making up lost time

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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.

making up 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!

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13 thoughts on “making up lost time

  1. I cursed the ONE pattern I ever did that had a K or P8 – I pushed it out of my mind and never want to look back! After I had done all that work, I read another helpful way of knitting them from Norah G. I think I’ve made them that way ever since. Hooray for making things easier!

  2. Jocelyn

    I’m glad to know about your nupp technique; I may be embarking upon nupps myself at some point soon, and it’ll be good to have the pointers!

    • I absolutely adore nupps (and am eager to see what sort of nuppity goodness you embark on!), but just cannot do them without resorting to tricks. I hope you find a way of making nupps that works well for you!

      -whitney

  3. I’ve knit bobbles before but never nupps. Definitely going to keep that tip in mind for when I do.

    Good luck finding a balance between knitting and school.

  4. Juliet in Grand Rapids

    I like your idea! And I’ll try it with my next nupps.

    The last time I had several nupps across the row and came up with the idea of using a larger (two sizes, I think) needle for the nupp stitches on the previous row. It looked so weird, but I had several, so things hung together well. On the next row, ready to nupp, not only were they on a larger needle and ready to access, but it was easy. There was a bonus: keeping track of the lace stitches was easier.

    I just love to watch your projects (and when your kitties are interested). One of my kitties likes to move balls of yarn around the house like kittens (some would say hunted gifts, but I prefer kittens).

    Good luck with balancing your classes! I know you can do it.

  5. Lyn Bauer

    Hi, I’m starting the Sullivan sweater & loving everything about it. However, I do have 1 question. I’d like to use the crochet hook technique to close the nupp on the knit side, instead of closing it on the purl side. Are there any problems with this method that you can think of? Thanks very much!

    • Hi! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the pattern. If I’m understanding what you mean correctly, you’d be closing the nupp on the same row as you opened it, rather than on the next row, correct? The only problem I could see is that this could result in a more “bobble”-like nupp (one that protrudes more from the surface of the stockinette fabric), since all of the volume created by the multiple stitches would only be spread over one row’s height, rather than two. Does that make sense? I’d advise knitting a small swatch with a couple of nupps created using your crochet-hook method, and a couple of nupps closed ont he purl side, and blocking it. As long as you’re happy with the look of the nupps created with the crochet hook technique, by all means, use it!

      I hope this helps!

      -whitney

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