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Kate and I have been knitting lots of bobbles lately. Really a lot. Kate finished her last cardi, Ronn by Karin Weststrand  while I am half way through the Viaduct shawl by Beata Jezek. Bobbles – also known as Estonian nupp – are often found in lace patterns and there are several possible ways to knit them. Here is a review of four of these methods. 

The first technique might be the most commonly used and was the one recommended in both of our patterns. 

1. Knit one without sliding the stitch off the left needle. 
2. Yarn Over.
3. Insert the right needles into the stitch once more and repeat step one. Every time you add an extra stitch onto your right needle.
4. Yarn Over. Keep knitting and YO back and forth over the same stitch until you have the right amount of stitches on the right needles. This will be specified in your pattern. EX: Nupp 5, Nupp 7, etc.
5. Finally slip the stitch off the left needle and keep knitting in pattern until the end of your row. 
6. On next WS row, purl through all the stitches created for your bobble together.

It is essential that the stitches are loose enough. You might find difficult to purl them together on the following row otherwise. Be aware that if you’re knit them too loose, your nupp won’t hold itself properly, so finding the right tension is key. Make sure that all the stitches sit nicely next to each other on the needle. Avoid any cross-over. This will allow the nupp to look as neat as possible. 

For the second method, repeat steps 1 to 4. 

5. Slip the stitch off the left needle. Then slip back all the stitches from the right to the left needle.
6. Knit them all together.
7. Keep knitting in pattern.

By knitting all the stitches together within the same RS row, you add up an extra stitch just over the bobble. This allow your nupp to pop out more – due to the bit of length given by the extra stitch – without messing with the row count.

For the third technique, repeat steps 1 to 4 once again.

5. Slip the stitch off the left needle. Then slip back all the stitches from your right to your left needle without letting them go from both needles. The left needle should be front of the right one. 
6. Keep the stitches on both needles and slip your right needle underneath the left one. The right needle is now at the front.
7. Turn your work around, facing the WS of your project.
8. Purl all the stitches together. 
9. Turn your work again. You’re now facing the RS, the bobble is on the left needle.
10. Slip it to the right needle and keep knitting in patterns. 

Like with the second technique, a little bit of length is added by the extra stitch. The resulting nupp stands out nicely from the rest of the knitted fabric. 

For the last method, repeat steps 1-4 using a crochet hook instead of your right needle. The hook must be of the same size that your needle. 

5. Slip the stitch from the left needle.
6. Wrap the yarn over the hook once more, and use the hook to pull the yarn through all the stitches created for the nupp. 
7. Slip the bobble from the hook to the right needle.
8. Keep knitting in pattern. 

This method works well for those used to handle a hook but someone who never crochet before might find it a bit more difficult to manage.

Nupp, estonian nupp, tutorial, bobbles, lace.
© yak
Although the first technique seems to be the most commonly encountered in patterns, the nupps it creates do not stick out as much as those knitted with the three other methods. This is good if you’re after a discreet texture effect. To achieve a bobble with a proper round shape we would strongly suggest to try one of the three other techniques.  By completing your entire nupp on the RS row, you also avoid any confusions on the WS where you might miss or add an extra stitch when purling all the stitches together. I personally enjoy using the methods No. 2 and 3 most. They both create very similar looking nupps and are fairly fast to complete. It is definitely worth trying different methods and decided for yourself which one suits you and your project best.
Nupp, estonian nupp, tutorial, bobbles, lace.
© yak
Very important; ignore the fact that we’ve used wooden needles on the video! Bobbles are much easier to knit on sharp steel needles. A blunt tip will make it harder to knit all the stitches together and wood isn’t slippery enough. The type of  yarn used for your project will also have an impact on the look of your nupp. A sticky yarn will help your bobbles to hold themselves nicely. A superwash will gives them better definition. You can see the difference on the photo above. The sample on the left is knitted with the Fiber Co. – Cumbria while the sample on the right is knitted in Malabrigo Sock. When blocking you can also slightly pull on your nupps to make them pop out a bit more. 

Maybe you’ve got some tips to share with us about bobbles? If so do not hesitate to leave a comment bellow! 

Until Next Time… Happy Knitting!

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