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finger knitted necklace scarves

I refuse to learn how to knit. Not because it’s not a great craft – you can make incredible things, knitting. Hats, sweaters, dolls, scarves, more scarves… I know full well how much crafting potential lies in knitting, which is exactly why I won’t do it. I’ve got so many crafts on the go already; learning a skill as open-ended as knitting is just inviting in an endless stream of projects I have no time to do. Too dangerous!

Therefore, may I introduce finger knitting. Not really knitting, right? I mean, you can’t do a bunch of fancy stitches, it’ll never lead to making a sweater or even mittens. (Ok, plus I had all this yarn lying around – souvenirs from past roommates and some stuff I bought that one time I decided I did want to learn how to knit, but then I got distracted by other things and quit making uneven potholders and never used up the yarn I’d gone and bought for my great knitting future – ha.)

So. Here’s how to finger knit, followed by an idea for what to do with the result.

Finger knitting is very simple, though may seem tricky at first. I had to unravel my first foot or two and start over, once I’d gotten the feel for finger knitting and how to keep the right tension, etc. etc.

1. Take the end of the yarn and drape it between your thumb and index finger, across the palm of your hand. Your palm should be facing you.

2. Put the yarn behind your index finger. Loop it all the way around the finger, ending behind the finger once again. Repeat this with your middle and ring fingers. (You can use your pinky finger as well, looping the thread around the same way. This will make your knitting a bit thicker. I don’t use my pinky finger; I find that using it makes the whole process slower and trickier, due to it being so much shorter than the other fingers.)

3. Lay the yarn across all three (or four) fingers, above the previous loops on each finger.

4. Starting with your ring finger (or pinky finger, if you’ve chosen to use it), pull the bottom loop over the top loop, and then all the way over the finger to the back of your hand, and let go. There should be one loop of yarn left on your finger. Repeat with each finger in order from right to left.

5. Continue to do this, keeping the yarn as tight as possible without cutting off circulation to your fingers. (This took me a bit of practice to get right. Just keep trying till you’re satisfied with the evenness of the knitting.) Behind your fingers, the knitting will look like an oddly textured, slightly concave mass. Every so often, give it a good tug and it will pull into a nice tight rope. Which will also increase its length and make you feel you have accomplished even more. Keep going until you get tired of it or run out of yarn.

By the way, yes you can give the starting end of your knitting a good tug – it will not unravel, promise. It will seem to be unraveling for a moment, but then it will tighten, tying off the end of your knitting.

(Important Notes
So if your fingers replace the knitting needles, what do you do when you need your fingers for something else?? You can put each loop over a pen or sharpie marker to hold the knitting in place. Or you can get out the Lego, as I did.

You can also try this with multiple yarns at once. Just follow the same exact steps above, but with two or three different yarns bundled together into a group.)

6. Congratulations! You now have several feet, yards or miles (depending on your enthusiasm and free time) of pretty but non-functional homemade rope. Yay?

Here’s something you can do with it all. Remember my post on making t-shirt scarves? Surprisingly warm, charmingly fun and different. Make one of those with your knitted rope! Simply wrap the knitting around in big loops, making sure it’s long enough to fit twice over your head. Knot the ends together. Voila! Now you’ve made fashion.

Leave a comment


  1. Huh. Neat! That makes so much sense.

    I mean, there’s no way I could do it, and I still can’t quite wrap my head around the physics of it, because I suck at that, but… Neat!

  2. I like the looks of the end result, but what really draws me to finger knitting is this nebulous imaginary scenario in which I am stranded on an island and can somehow use this practiced skill to save the world! I mean, it’s turning string into rope, right? With my fingers. Awesome.

  3. How about, before you tie the knot to make this into a scarf, you string one large, absolutely fabulous bead onto your rope? Then just let it fall where it will on your neck. BTW, should I be impressed or worried that you colour-coordinated the lego to go with the finger knitting?

  4. I gave this a whirl and discovered that a crochet hook is a nice tool for part 4 instead of the fingers of the other hand.

  5. admin

     /  March 6, 2010

    Aha, proof that I am my mother’s daughter! I’d been pondering putting beads (or a bead) on these. Need to go buy large enough beads first.

    Crane, that does sound like a pretty sensible idea. The only thing I’d say is that I did use my fingers to pull each loop tight after finishing the one on the previous finger. But I imagine the yarn also wouldn’t get so loose in the first place if using a crochet hook. I’ll have to try it.

    Shandi, you crack me up. I wanna see that story when you write it. ;)

  6. Yeah sure Tally, make your finger knitting look so much cooler than my saving-away-on-needles knitting. Bah.

  7. I get bored of knitting really easily but this I love! Made 2 feet of knitting in half an hour, and its so pretty and simple.
    A question though- how did you get the ‘chain link’ effect on the third photo at the end? I really love that, plus I think I can use it in a costume I need at the end of July…

  8. admin

     /  May 18, 2010

    Oh, so glad you like it! The links are very easy – just make short bits of finger knitting, length depending on how big you want your chain to be. Mine were about 7 or 8 inches, I think. Knit to this length, tie your knitting off, loop it around in a circle and tie the dangling bits of yarn at either end together, nice and tightly. Trim the extra, then repeat and loop the next one through the first before tying it together. That’s it. Good luck with your costume!

  9. Yes, but i want it larger like a scarf you buy at the store.I don’t think you can do that

  10. How long did it take

  11. admin

     /  May 8, 2011

    Hmm, well if you mean longer then yes, certainly you can do that. If you mean you want each knitted strand to be thicker, then not so much. Though you could use super thick yarn, which would help a bit.

    I did this project a long ways back, so I’m uncertain of the time it took. I’d guess a few hours (once I’d gotten the hang of it and stopped pulling my stitches out), but it’s the sort of thing you can easily do in front of the TV or while sitting and chatting w/ a friend. Once you have a little practice, it requires hardly any concentration.

  12. Aimee

     /  July 20, 2011

    great idea with the scarf… however there is another sort of finger knittting that only requires one finger. With that I have made a bouqet of flowers.

  13. Thanks for the insuctions!

  14. Bobbie

     /  December 28, 2011

    I learned to crochet, knit and weave and such from my aunts and grandmother long time ago. I really love to finger knit & finger crochet because the patterns go quicker.

    I like the last photo you show of the scarf that looks like chain links. What was the best way to do that?

  15. Erin Miotke

     /  May 23, 2013

    Knitting is a craft in which two needles along with thread or yarn are used to create fabric pieces or garments by creating loops in the yarn. Knitting can be used to create many types of fabric, from framed knitting artwork to sweaters, afghan quilts, throws, blankets, mittens, or even bedroom slippers…;-‘

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  16. Tara

     /  December 26, 2013

    I just want to add that I do this, I am in the process or making a throw for my mother. Once I have the desired length I end my “rope”. I then start over. You can then lace each “rope” together to make the width whatever you want.

    To lace each “rope” all you do is take the yarn, a plastic needle used for crocheting or knitting, and lace the yarn through the links of two ropes and tying it off at each end to the last link on each end.

    Not sure any of this makes sense to anyone, but hope it helps.

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