Lady wearing scarf

How To Make A Scarf — No Knitting Needles Required

by BUST Magazine

Photo: Megan Senior; Model: Naimah Terry; Hair/Makeup: Mary Guthrie; Nails: Miss Pop; Dress: Modcloth; Location: The Landing at Industry City

You don’t need knitting needles to whip up this quick chunky scarf! Whether you’re a knitter or a quitter, you can make this easy scarf using a technique called “arm knitting,” in which your limbs are used as giant knitting needles to create super-chunky knit fabric. It’s easy to learn, and best of all, it’s fast—you can complete a scarf in far less time than it takes to listen to Disc One of the Hamilton soundtrack. So arm yourself with some awesome yarn, and get ready to knit the night away.

At least 46 yards of jumbo or super-chunky yarn, such as Red Heart Grande


Casting on: Pull out 4′ of yarn from the ball, and make a slip knot as follows: drape the yarn over your left hand, palm facing you, with the 4′ “tail” end hanging in front. Wrap the “ball” end around your hand once, so that it crosses over the tail end (A), then use the thumb and forefinger of your other hand to pull a loop of that ball end through (B).



Place this loop on your right wrist, and pull on both strands to make the loop taut (not tight!) around your wrist (C).


Hold your right arm up so that both ends of the yarn are hanging down, with the tail to the left, and the ball end on the right. Grab the tail end with your left hand turned upside down, so that your thumb is pointing downwards (D).


Flip your left hand right side up to create a loop (E).


Continuing to hold on to that loop in your left hand, put your right hand through the loop (F) and grab the ball end of yarn. Pull this yarn back through the loop towards you (G), and place the resulting loop on your right wrist.



Drop the loop of yarn in your left hand, and snug up the new loop on your right wrist by pulling on the ends of your yarn (H).


Repeat from (C) 8 more times until you have 10 loops on your right wrist. Keep the loops neatly in order on your wrist as you create each new loop.

Knitting: Grab the ball strand with your right hand (I), overhand, like the way you would hold a bike handlebar.


Continue to hold this yarn. With your left hand, lift the last loop you cast on up, over, and off your right hand (J). This will create a “new” loop in your right hand (K).



Let go of the “old” loop you are holding with your left hand, and place the new loop onto your left arm (L).


Repeat from (I), making sure each time that you place the new loop onto your left arm so that the ball end hangs to the front, closer to your body, like you were putting on a pair of evening gloves (M).


Continue until all loops are on the left arm, and no loops remain on the right arm. Repeat the process in reverse: grab the ball strand with the left hand (like you’re holding a bike handlebar), and lift the loop on your left arm up, over, and off with your right hand. TIP: Grabbing the yarn as close to your work as possible, and pulling it to tighten the last loop on your arm before creating the next loop, will keep your work looking neater.

Binding Off: Continue knitting back and forth in this manner. Check how much yarn you have left at the end of each row (when all the loops are on one arm and the other arm is free), and when you have only a yard or a bit more than that, it’s time to stop knitting and get this thing off your arm. Here’s how: Make two new loops in the usual way (it doesn’t matter if you are making your loops onto your left or your right arm at this point). Then grab the first of these two loops with your other hand (N).


Carry that loop all the way over the second loop and hand and then let go (O).


You will have one loop left on your arm. Create another new loop in the usual way so that you have two new loops on your arm again then take the first one up and over the second one so you are back to one loop. Carry on this way until you are left with just one loop on your arm. Pull the end of yarn through this loop, and tighten (P).


Finishing: To stitch the scarf together, shape it into a circle in front of you, with the finished ends of the scarf facing each other at the bottom of the circle. Then, using one of the tails, begin weaving the two ends together (we used pink yarn so you could see it better). Bring the yarn under the two legs of the stitch (each stitch looks like a V) on the left-hand side then bring your yarn under the two legs of the first stitch on the right-hand side. Then bring the yarn under the two legs of the next stitch on the left-hand side, then under the two legs of the next stitch on the right-hand side. Continue in this way until both sides are sewn together (Q).


Take the remaining end of yarn and weave it into the fabric of the scarf until you’ve woven in about 6″ of yarn. Then cut the yarn. Do the same with the other tail (R). DONE!




This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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