Sometimes when a project looks plain, it helps to add a little "something" to it to make our knitted creation more interesting. That's when it's great to use nupps (rhymes with "soup").
What is a nupp? It's a little one stitch bud (the word "nupp" means "bud" in Estonian) that is smaller and more delicate than a bobble. It does not disrupt the stitch pattern because it is worked over just one stitch. That means that we can add it to our knitting anywhere we like without adjusting the pattern. Nupps are often used in Estonian lace, but they look lovely on any stitch pattern, lace or non-lace.
Here's a fun fact I found in the "Knitting Around the World" book - apparently Estonian knitters invented nupps not just to decorate the knits, but also to make the finished project heavier because they were paid according to the weight of the knits they made. We, knitters, are a smart lot, aren't we? :-)
Even though most of us do not get paid for knitting, nupps are still very useful for adding a special touch to a project. There are several ways to make nupps. Let's take a look at three most popular ones.
This is the classic way that is explained in most patterns that involve nupps. Here's how it works:
1. On the right side row, work to the spot where you plan to make a nupp.
2. Make a nupp:
Knit the next stitch, but don't slip the original stitch off the left needle yet.
[Make a yarn over. Now insert the right needle into the same stitch on the left needle and knit another stitch from it = 2 more loops added to the right needle.]
Repeat instructions in the brackets two more times until you have 7 loops coming from the same stitch that is still on your left needle. Here's how to do it.
Make the stitches and yarn overs quite loose, and make sure they lay flat on the right needle and do not cross.
Generally, nupps are made with 7 loops, but you can also make them smaller with only 5 loops. Or, you can make them puffier with as many as 11 loops.
3. Drop the original stitch from the left needle and work to the end of the row.
4. Finish off the nupp:
In the next row work all stitches to the 7 loops of the nupp we created in the previous row. Insert the right needle purlwise (from right to left) into those 7 loops and purl them together. Pull the yarn a bit to tighten the nupp. Click here to watch this step
That's it. You've just knit a nupp. Now continue to work to the next spot where you'd like to add a nupp and repeat steps 2 through 4 when you get there.
This way is very similar to the classic way, but we are going to finish off the nupp in the same row, not in the next row as we did in way #1.
This approach has a few benefits:
1. You don't have to wait until the next row to see a beautiful bud in your knitting.
2. The nupp made using this way is more vivid and stands out better on the knitted fabric.
3. If you struggle with purling the 7 loops together using way #1, you can make double yarn overs and drop one of them before you finish off the nupp using this way.
Now let's get to the steps we need to make to create a nupp using the second way.
1. The process of creating a nupp is the same, so work the same steps 1 through 3 we followed when we discussed way #1.
2. Now insert the left needle from left to right into the 7 loops of the nupp. If you decided to make double yarn overs, slip stitches one by one from the right needle to the left needle, and unravel one wrap of each yarn over as you go. Then insert the right needle into the 7 loops again.
Without taking the right needle out, wrap it with the yarn and knit 7 loops together through the back loop. Pull the yarn a bit to tighten the nupp. Click here to watch this step.
Continue to work in the pattern until you get to the next spot where you plan to add a nupp.
The process of knitting a nupp using this way is exactly the same as the one we've just practised in the way #2. The only difference is that this time we'll use a crochet hook instead of a knitting needle.
Here's how to do it:
1. When you get to the spot where you plan to add a nupp, move the stitches on the right needle a bit further from the tip of the needle, to make sure you don't accidentally drop any of them.
2. Then take a crochet hook in the same size as the needles you are using for this project.
3. Create 7 loops of the nupp same way as we did in the first two ways, by making yarn overs and knitting stitches from the same stitch on the left needle. Drop the original stitch from the left needle.
4. Now wrap the head of the crochet hook with the yarn and pull the yarn through the loops of the nupp. Watch how to do it.
5. Slip the resulting stitch from the crochet hook to the right needle. Pull the yarn a bit to tighten the nupp.
Put the crochet hook aside and continue to work on the project using knitting needles as usual.
The wraps of the nupps created by ways 2 and 3 slant to the left, while the nupps made using the classic way slant to the right. You can use this difference to create interesting patterns by making nupps using different ways. That will definitely make your project a one of a kind creation! :-)