I’ve been knitting like a fiend the last couple of days, and have knit enough to reach the point where I realized, on the first time around, that I had 4 too many stitches in the body. My “break” (between the class I was teaching, and the pedagogy class I’m taking in preparation for the class I’ll be teaching, this fall) is nearly over, almost as soon as it started, so who knows what kind of pace I’ll be able to keep up on this sweater once I’m back to the grind. But for now, I’m happy to have made up for some lost time.
In case you’re wondering what on earth that dpn is doing, stuck in the middle of the work like that: it’s for the nupps. You see, a nupp involves making a whole bunch (in this case, 5) stitches out of a single stitch, and then purling all of those stitches together on the next row. Have you ever tried purling 5 stitches together, especially when those 5 stitches are in worsted-weight yarn on a size 8 needle? It’s…not easy. I love nupps, but the whole purling-many-stitches-together thing kills me.
The trick that works best for me is to use a very sturdy and much smaller dpn (in this case, a size 3 Harmony dpn). I shift each of the 5 stitches, one-by-one, to the dpn, then guide the lefthand needle through all of them (which is much easier with so much more space between the smaller dpn and the bottoms of the stitches), and complete the purl stitch using the dpn. Then I shift that new purl stitch to the right hand needle and go on my merry way. It’s surely not the quickest nupp-closing technique, but it works well for me and doesn’t drive me too crazy, even when I’m nupping up a storm in the maple-leaf section at the yoke. At least…it didn’t the first time around.
Whether I maintain my sanity knitting a second one of these remains to be seen!