It was a while ago now that I first saw a arm knitted blanket. I don’t remember the thoughts running through my head in the order they ran, but some of them are still clear …
- cool, what yarn is that?
- was that done all at once?
- what would you do if you had to pee while you were making that?
There were more, but you get the idea. Like most people, I was intrigued by the knitting with this really thick yarn. I had seen examples of extreme knitting before, but that was only interesting to me in a “neato” kind of way. Not as something I’d want to do myself. This arm knitting thing though, that had potential. Especially since I wanted/want to make myself a really cool knitted blanket.
That is, until I looked into it.
The idea of making a blanket quickly with really thick yarn is really intriguing. Arm knitting looks like that initially, but upon close inspection, not so much. First off, you’re not using yarn, you’re using roving. Yes, it’s lightly spun together, but not very much. This means it would come apart very easily, and it would be extremely difficult to wash. You couldn’t agitate it very much or it would felt, and even the gentlest of touches would rip it apart.
Then there’s the textures and colours. As in, there aren’t any! 🙁 I could possibly live if I couldn’t knit colourwork – I’d be miserable, but I’d live. But no cables?!! O_0!! Yikes, shoot me now!! I can conceptually picture how I would do cables arm knitting, but it’s not easy. And I think to myself, why??
So what’s the alternative?
Big honking needles, made to knit big honking yarn! Or a whole bunch of strands of not so big yarn held together! So to make a long story short (read the about page if you want the long version), I had a chat with a friend of mine, Linda, whose dad Bob is pretty handy in a workshop. I told her what I wanted, she told him, and voila! BigStix!
So what makes BigStix different from the other big needles out there? Okay, back to bullets …
- I’ve only seen 1 other needle that’s close to the same size as BigStix. And the problem with them is that the business part of the needle, the wooden section where you’re manipulating the stitches with, is waaaay too short. I mean maybe 3 inches then the taper! Since you’re getting less than 1 stitch per inch with some of these yarns, that’s just not gonna cut it! BigStix are a full foot long (30cm) where it counts! That means you can hold enough stitches to work a 6×6 cable if you need to! Or stake a vampire or two in a pinch! 😉
- The full length of the other needles are also too short. If you wanted to make a King sized blanket, you still would have to make a few panels and then seam them together. This is problematic because the yarn is very thick to begin with, so your seam is gonna be just as thick no matter how neatly you do it! BigStix are a full 6′ long from tip to tip! That’s 4′ of cable, and 2 of the actual wood needles. Even so, that are remarkably light and easy to work with. Ask August – that’s her with the blanket on the about page. Here’s a picture of her using them below …
- Then there’s the cable. Again, I’ve seen other needles where the cable is a slightly thicker nylon than you’d find on a 8mm needle. Again, too small! You need good sized tubing in order to hold the stitches these jumbo yarns create! So we went out and found some – ’cause the needles need them.
- Then Bob came up with a simple but ingenious way of joining the tubes to the wood! They won’t come out and the transition from tube to wood is smoother than a baby’s bum! You’ll love it!
- And finally we had to make them pretty! I mean if you don’t like looking at them you probably wouldn’t want to use them right? We think they look great! And we’re already planning on different woods for Limited Edition runs in the future. Just ’cause!
So now we just needed someone to try them out. Well, Hannah did just that! In a matter of 2 hours she was able to make this scarf (I showed her a cool grafting technique so there’s no seam).
So yeah, in 2 hours she made herself a superscarf! And she’s a beginner knitter! Of course we’ll give you the pattern! It uses 3 balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick! The great thing is that because you use 3 strands together, the colour combinations are endless! And it’s like knitting one ball of yarn! Win-Win!
Hannah’s hooked and deciding what to make next. A blanket perhaps? 😉