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Nupps and Bobbles: Adding Texture to Your Knits

Do you love textured knits? Projects full of different stitch patterns and and three dimensional textures have always been popular but recently knits with bobbles, those fun little balls integrated into your knitting, are making a comeback. Today we’ll talk about some of the ways to add texture to your knitting, including how to create nupps and bobbles, and the differences between the two techniques. Let’s dive in!

Nupps

Nupps originate from Estonian knitting where the word “nupp” translates to bud. These small buds, or nupps, are created in the space of a single stitch and are generally more delicate than bobbles. They are also worked within the knitting and tend to sit flush with your knitting, rather than on top of your knitting (as bobbles do, which we’ll discuss below).

To create a nupp, work your knitting to the stitch where you want to place it.

Work the nupp by creating knit stitches (abbreviated as a k) and yarnovers (abbreviated as yo) into the same stitch. Nupps can come in any size, but common sizes are 5 or 7 “loops.” In the swatch shown below, we have created a 7-stitch nupp by k-yo-k-yo-k-yo-k into the same stitch.

Hint: Take care to leave the loops loose enough that you can work them on the return row.

Next, slip the original stitch off of the needle and continue working to the end of your row.

On the following row, resolve the nupp by working all 7 loops as one stitch. In this case, we will purl the 7 stitches together into a single stitch.

Hint: If you find purling the nupp difficult with your knitting needles, many knitters use a crochet hook to help pull the working yarn through all 7 stitches.

Bobble

Bobbles are similar to nupps in that they add texture to your knitting, but the difference is that they sit more prominently on top of your knitting. Bobbles are created within a single stitch, but they are worked back and forth a few times before resolving (as opposed to resolving these stitches on the next row as described above). Bobbles can be any size, and for comparison we’ll make ours using the same number of stitches as above.

To create a bobble, work to the stitch where you want to place it.

Then, knit into the front (abbreviated as f) and back (abbreviated as b) of the same stitch repeatedly. In this case, that means we will knit f-b-f-b-f-b-f, creating 7 loops on the needle.

Rather than continuing to work the current row, you will now turn your work and build up the bobble. Begin by purling all 7 stitches, then turn your work again. Knit the 7 bobble stitches, and turn the work. For the final row, purl all 7 stitches across, and then turn your work so that you are ready to resume work on the right side of your project. Resolve the bobble by knitting these 7 loops together.


Once you have finished knitting the bobble, you can work to the end of the row.

Knitting Patterns with Nupps & Bobbles

Now that you’re armed with two new techniques for adding texture to your knits, there’s a whole world of patterns you might enjoy! For your first bobble project, try the January Hat by Courtney Kelley, which is a free hat pattern that will give you a chance to test your newfound knowledge of bobbles, or try the Leni Hat by Isabell Kraemer. Love to knit shawls? Aeolian by Elizabeth Freeman is a free Knitty pattern that combines nupps with lace for a beautiful effect, or check out the Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen. Go big on yarn and texture with the Bobble Throw by Jen Geigley, or stitch some wearable bobbles with the Faded Neve sweater by Andrea Mowry.


Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Greyknitter, who won this month's blog giveaway! We will contact you shortly to arrange for the delivery of your prize.


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Knitting, Crochet & Pop Culture: Free Pattern Round-Up (+ Giveaway!)

While winter lingers just a bit longer, get cozy and craft your way to spring! In our latest round-up of free pattern inspiration, we spotlight some of the latest pop culture phenomena to inspire clever knit and crochet patterns for crafty fans like you. We also have a special giveaway just for our blog readers this month - keep reading for more details!

Star Wars
The viral popularity of the Baby Yoda character (also called The Child) introduced in last year's The Mandalorian series has crossed over into the world of craft, with knitters and crocheters making their own patterns celebrating this cute addition to the Star Wars Universe. While you wait for season 2 to arrive, try the Baby Yoda knit hat pattern by Shinah Chang or the Wise One crochet beanie by Elizabeth Roggasch to make hats for the little ones in your life. We're also loving all of the cute stuffed toy patterns that are popping up, such as the Baby Yoda knit doll by Kim Konen, the Baby Yoda Amigurumi by LarissaMaced (@beefriendscrochet), and the Baby Yoda Space Pod by Ami Amour.


Superheroes
With a new Wonder Woman movie coming out this summer, there are lots of great knitting and crochet patterns inspired by the Amazon warrior princess. You may remember Carissa Browning's Wonder Woman Wrap,  available in your choice of a Knit or Crochet version, which came out when the first Wonder Woman movie arrived in theaters. But there are plenty more patterns to try, such as the Wonder Woman Amigurumi by Yazmina Nieblas, the Wonder Woman double knit scarf by Konchan le Me, and many more found here!

Another popular superhero in recent years, Captain Marvel, inspired the Higher, Further, Faster Hat by Sara Huntington Burch, Captain Marvel fingerless gloves by Maratini knits, and Taking Flight by Katherine Belisle.

For still more patterns inspired by superheroes, check out We Call Him Spidey Mittens by Kathleen Taylor, the Captain America Baby Beanie & Shield Blanket by The Geeky Hooker, the Batman Wristband by 8-Bit Nerd, or the Black Panther Amigurumi by Yazmina Nieblas. Last but not least, while you wait for the next volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, why not stitch your own Groot Amigurumi by Clare Heesh to keep you company?

Gaming
Pokémon Go is one of the most successful video game apps of all time, and Pokémon Day is February 27 - why not stitch your favorite Pokémon to celebrate? Crochet designer Strings Away has created cute amigurumi versions of several Pokémon - click here to see them all and get started on stitching your very own Pokédex! Featured below are a few of the most well-known Pokémon, Pikachu (by Strings Away) and Snorlax (by Cathrine Johansson). Delight a Pokémon trainer with a Pokéball Knit Hat by Vicki Mann or a crocheted Pokéball Hat by Bonnie Jacobs - you can even knit or crochet a Pokéball so they can catch 'em all!  Click here for even more free knit & crochet patterns inspired by Pokémon!

The Super Mario games - both old and new - have inspired lots of clever patterns such as the Super Mario Mushroom Knitted Toy by Emily Miller, Crocheted Mario Mushroom by Linda Potts, Vickie Howell's Mario Mushroom Mitts, or the Yoshi Amigurumi by Kerstin Brünnler. For more patterns inspired by Super Mario and other Nintendo games, click here!

Giveaway
One lucky blog reader will win a Knitter's Pride prize pack which includes a Large Navy Knitting Chart Keeper, a Reverie Stitch Marker Pouch, and a set of Midnight Beauty Stitch Markers! To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling us about a project you've made (or want to make) that was inspired by your favorite book, movie, video game or other pop culture phenomenon! Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you've won. We'll announce the winner on our next blog post on Friday, February 28. Good luck!