October 18, 2010
When I was a beginning knitter (not quite green but not sure enough to be confident) I attempted Bobbles but quickly put them off. I could not wrap my head around the knit, turn, knit turn. It took many patterns and much experience before I was ready again to try a, what appears to be so simple, bobble.
The trick is to trust the instructions and know that while they seem weird, you will get to where you want to be by following them exactly. You are basically knitting a bump in your fabric and you must build it up to make your bump. The building up comes from: first knitting into the same stitch. You will YO then K1. Do not take the stitch off your left needle, instead wrap the yarn around your right needle again (for the 2nd YO) and stick it back into the stitch on the left needle for the 2nd K1, repeat this a third time then slip the stitch off your left needle. You will now have 6 sts on your right where once you had 1, turn your work and slip the first st on the left needle purl wise and purl the remaining 5 created sts. Turn your work again and slip the first st on your left needle knit wise and knit the remaining 5 created sts. Turn again and purl 2 tog 3 times (the first purl 2 tog is tricky but keep working at till you get it right). Turn your work once more and slip the first st knit wise and knit 2 tog then pass the slipped st over the k2tog and you will have 1 st where once there were 6, knit the rest of the row, adding bobble where appropriate.
It really is easy but it is very different to turn your work in the middle of a row if you have never tried it before. Try making your first bobble with wool, if you are unsure. It is the easiest, most forgiving of fibers, with easy to see stitches. It is also not a slick yarn so you will not have to battle slippery sts while turning your work this way and that.
Bobbles are a fun texture to add to any knitted piece. They felt well and can be incorporated into any design. Bobbles can add drama to a simple cable, add distinction to a flora lace pattern or an interesting texture to a baby blanket for stimulation. Bobbles serve as berries, eyes, pebbles, or flower center in an encompassing theme. Bobbles also make great polka dots. If you feel, as I once did, that bobbles aren't 'your thing', I encourage you to try them if only to gain experience and see if your mind doesn't drift away and explore the possibilities.
This bobble pattern can be found in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, p 145.
Pictures: (top) Right side of Bobbles, (bottom) Wrong side of Bobbles. Both are attractive in my opinion
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