For Key to I Can: Sewing Magic, we did a Chunky Arm Knitted Cowl. It was 24 projects, 48 balls of yarn and 24 newbie knitters. Have a headache yet?
Take a big breath and I’ll tell you how we did it. Because it went pretty well.
Prepare one kit per Brownie in advance (we needed 24).
- Yarn – Bernat Chunky big 400g balls x 8 ($10 each). In a variety of colours divided into 48 66g balls (get a kitchen scale). We actually did 48 80g balls but it was too much.
- Pop bottles to cast on to in advance.
- Large Zip Bags
Cast on ten double stranded stitches (see video) onto your arm and transfer those stitches to a pop bottle — grip the spout and slide the stitches from the arm to the bottle. Put the bottle and two balls into the big zip bag. Repeat 23 more times.
Suggestion – do the ball rolling and casting on during a leader planning meeting. Also, ask the girls to bring a plastic mixing bowl or container so that you don’t have 48 balls of yarn rolling everywhere.
Invite lots of helpers. You’re looking for knitters or people who have had a chance to try arm knitting. Share the how-to video and encourage them to watch it as many times as they need to. We had eight helpful adults in the room and we needed every last one of them.
Knitting meeting day
Plan a very active arrival game to work out any wiggles – once knitting begins there is not a lot of moving around possible (also send girls to the washroom if they need to). We did Chuck the Chicken (so fun!).
Do your regular opening (but do it as quickly as possible).
Demonstrate the craft and talk about program in one half of the gym. While the girls are occupied, lay out the kits on the floor in a ring.
After the demonstration, invite girls to get a kit and let the knitting begin.
- Transfer stitches from the pop bottle — grip the spout with your left hand and slip the stitches from the bottle, over your hand, and onto your left arm. Repeat.
- Note the sort tail of yarn, and the tail that is attached to the balls. Ignore the short tail and only use the yarn attached to the balls (working yarn).
- Your left arm should be full of stitches. With your left hand, grab the working yarn. With your right hand, pick up the first stitch from your left arm and slip it over your left hand. Let this yarn drop (you still have a loop of yarn gripped in your left hand).
- Transfer the loop of yarn in your left hand over your right hand and onto your right arm. This is your first stitch. Repeat 9 more times. At this point, it I often exclaim “you’re a Knitter!!!” They like the praise, and it is true!
- Once your right arm is full of stitches you’ll repeat the process but in reverse. With your right hand, grab the working yarn. With your left hand, pick up the first stitch from your right arm and slip it over your right hand. Let this yarn drop (you still have a loop of yarn gripped in your right hand).
- Transfer the loop of yarn in your right hand over your left hand and onto your left arm.
Repeat rows 3 – 6 until your project is long enough to wrap around your neck twice, or until your working yarn is about two of your wingspans.
Casting off. Check out the video (minute mark 2:15)
- Knit two stitches as before. (When casting off you’ll have no more than two stitches on the arm that you’re knitting to.)
- Pull the stitch closest to your elbow over the other stitch and over your hand. Drop this stitch and knit another stitch as before.
- Knit one more stitch.
- Repeat 2 & 3 until you have knit and cast off all but the last stitch.
- Cut the yarn (leave a long tail) and thread it through the loop. Pull the loop off your arm and let it drop.
- You’re done knitting.
Using the long tail, sew the two ends together to make a cowl. Weave in any ends. Repeat 23 more times.
We were about 5 minutes over time so we did a quick closing and we sent our new knitters home with their projects. It was fun.