Arm Knitting: Take Two!
This is a sponsored post. But all the words and opinions are authentically our own.
We’re BAAACK! Janine from Happy Happy Nester and I are at it again! Arm knitting for our second project together! Why do the same project again you might be wondering?
We want to share our three perfectly good reasons for arm knitting a second blanket AND for doing a second post on the same topic. Read on to learn the BEST and EASIEST way to arm knit the most luxurious blanket EVER!! By the end of this post we hope you will be confident enough to try this yourself. And just in case you’re not in the mood to knit, we’ve got links to where you can buy one just like it! (Plus, a 20% off coupon code!)
First of all, while Janine and I really liked the way our first chunky knit blankets turned out we still saw a huge difference between the synthetic wool and the blankets made out of real wool. We used acrylic (synthetic) wool the first time because, well, we were experimenting! To be honest, we really had no idea what we were doing, nor if it would turn out. So, we hesitated at the idea of spending the money for real wool. Now, with more confidence and the technique down we were ready to try it again. This time we are using real Merino wool! If you missed our post about our first arm knitting experience CLICK HERE to read all about it. We learned a lot!
Secondly, we wanted to try this project again because we were not very happy with the videos we used the first time. We had trouble following the techniques and had come across several problems that were never addressed. It seemed as though the videos over simplified the method. They underestimated the REAL amount of time the project would take. The first videos we used skipped over many potential issues that could (and did) sabotage the project. We knew that had to be a better way. We were on the hunt for improved information to help our friends and followers (and ourselves haha!)
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Thirdly, we wanted to arm knit another blanket because I came across a technique for casting on that was so, so simple and very different from the casting on method that we had used. I was eager to try this new method. (The two cast-on methods are the “M” Method and the “Loop” Method. The Loop method is the more simplified version and the one I prefer. But this is a personal choice. ArtizenHome.com has video tutorials for both.)
We soon came across Diane from ArtizenHome.com and started reading her arm knitting tips. Very quickly we realized Diane was the knitting guru we’d been searching for! Finally, someone who clearly knew what she was doing! Not only is Diane talented, she is also passionate about teaching others her techniques. We learned that ArtizenHome sold very high quality Merino wool at competitive prices. Our search was over.
Synthetic vs. Merino wool: All the facts
I want to spend a few minutes discussing the pros and cons of using the synthetic wool vs. the merino wool.
Synthetic wool isn’t nearly as soft as Merino Wool. Even during the knitting process itself the synthetic wool felt harsh and somewhat abrasive against my skin. My arms were red and irritated after knitting. The wool is the softest thing you have ever felt. Even when I had it pushed tightly up my arms it never felt harsh. The entire experience was noticeably more comfortable because of the softness of the Merino wool. You can imagine how wrapping yourself in this luxury would feel!
The Look of the Knit
Because the synthetic wool we used was smaller and thinner than the merino wool the look of the knit is very different. The real wool version is much fluffier so it tends to create a much more uniform stitch. The synthetic wool we used was somewhat flat rather than round so it showed twists and angles depending on how if you were twisting the yarn. Twisting the yarn is nearly impossible to control so this contributes to a lack of consistency in the final look of the blanket.
In addition, because the real wool is fluffier it is easier to create the impression that all the stitches are even because the fluff takes up any of the extra space created by a slightly bigger stitch. If I’ve lost you with this explanation don’t worry about it! My main point here is that it is much easier to make a perfect, uniform and professional looking blanket (even your first time) using Merino wool than with the synthetic wool. You can check back on my first post for a visual comparison, CLICK HERE.
Wear and Care
Both types of wool are somewhat delicate and need to be treated with care. The synthetic wool can be hand washed while the Merino wool should only be spot treated or dry cleaned. In either case you should wash with care in order to protect the shape and longevity of the wool.
Best Source for High Quality Merino Wool
Artizenhome.com sells the most beautiful chunky Merino wool! They provide all the information that you might need to try to decide how much wool you will need for the size of your project and how much it will cost. We decided to make full size blankets and bought 8 lbs of yarn. ArtizenHome sells their Merino chunky knit wool yarn for $30/lb. So our blankets cost $240 for the wool. The estimated size blanket is 40″ x 60 ” but it depends on the size of your knitting. My blanket ended up being closer to 5′ x 6′ because my stitches were somewhat tight (I have small arms!). You can expect yours blanket to be anywhere between these two sizes. They offer the wool in 24 different colors….more than enough to give you a very hard time deciding which one to choose!
Start off small
I’m guessing you’re already in love with the beauty of these blankets (or you probably wouldn’t be here!) And if you’re anything like Janine, Julie and me, you probably agree that ArtizenHome’s Merino wool is the better choice. You still may be unsure about taking on such a big project. If the cost is stopping you why not start off small? Here are some ideas and the amount/cost of the yarn necessary to complete each project.
Information provided from ArtizenHome.com “Tips & Tricks”:
- One Loop Infinity Scarf, 3 stitches wide – .5 – .75 pounds
- Straight Scart, 6 feet – 1 pound
- Lap Throw, 35″ x 50″ – 3.5 – 5 pounds
- Baby Blanket, 29″ x 35″ – 2.5 pounds
- Pet Bed – 2 – 4 pounds depending on the size
All Super Chunky Merino Wool is sold by the pound at ArtizenHome so keep this in mind when planning your project(s).
To encourage you to get started and reward you for coming to our blog we want to share this 20% off coupon code off your purchase from ArtizenHome.com. Just use JODIESDESIGN now through 1/20/17.
Tips from Jodie and Janine: What NOT to do!
Note: We learned these tips the hard way, but you don’t have to!
Don’t leave your skeins rolled up and start arm knitting with just one skein opened up. Learn from our mistakes! Janine and I were so eager to get started that we did this and soon found ourselves in knots. The reason is that each stitch creates a twist so you end up twisting the yarn as you go. Be sure to unwind all of the skeins and either pile it on the floor in front of you or roll it into a ball like Janine did. I placed a plastic mat on the floor to protect the yarn from any dog hair (two black labs roaming about) and worked that way.
Don’t get distracted and knit to the very end. You need to leave enough yarn (enough for about a row and a ½) to bind off. I was doing a “Live” Instagram video and was having fun chatting away, knitting, and answering questions when I looked down and realized I only had a bit of yarn left. After attempting to bind off and getting about ½ way through I realized I didn’t have enough yarn. The lesson here is plan ahead and pay attention to the amount of yarn you have left.
This tip goes along with the above lesson but is a bit more general. Basically, especially as a novice you want to pay attention to what you are doing. If you relax into the rhythm too much you may lose track of what you are doing. It’s good to leave the TV off and focus your attention as much as you can.
This tip is my favorite tip I learned from ArtizenHome and applied during this project. It was her suggestion of what to do when you want to take a break from your knitting. Use Saran wrap. Pull out a piece of Saran wrap long enough to string through all of the loops of your row as you take the stitches carefully off your arm. I actually traveled from Janine’s house to mine with my project held by the Saran wrap. For transport I just tied the ends of the Saran wrap together and was able to carry it safely like that. It’s brilliant!
We see a Merino Wool Blanket in your future! (wink wink)
We would LOVE to hear any tips YOU learn when you try arm knitting. Just comment here and I will potentially add them to my post for others to benefit from!
After reading this post we hope you feel confident, armed (get it?) and equipped to make your own arm knit blanket or throw. You may want to start as we did by trying out your first arm knitting project using synthetic wool. You may want to choose a smaller project. But, if you are like us and you are lusting after a thick, luscious, luxurious chunky knit blanket we encourage you to invest the time and money in knitting a gorgeous real Merino wool blanket. (And take advantage of our coupon code from ArtizenHome, JODIESDESIGN thru 1/20/17.) There is nothing quite like it we are sure you will agree!
For more insights and ideas I hope you will check out Janine’s post! You will love her wonderful story-telling skills, her gorgeous pictures and her thoughtful tips! Go to HappyHappyNester.com
This is a sponsored post. But all the words and opinions are authentically our own.