Handmade: Customers big on arm-knitting with Mammoth

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

There’s something big and exciting happening around town in the world of arm-knitting, thanks to Woolly&Co.

The 1,700-square-foot yarn studio at 147 Pierce in downtown Birmingham, which opened its doors last December, recently launched its own brand of yarn, made especially for arm-knitting. The result is a thick piece of fabric with a close-knit gauge that’s perfect for making a warm cozy throw.

Customer Beth Zoller, left,  Woolly & Co. owner Aviva Susser and Knitting Instructor Jamie Soliman show off a trio of arm-knitted throw blankets, which are made with Mammoth Yarn, at the shop in Birmingham, Michigan on September 13, 2016.  (Brandy Baker / The Detroit News)

“I wanted a chunky yarn that was chunky enough to arm-knit with,” said Aviva Susser, owner of Woolly&Co. “There are a lot of yarns out there that are bulky, but they’re not bulky enough for our (arm) knitting, and the bulky yarns I’ve encountered were acrylic. This is 100 percent merino (wool).”

The yarn, available in 13 colors, is produced in Australia and sold exclusively at Woolly&Co. A 5-pound ball, enough to make a throw, is $180, and a 4-ounce ball, priced at $25, will make a chic and trendy scarf. The super large yarn has been quite popular, with some colors selling faster than others. “If you see a color you like, you should get it,” said Susser.

“When you buy a ball of Mammoth yarn, you get a complimentary demonstration on how to knit on your arms,” Susser continued. “I do workshops, but if someone buys the yarn and can’t attend the workshop, I will designate time to show them how to arm-knit, and usually when someone starts these throws they usually end up finishing it in the store, and I can show them how to bind-off. It takes about two hours, or less, depending on how well they pick it up.”

Arm-knitting with Mammoth is becoming big among local knitters. Susser said, “People love it. They think it’s beautiful and it makes for a great gift. It’s instant gratification, and the nice thing is that people who have never knitted before can walk away with an architectural piece for their home without ever picking up a knitting needle.”

Jamie Soliman, who lives in Royal Oak and works at Woolly&Co., where she teaches arm-knitting, said, “We’ve had a lot of customers interested in chunky or bulky yarns, and since arm-knitting was the trend that’s very popular among knitters, we thought it would be an interesting way to introduce knitting to people who hadn’t knitted previously with needles.”

Tracy Groves of Birmingham, who doesn’t knit with needles, learned to knit with her arms at Woolly&Co., and finds Mammoth to be a “very soft and warm” yarn. She made a gray throw, and said, “I think I was there for about two hours and had it finished in the two hours.” Now she’s planning to take regular knitting classes.

Here, the bulky arm-knitted fabric begins to take shape. Arm-knitting with Mammoth lets knitters finish projects super fast.

Susser, who’s had quite a few customers take the workshop and be inspired to take a knitting class, said, “It’s not so intimidating, and it’s a good segue into learning how to knit (with needles).”

Huntington Woods resident Beth Zoller, who’s been knitting for more than 20 years, wanted to try her hand at using Mammoth, so she took classes with Susser. She said, “I made two (throws). The first class I took with her was before she had her Mammoth yarn, so I used a yarn called Manoush. It’s a super bulky yarn made in upstate New York. Aviva carries that too.” Zoller already has plans for her next Mammoth project – a foot stool. “It’s more of an architectural piece,” she said.

Soliman plans to create wearable art by arm-knitting a jacket. “On Pinterest, the arm-knitted garments kind of take on a high-fashion look because they’re so unique,” she shared.

Woolly&Co. has two workshops scheduled for learning to arm-knit a scarf, set for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 13 and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 15. To register, just download the Woolly&Co. app at, or call the shop at (248) 480-4354. Classes are scheduled based on inventory.

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or

Contact Woolly&Co. (147 Pierce, downtown Birmingham) at (248) 480-4354 or visit