Enough's a nupp!

This post was originally on another blog that predates my old Blogger, which predates my Wordpress.com page, and the original publication date for this post was 31 March 2009. I'm also planning on adding new and improved images for the tutorial soon.

Okay, terrible, horrible pun…shoot me if you must. Anyway, let’s begin several days ago (Saturday night, to be precise). I had reached the end of the transition chart on my Aeolian shawl, which is the very first row of nupps on the piece. Since I’m using a cotton yarn (i.e. very inelastic), I tried to follow her instructions on making the stitches very loose, so I could stick my right needle into the stitches on the wrong side row and have space between the needles. In theory, this technique sounded good, but in practice I couldn’t maintain an even tension from one nupp to the next, not to mention the nupps looked big and sloppy (you might think it’s weird that a bobble freak like me wouldn’t like the larger nupps, but I only like large bobbles when they’re tidy). I nearly cried when I finished the nupps, and almost nothing in knitting gets to me that badly anymore. It seems the problem with getting the stitches the right length occurs when working the second knit stitch…it’ll tighten up the first knit stitch and yarn over, if you’re not really, really careful.

Since I didn’t like how my nupps turned out, I looked up several alternative instructions. Some suggested holding another needle against the right-hand needle to make the nupp stitches even and elongated. However, I didn’t want to do that since I thought the nupp with half inch long stitches looked really sloppy. The method I liked was the one where you do two yarn overs between the knit stitches, and then drop the extra loops on the next row…no need to knit your stitches at another tension. If you think this kind of nupp is too tight for you, try wrapping the yarn around the needle twice when making the knit stitch.

Here’s the instructions for what I did, plus some extra help on working the wrong side row.

First row: (knit 1, yo twice) three times, knit 1, all into one stitch. (Or make that four times if you want a nine stitch nupp.) You should be left with something that looks like this (take note of the nupps on the pattern repeat below while you’re at it):

Nupp stitch - first row

I strongly recommend using needles with a really smooth join, because these are about as hard to slide over the joins as those larger cluster stitches on the Laminaria. I didn’t have any problems sliding the nupps over the join on the Addi Lace needles used here, but I remember having a devil of a time sliding the cluster stitches over the join on the Inox circs I used for my Laminaria.

Second row: Obviously, since the nupp stitches are tighter, it’s going to be a lot harder to get the needles through all the stitches. Here’s what I did to make it easier. Transfer the first six stitches to the right hand needle (making certain to drop the extra loops on the double yo’s, and the knit stitches if you also worked them with double wraps). Leave the seventh stitch on the left needle, and poke the left needle through the six stitches on the right hand needle as if to purl. You should see something like this:

Nupp stitch - second row

Now insert the right needle through the seventh stitch and purl through all seven stitches at once. This may sound like a convoluted method, but it’s a lot easier than trying to shove your needle through all the stitches at once.

Hopefully my instructions clarified this technique for someone out there. Now you never need fear nupps again!