Nanette's Needles

Greased Pigs

Posted on: April 1, 2011

AKA Nupps

 

Lace - 10 Rows

I’m on row 10 of the lace pattern stitch. Isn’t it gorgeous? The pattern says to use 32″ circulars and I’ll eventually have to. But right now I’m enjoying the ruffly look;-} Using stitch markers to mark each repeat has been a lifesaver. I’m also thinking about adding beads to the points. I’ve been thinking about different ways to add the beads after-the-fact – but that’s grist for another post.

Meantime, I don’t seem to get very far with it on any given day. It seems to take forever just to knit a single row. Let’s see – 363 stitches with a complicated stitch pattern…

Right now I’m on row 10 and have encountered – the Nupps. If you haven’t encountered nupps in your knitting before consider yourself lucky. They remind be of bobbles, only I don’t remember bobbles being this difficult.

Nupp Detail

The arrow is pointing to the first part of a nupp.

A nupp takes 2 rows to complete. On the RS row you knit several times into a single stitch. In this case it’s “*k1, yo* 3 times, k1”; essentially increasing 1 stitch to 7. On the following WS row you knit all 7 stitches together (k7tog) to get back to a single stitch. It’s harder than it sounds. Imagine trying to round up 7 greased pigs and you’ll get the idea.

I couldn’t do it. Every time I tried to k7tog, 2 or 3 stitches would start to slip off the needle. Or I’d actually get all 7 in position and the working needle (the right-hand needle) couldn’t pull the yarn through because the angle wouldn’t work. So on Monday I took it with me to my knitting ministry meeting. There I presented the problem to a roomful of experienced knitters. (Knitting nirvana.)

Apparently no one had encountered the problem of nupps before. After trying it themselves some ideas began to emerge. One of the first suggestions was to switch to metal needles. 

I’d been using U.S. size 8 bamboo needles because bamboo holds slippery yarn so well but I was already aware that the point of a bamboo needle is bigger than the point of a metal needle of comparable size. But since I was planning to transfer the whole shawl to circulars once I was done with the lace pattern stitch, I didn’t really want to buy a set of metal needles in the interim – if there was an alternative.

Another suggestion was to perform the k7tog with a smaller needle and then transfer the resulting loop. A smaller needle made sense. In fact, I was offered a variety of needles to experiment with. I finally selected a U.S. size 3 metal needle tip from a circular needle set and it worked wonderfully.

It worked so well that when I saw a big blunt metal darning needle in the store the next day I bought it and took it home to try tackling another nupp with it. It worked just as well as the small circular needle tip. I attached a separate length of yarn to it so as not to lose it and have been happily nupping ever since.

Darning Needle

Having the darning needle anchored to a piece of yarn was an admitted stroke of genius on my part. In the three evenings I’ve been working on just this one row with it, I would have already lost that needle 5 times. You know, standing up and having it try to roll under the sofa, burying itself between the cushions, getting dropped on the way to putting my knitting back in the basket…

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1 Response to "Greased Pigs"

[…] I got past the greased pigs – I mean the nupps, it wasn’t so bad. Unblocked, the edge has a pretty, lettuce-edged ruffle. […]

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