the same side that is fine too.

To seam the cowl you will be working into the knit stitches on either side of the "braids" formed by the cast-on and bind-off. Start by weaving the yarn tail at the bottom under the first stitch on the opposite side.

Now weave the yarn under the first stitch of the other (original) side.

You have just seamed the first stitch on either side of the braided edges. Continue weaving the yarn under each stitch on either side of these edges...

...and you will see the edges pull together to form an invisible seam.

(You may also find it helpful to view the tutorial for How to Seam Your Work, in my How to Crochet series.)

Isn't that cool? There will be a raised seam on the "purls" side, but that should discourage you from reversing it to wear sometime--just put the seam at the back of your neck.

Now pull your cowl wide...
(showing you the mini version so you can compare it to the "tall" look above)

...slip the big loop you've knit over your head, twist, double it over...
 (shown in full size again...)

...and enjoy!


Marnie said...

Wow---my dear friend, you look BEE-YOU-TIFUL in these pictures!!

CountryBelle said...

I wish there was a Michaels close by!! Very nice, will have to try this one!

Christie // lemon squeezy home said...

So you're gorgeous! And such a lovely tutorial! I've been wanting to try this and yours looks so great!!

Odile said...

this is very original and gorgeous on you ! the pics are great !

jeifner said...

Cool, I don't think I've seen this before.

Angie P. said...

Fun! My order of yarn has just arrived... I'm attempting a blanket next! I just love the soft drape the arm knitting lends.

Bari Jo said...

Oh my goodness! Never heard of this! Looks like FUN! Thank you for the fun tutorial - yours are so nice and I appreciate the time you take to make them for us! :O) Happy New Year!

Nicoleta Ganea said...

Wow, knitting with your hands.This is fun!

Delia said...

This is so fun and you look gorgeous! I have been wanting to learn how to do this.

Unknown said...

I have never knitted but I crochet, this looks like something fun and easy. I'm going to try to make some for my daughter & granddaughters.

Unknown said...

Could you recommend a video example of the invisible seam? I think I've got it but not sure.

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