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Trending now: arm knitting

Dedicated trichotillomaniac Jane Hanks tries the latest online fad

One of the latest craft crazes to hit Pinterest and Youtube - arm knitting - has made it to France with day courses organised at a new do it yourself centre Atelier Seize in Paris and articles in glossy fashion magazine Marie-Claire.

Arm Knitting is the new chic way to create with wool, without any needles. In a short time you can create bed covers, shawls or even a cat basket in chunky knit.  

Seize Ateliers spokesman Melody Patin says they are delighted to offer lessons for a skill which has seen such a success on the internet. For €80 you are supplied with a giant ball of 100% merino wool and she says you will be able to create a bed cover in three hours using just your arms in a session which could prove to be “assez comique et conviviale”.

A cheaper option is to look at a free tutorial by tapping in 'arm knitting' on Google. As a knitter myself I decided to have a go to see whether it was as easy as it looked, or whether I would just tie myself in knots.

First I tried with a video but with arms and fingers laced up with wool it was frustratingly difficult to stop, start, pause and rewind to give myself enough time to understand the instructions. Instead, I found one with static photos at www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/03/arm-knitting/ and within half an hour I had worked out how to cast on.  

After a tricky start I found that the knitting is relatively simple and fast and you use your arms just as you would your knitting needles.  Of course it needs to be fairly quick because you can’t do much else at the same time - and you can’t just set it aside while you make a cup of tea. My end result wasn’t all that pleasing because my wool wasn’t really thick enough but with better materials I could see myself happily creating a cushion cover or snuggly scarf.

Dawanda is a website which serves as a platform for selling handmade goods, creative materials and tutorials, and has 7.3 million members in Europe. Amélie Kern, who is responsible for public relations in France, says that arm knitting has been fashionable for a year and they have noticed that many of their regulars have been interested in their tutorials such as this one for making a scarf https://en.dawanda.com/diy-tutorials/knitting/arm-knit-infinity-scarf

French wool company Phildar also encourage you to take it up because, they say on their tutorial www.phildar.fr/phil-academie/a/tricoter-bras.r.html, that it is scientifically proven that a repetitive action such as carried out in le tricot bras will chase all those nasty thoughts that have been niggling away at you all day and that such an activity can only be good for you.

Phildar sell an appropriate wool called Phil Big which costs around €25 for 500g, enough to make a cowl. Prices for really chunky high quality wool are expensive – on specialist sites such as Ohhio who sell through Etsy a one kilo skein needed to make a big scarf costs around €55 and you would need at least 2Kg to make a decent sized blanket.

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