For the most part, I don't mind acronyms. They can be overwhelming, as when my sister joined the Air Force and suddenly, in her zeal, spoke a language only she could comprehend, peppered with three- and four-letter it-stands-for-something-but-you-won't-care-what phrases. Sometimes acronyms are unnecessary; saying VW for Volkswagen actually has more syllables than the full name. But, most acronyms are helpful to simplify the bureaucracy of everyday life.
So as I've navigated this new knitters' world over the past year, I've learned about the KAL, my LYS, EZ, and the like.
But some knitters' lingo doesn't seem to be an acronym for anything except confusion and pain. Take "nupp," for instance, which I think might possibly mean "Repetitive Stress Injury" in Gaelic.
I've been learning about nupps this week as I've progressed on my Swallowtail Shawl. Make five stitches out of one on the front, then purl five together on the back side. These little bastards will make the bobbly little lily of the valley blossoms in the borders. Pretty! And pretty tough. (That's them in the blurry photo, the globby parts in the middle above the YOs; I need to work on my macro skills.)
The shawl is coming along--still difficult to photograph well, so I'll wait until it's blocking--and I am proud to say that, after all the swearing and the poking and the feeling desperate, I discovered a method for nupping that is less painful and more efficient, for me at least. Each time I come to the p5tog, I carefully slip the five stitches onto a metal tapestry needle and hold it to the front, sort of like using a cable needle. I then purl the stitches together from the tapestry needle rather than the left knitting needle. The smaller diameter of the tapestry needle gives me the wiggle room I need to clear all five stitches, wrap the working yarn, and purl it through. It's still really fiddly, but the nupps look great. There are a couple I could have done better, but even my perfectionism balks at ripping back to my lifeline--six loooong rows back--unless I really have to.