Bobbles, Anyone?

This week’s pattern includes “Bobbles”.

These nifty little 3-dimensional effects are a fun and whimsical addition to any knitter’s skill set. You often see them in children’s sweaters or in elaborate Aran designs. It’s mind-bobbling all the ways you can incorporate them.

These days, my blog is focusing specifically on beginner knitters. Being a beginner is a lot of things. It’s exciting, daunting, frustrating and sometimes scary but it’s also rewarding and fun. For the past three weeks I have posted a free beginner pattern. Now these are really easy patterns and for the time being I’m focusing on incorporating skills into dishcloth patterns as a way to present them. Whether you actually use them as a dishcloth or recycle the yarn into a new effort is totally up to you. I mean, hey, I am calling them dishcloths but they may not necessarily be completely appropriate as such. Truly they are nothing more than an excuse to practice some skills. That having been said, it’s good to be able to see what you have accomplished. So you might like to keep them… and even use them.

I have a vague plan in mind as to where I’m going with this, believe it or not. I’m thinking that after a few more weeks I will do up a pattern for perhaps a toque (beanie, hat) or cowl or hmmm… something interesting to put all those skills to use. The ideas are still percolating. One thing is for sure. There will be bobbles involved.

So this week our “dishcloth” is embellished with bobbles. As I was working on it, my mother-in-law informed me that this was not a very good dishcloth design. After all wouldn’t those big bumps just get in the way? LOL   I suggested that perhaps they would allow you to get into corners… she wasn’t buying it. Personally, I just think bobbles are fun. They make me smile. And hey, smiling is good and nice and: so what if it’s not a practical thing to put on a dishcloth. Well, if you happen to agree with her, perhaps I could suggest it as a trivet to put under a hot dish on the table? Maybe the bobbles would give it a little more distance than just a knitted square?

There are some little tricks that I want to point out before you try making bobbles. Bobbles are not difficult to do. In the pattern, I tried to explain the process in as straight-forward a manner as I could. You have to start by increasing in one stitch. The bobbles in this pattern require that you make 3 stitches in one stitch. So, how do you do that? You start out as if to knit the stitch; go through the front loop and grab the thread and pull it through.

BUT, don’t slide the stitch off the left needle yet.

Before you do, knit a stitch through the back loop and again through the front loop. You’ll see when you go to actually do it. It will make sense then. Once you have made those 3 stitches, slide the stitch off the left needle. Your three new stitches are going to blossom into a happy little bobble. No: really, they are.

At this point, you turn the work. You ignore everything but the bobble until it’s done. You are now looking at the wrong side of the fabric and the 3 stitches are now on the left needle. Purl these stitches and as you do, pull the working thread tight after each one. Purl them like you normally do. But once each is done and on the right needle, snug up that working yarn tightly. Do this after each purl stitch. Then you are going to turn your work again.

Now you knit those three stitches and snug the thread up tight like you did for the purls. Turn the work again; purl and tighten the 3 stitches yet again. Turn the work one last time to knit the 3 stitches (yes tighten the yarn up as you complete each stitch).

Now you need to transform those 3 stitches into one stitch. So you pick up the second stitch on the right needle with the left needle and pass it over the first stitch. You’re now down to two stitches on the bobble. Repeat that process; so pick up the second stitch and pass it over the first stitch. Now you are back to one stitch. Tighten your working thread like you mean it.

The next knit stitch after the bobble must also be knitted super tight.

This prevents big holes from appearing around the bobble. Of course, you don’t have to go all Hulk or anything. You don’t want to break the yarn.

The other thing to be aware of is this: when you purl the wrong side row immediately after the Bobble-Row, you will see that there is quite a gap after each bobble. Be sure that when you purl that stitch, you also tighten the working yarn as much as you can. You may have to do so on the next stitch too just to keep it snug. This will give you really nice bobbles with consistent fabric all around them.

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Once you have done a few, you’ll get a sense of how it goes and before you know it, you will be a Bobble Genius! You’ll be bobbling all over the place! Bobble scarf, bobble hat, bobble slippers for your cat! Oh dear, I think I am becoming a bobble-head.

Happy Bobbling! See you next week.

Here is the pattern!

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