The Strange Allure of Arm Knitting

arm knittingMonths ago I pinned that arm knitting video that’s all over Pinterest. I watched it and thought about writing about it. Clearly it was getting pinned a lot, but to me it just seemed like a strange craft that anyone who knew how to knit with needles wouldn’t actually want to do.

(I also happen to have pretty serious RSI, so regular knitting makes my arms hurt, so I kind of can’t imagine my arms literally being my knitting needles.)

But it’s really pretty cool, at least according to the Wall Street Journal. A recent piece looked at the trend, saying the amazingly bulky scarves that can be knit in less than an hour are popular with millennials:

Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification. It just so happens that a popular item to make is a so-called infinity scarf—a circular accessory that slips over the head.

That super-popular video garnered the teacher, Amanda Bassetti (aka SimplyMaggie), about $1,400 in ad revenue last month alone, which is better than I’ve ever done teaching knitting. The 25-year-old part-time nanny says the response has been as overwhelming as the giant projects it results in.

Bassetti didn’t invent arm knitting — and it’s popularity may come in part from an Italian artist, Andrea Brena, who is also 25 and who has used arm knitting in performance art — but she’s certainly made it crazy popular. I actually found reference to an article on arm knitting being published in the March 2009 issue of Yarn Magazine, for whatever that’s worth.

I still don’t really understand it. I guess it’s kind of cool that you can “knit” something so fast, but you literally can’t put it down once you start, so you’d better be able to knit it fast. And even though I think things worked on giant knitting needles have their place, I’m not in love with the look of arm knitting.

What do you think? Have you tried it? Would you give it a go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Want to learn more? Check out Simply Maggie’s projects on Ravelry as well as tutorial/patterns from Jen at PinkWhen and NordicMart.

[Photo by Andrea Brena via the Wall Street Journal.]


  1. Claire says

    While I think I’d rather knit with needles, I do love the look of those super-chunky blankets you can make with super-super-super-bulky yarn. And I love the squishiness of regular knitting, so I can’t even begin to imagine how squishy that blanket must be in real life. So in that way, it does appeal to me, because I’d rather arm knit than try and work with size 100 needles.

  2. says

    An easy pattern on size 50 knitting needles is this (for a scarf):
    Triple strand – cast on 10 stitches
    Knit back and forth for one hour – about 5ft. long
    Bind off, add fringe if you want to.
    All done. Has a rather spider web design and can be made while watching your favorite hour tv show!

  3. Denize says

    I love it. I learned how to knit from watching videos of people teaching arm knitting. I haven’t attempted blankets yet, however the infinity scarves come out beautifully. Finger knitting is really cool too. The length of one’s finger limits the number of stitches. Yet, it’s a quick easy craft that takes less than an hour. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.


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