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How to Make Easy Finger-Knit Holiday Garlands

December 7th, 2011

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This year spread holiday cheer by making quick and easy finger-knit garlands with friends, family and kids. A finger-knit garland is a wonderful reusable decoration, and an easy way to get kids and family members involved in holiday crafting. Finger-knitting is a simple, quiet project kids can work on with family or on their own while you prepare for the holidays, and the finished garlands can adorn almost any part of the home, instantly adding handmade charm and warmth to your decor.

With so many colors available, I picked just a few of my favorites to make these samples. Holding two yarns together as I did in two of these samples gives your garland a rich, blended look.
Sample GarlandsI made these garland swatches with samples of (from left to right): Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash [Yellow Gold and Blue Topaz held together], Amazing [Roses], Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash [Garnet], Holiday Homespun [Wreath], and Holiday Homespun [Berry and Starlight held together]

Ready to get started? Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be making and hanging your own garlands in no time.

Step 1: Pick a yarn you are comfortable with and cast on (I picked Vanna’s Choice for these pictures because it’s a clean straight yarn and is perfect for practicing new skills). Just like in needle knitting, there are many ways to cast on. The best way I have found is to hold the tail of your yarn between the thumb and palm of your non-dominant hand (not the hand you write with). In a simple over-under pattern, weave yarn between your fingers: under your index finger, over your middle finger, under your ring finger, over your pinky. Then wrap around the back of your hand under your pinky, and over your ring finger, under your middle finger and over your index finger. Refer to the pictures below for guidance.
Step 2: Wrap each finger once more with yarn, following the same over-under pattern from the first step. You will have 2 loops of yarn on each finger once you’ve completed step 2.
Step 3 (the actual knit stitch): Pull the bottom loop on each finger up over your fingertip and release. I like to start from my pinky and work across toward my index finger. Once you’ve done this 4 times, you’ll have completed your first row of knits and will have one loop remaining on each finger.
Step 4: Repeat! Keep repeating these steps and watch as your project grows into a long, loosely knit rope. Don’t worry if your first few rows seem a little uneven. As you work and your garland gets longer, you’ll see that your project will even out.
Step 5: Decorate your home. For a festive twist, use a yarn garland to decorate a holiday wreath or Christmas tree, or drape it from bannisters, railings, doorways, chandeliers and mantlepieces. You can even hang small ornaments from them, like tiny glass balls or handmade snowflakes.

Have you ever finger-knitted, or made holiday garlands from yarn? Tell us in a comment on this post.

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  • http://twitter.com/LadyPaxieAmor Paxie

    Ha, that is so neat! I made some garland out of

  • http://www.frugalbeautiful.com Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com

    Oh my gosh! I remember making these as a kid- too cute!

    • Margaret

      I made them as a kid too, that’s how I got started with knitting and crochet. My mom still puts out all my old yarn garlands for the holidays!

  • This is Carrie

    I was just thinking about how cool finger-knitted garlands would look with Martha’s glitter eyelash.  I’m putting my nine year on the project!  She’ll love it.

    • Margaret

      I had a lot of fun making the samples with that yarn! If your nine-year-old hasn’t tried finger-knitting before, I’d suggest using a regular worsted weight yarn like Vanna’s Choice to learn and practice . The texture of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash can be just a little tricky at first, but after the first few rows it starts to move very quickly. Good luck!

  • October

    Someone taught me when I was in high school. I didn’t see a point in garland so I figured a way to loop it around & make hats : ) maybe there’s a use for garland after all, lol!

    • Kward4paz

      please share instructions, I’d love to know how to do that & teach it to my nieces!

  • J Russ

    Yes, I really do put Margaret’s finger-knit garlands on the tree.  They make wonderful projects to do together as a family, and the memories can decorate your Christmas for years to come!

    • Margaret

      Hi Mom! Glad you’re still enjoying those garlands, maybe we’ll make some more this year!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miaren-Crowsdaughter/100002585028249 Miaren Crowsdaughter

    I always did my finger-knitting ‘in the round’.  I started with a slip-loop around my left index finger (sometimes my thumb for a 5-stitch cord), then wrapped counter-clockwise around each finger in turn.  Once I wrapped the little finger, I started going around the outside of my fingers and lifting the stitches to the inside.  I made my little one a hat by coiling one of these cords, and she wears it regularly.

  • Toni

    I just called my daughter…She is having a Birthday party for her 1 year old on Sunday… I  (retired teacher ) am elected to do the kids activities at her house that day… THiws is going ot be perfect…I did lots of crafts and never this one…It is perfect…I’m heading to buy 9-12 skeins right now…. I’ll make 2 balls of each skein with my ball winder…put them in a baggie with the yarn commin out of a hold (pre punched) for the yarn to pull out… I’ve Learned the zip lock reopens if it’s pulled through the main opening. . . . I know I’ll have to bring some extra balls for the parents to get involved…This year the families will do something with their own child(ren) at the party…while they chat with the grown-ups…
    The best birthday party game of all – – –  gift of holiday crafting memories they’ll keep forever and remember Fritzie’s 1st Birthday Party activity !

  • Csimon

    How do you actually finish off when it is the length that you desire and any tips on keeping it from unravelling if you have to walk away from the unfinished project?

    • Margaret

      Liz M. commented below with one of my favorite techniques for finishing off a finger-knit project: cut the yarn leaving a tail about 3 to 6 inches long, thread it through the 4 loops that were on your fingers, pull tightly and knot in place. The ends of your garland will then be secure, and you can leave them simply tied off or dress them up with some pom-poms or tassels tied to each end.

  • Magpie0327

    My daughter is making a scarf for her best friend stuffie right now!!  But, I am wondering how to end it?  

    • Liz McMullen

      cut the yarn and run the tail through the open loops, pull tight

  • Margery


    After fingerknitting an entire ball of  Lion Brand Tweed Stripes, I knit it like you would a ruffle yarn and I made a great, spiral scarf. Its very cool and far less expensive than buying a ball of ruffle yarn.

    • Oseauk

      Great idea! Thanx

  • Pboszko

    I must be missing something since I can’t picture making  a scarf…how do you get it wider>|?

  • Margery

    Type your comment here
    file://localhost/Users/margerywinter/Desktop/DSCN1771.jpg

    This is what the scarf looks like when you knit with the fingerknitted I cord.

    • Kward4paz

      Great idea! Thanks

    • Mcshima

      couldn’t find a way to access the file you provided.  How would I see the scarf?  Thanks  Maureen

    • Deebloom4

      I can not view this address.

  • Jjweave

    would also love to see that scarf.. that sounds like a great idea !

  • Trish King1972

    I sometimes use a finger-knit “swatch” to test the color pattern of variegated yarns to see if I will like the color knitted together. It only takes a couple of minutes and saves you from the disappointment of unfortunate color combos.

  • Ignant2008

    I believe this file file://localhost/Users/margerywinter/Desktop/DSCN1771.jpg  needs to be uploaded to some type of server like photobucket etc. in order for the readers here to be able to view it?  I also would love to view the image.

  • Rachel

    Wow, this brings me back. We used to fingerknit at Girl Scout Camp. That was how I got started with knitting and crafting years ago. Thank you for bringing back those happy memories.

  • Pa-rigg

    I remember doing a bunch of these strips, and then I took one and tied it around the others at the middle. (Similar to the fringe on an afghan)  Use the loose ends of the tie to make a ‘handle,’ and then I had a pom pom like the cheerleaders at the school!  I remember doing cheers in the basement with those things for hours!

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  • http://twitter.com/ruckelshaus Sarah Ruckelshaus

    I fingerknitted as a young teen and sold the scarves I made (my mum helped me find places to sell them). They were actually very popular and since they were skinny, they were fashion scarves…very ‘in’…

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  • Aastha

    Bit complicated
    Can you make a Vedio for it?

    • http://lionbrand.com/ Danielle Holke

      Hi Aastha, we work with Audra Kurtz from KurtzCorner and she made a finger-knitting tutorial video for us recently, http://youtu.be/vJmXm1RMJdo – hope that helps! Her instructions are clear and easy t follow.

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