completed nupp as viewed on the next right side row

The nupp, translation “bud” of a flower, is an Estonian bobble and anyone who has read a UK knitting magazine can tell you there seem to be a zillion ways to make a bobble.  However, making a nupp is consistent and does take some practice so that it comes out looking like anything other than a random tangle of yarn.  I have avidly followed Nancy Bush’s odyssey of Estonian lace knitting over the years in both Piecework and Spinoff Magazines…and anywhere else she published an article.  I am thrilled with the book she has published and am now knitting a third pattern from said book.  This time I chose a multicolor yarn that I hoped would set off the nupps even more than the Lilac Leaves Shawl.  This IS helping, but what is helping more is taking a little more time in the formation of each of these little buds.  The Friday Night Knitting Group here at Summit Yarn is going to play along with this scarf and they have a bunch of questions about how to make these darn nupps work.  I am hoping you will find these pointers helpful too.

a nupp is making one stitch into five very loose stitches then purling them together on the next row

The directions for most nupps go:  in one sitch (k1, yo, k1, yo, k1).  What I have learned is the first KNIT ONE should set the size for the four other stitches being made.  As you see in the photo above I made this first sitch three times the size I normally would and then I match the size of the next yo/k1/yo/k1 all to this first stitch.  Here are photos showing the making of each part:

see how the first yarnover is the same size as the first K1?

As I make the subsequent four stitches, I hold them all together with one of my thumbs so they don’t get any smaller.

this shows: K1, YO, K1, YO all in one stitch...one more K1 to make

5 new stitches (K1/YO/K1/YO/K1) all in one stitch

See how very loose these are?  This will make purling all five stitches together on the next row easy AND these are how big these stitches have to be for the nupp to look like anything at all.

getting ready to purl all 5 nupp stitches together

This photograph shows the five nupp stitches all nicely grouped together, as I prepare to purl them together back into one stitch.  THIS IS COMPLETELY DECEIVING!  Do not be fooled into complacency here.  As I happily purled along, I caught myself time and again purling the first stitch in the 5 nupp stitches and then just purling four out of five nupp stitches together…and some cussing under my breath was involved.  What is the result of this mistake?  ONE TOO MANY STITCHES IN THE NEXT ROW.    A word to the wise is sufficient thereof.  Be aware when you are about to get to the next nupp…you will thank me.  Those stitches are so loose it is easy to mistake it for a yarnover.

gently insert RH ndl through all 5 nupp sts...count them

purl the five stitches together taking care to get through all 5 loops

In this moment IT IS EASY TO DROP ONE OF THE FIVE LOOPS so keep an eye on things…it is like melting butter on the stovetop…the butter is burnt before you blink.  HOWEVER,  this is easy to fix on the next RS row so fear not!  Have a look at your nupps on the next row and if there is a wayward stitch just lift it up and over the stitch it belongs to.

completed nupp on its wrong side row...YAY!

finished nupp from the right side!

The final tip I found, is just before you purl the nupp stitches together take a moment with that RH needle inserted through the 5 nupp stitches and give them a little stretch…this will make them all the same size and adds to the evenness and prettiness of the finished nupp.

stretch your nupp stitches to even them out

Here is a photo of my scarf in progress:

Nancy Bush's Lily of the Valley Scarf wip

I hope this brief how-to is useful…it certainly gave me a chance to put in words the techniques I have been working with.  Take care and let me know your latest inspirations.  I always love to hear from you!  xox m.e. and Summit Yarn  😉

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