Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In which I nupp

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.

Nupp said.


Dipsy said...

Nupp? Wowza, never heard that one before - but your explanation for it sounds right to the point! This bubble/bobble-making-thing is a real killer - I once tried such a thing for a hat and I think it had even 7 stitches that had to be knit together - man, my fingers looked like gulash afterwards, and mind you, I so gave up after a while! Good luck with your bobble-making!

Criquette said...

I love coincidences! One of the ladies at my lys was knitting a shawl this weekend and the pattern had nupps in it! She was showing me how she purled 5 teeny little stitches off her needles at one time at which point I swore off lace-knitting forver. But now, with your idea of the needle thing, I might reconsider such a rash decision. Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I love the Swallowtail! I've made two of them, one for me & one for my mother-in-law.
The purl-5-together gave my hands fits, so I puzzled out what the yarn was really doing, and realized I could slip 4, purl the 5th, then pass the slipped sts over. Just needed a slight snugging-up when done, and looked better than my p5togs. (As I think about it now, I could have slipped 3, p2tog, then passed the 3 over - probably would have been slightly faster... Ah, well, maybe on the next one...)

Nupp on!