Knitting Bobbles, Bubbles and Knots

Give new life to your knitting experience by trying bobbles, bubbles or knots.   Knitted bobbles can be almost any size and even the shape varies with the stitch combinations you use to create them.


Bobbles are used most commonly in Aran sweater designs often in combination with cables, but can be incorporated into almost any knitting pattern. In lace patterns or fancy ribs, bobbles can add an extra decorative touch to your fabric.


Knitted bobbles, blisters and knots all share the same basic idea. The yarn is knitted more than once into the same stitch or stitches in order to make them stand out. The size of the bobble and the way it is formed varies.    After the bobble is completed, the work reverts to the same number of stitches you started with.

General notes:
To create basic larger bobbles you knit 3,4 or 5 times into one stitch - turn the work around and knit backwards and forwards across these stitches 3, 4 or 5 times.
The rule of thumb is usually 2 rows for a 3 st bobble, 4 for a 4 st and 6 for a 5 st bobble.
All the extra sts are then slipped over the first st to leave only the original stitch on the right hand needle.
To lock the bobble into position, work into the back of the stitch that formed the bobble on the next row.
Knots are made in various ways.  This will be shown in the individual bobble-stitch instructions below.


Pros and cons of knitting bobbles, blisters and knots:
  • Your knitting can be made to look different without having to alter the stitch numbers or rows in a given pattern
  • Bobbles are very versatile, they can be added to almost any pattern to add a focus point.
  • You can design your own chevron patterns using bobbles or knots
  • You can use big bobbles to cover buttons in a cardigan
  • Do you prefer a more subtle bobble? Try using what I call "blisters" or "knots".
  • Mini-bobbles can be used instead of purl stitches in the same way as "sand stitch" combinations if you want a more accentuated effect than the sand stitch provides.
  • Bigger knots can be used to break the monotony of stocking stitch
  • Bobble berries are somewhat looser and stand out well. Try a row of berries as a border panel.
  • You can incorporate small bobbles into lace stitches
  • Some open-work stitches use only bobbles and spaces for their effect (see Trinity Stitch)



Examples of Bobble Stitches:


Blackberry stitch Using Small Bobbles
Blackberry forms a very attractive fabric.  It uses a fair amount more yarn than a stocking stitch pattern.

Notes:
Blackberry stitch lies flat and does not curl up
The "berries" are slightly raised and rounded.
Blackberry stitch can be:
  • incorporated into a rib panel to make it different
  • used for the entire body of the garment can be done in blackberry stitch
  • used for borders of the garment can be done in blackberry stitch
Blackberry Stitch Bobbles     Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches + 2 for edge stitches
    Row 1: k1 (edge st) *(k1tbl,m1 k1tfl) into the same st, p3* repeat to last st, k1
    Row 2: k1 (edge st) *p3tog, k3* to last st, k1
    Row 3: k1 (edge st) *p3, (k1tbl,m1 k1tfl) into the same st* to last st, k1
    Row 4: k1 (edge st) *k3, p3tog* to last st, k1 
These 4 rows form the pattern.




Berries:

This is a combination of the use of elongated stitches and bobbles. The bobbles or "berries" themselves are worked in elongated sts. The berries stand out nicely to form a very attractive stitch combination. The resulting fabric is soft, but thick with a spongey finish which makes it suitable for winter wear, stoles or scarves.  The reverse side is different, but also attractive.

Berries Bobble Stitch    Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 6 + 2
    Row 1: p2, *4 in one (by knitting into the front and back of this stitch twice), p2, k1, p2* repeat ** to end
    Row 2 and 4: k2, *p1, k2, (k4 yrn 2x for each of these sts), k2*. Repeat to end
    Rows 3 and 5: p2, *k4 allowing the extra loops to drop) p2, k1, p2* to end
    Row 6: k2, *p1, k2, p4tog, k2* to end.
    Row 7: p2, *k1 p2, 4 in one (by knitting into the front and back of this stitch twice), p2* to end
    Row 8 and 10: k 2, *(k4 yrn 2x for each of these sts), k2, p1, k2* to end
    Row 9 and 11: p2, *k1, p2, k4 letting extra loops drop) p2" to end
    Row 12: k2, *p4tog, k2, p1, k2) to end
These twelve rows form the pattern for the berries bobble stitch.



Bobbles incorporated into rib
Bobbles can be used in rib to break up a plain rib stitch pattern and make it look completely different.

Wider rib stitches are suitable for bobble inclusion. You can incorporate the bobbles in every purl stitch panel or leave some panels plain and only incorporate the bobbles as edging trim in the side panels.  Bobbles are suitable for the body of garments as the rib panels will need to be wider and therefore lose elasticity.

Bobble stitches in a vertical rib:

Instructions for bobble:

The bobble is made by (p1,k1) twice into the next stitch (creating 4 stitches in the one stitch), then pass 2nd, 3rd and 4th sts on right hand needle over the 1st stitch

Vertical Bobble Stitch in Rib     Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 8 + 3 stitches
    Row 1: *k3, p2, make bobble into next stitch, p2*. K the last 3 sts
    Row 2 and alternate rows: *p3,k2, p1, k2* p the last 3 sts
    Row 3: *K3, p5* k last 3 sts
These four rows form the vertical rib bobble stitch pattern. You can change the spacing of the bobbles  by repeating rows 3 and 4 before beginning at row 1 again.
The bobbles will then be more widely spaced.
It would also be easy to change the width of the rib panels by adding or subtracting stitches as you wish.


Bobble stitch in an oblique rib
In this stitch pttern, bobles are made on every right side row.

Notes:
  • The oblique bobble rib is suitable for panels in the body of a garment or the whole body of a garment.
  • Although it is a rib stitch, there is almost no elasticity so it is not suitable for elastic cuffs or edgings
  • The pattern stitch lies flat, so could be used for jacket edgings, pocket edgings, collars or cuffs
  • The bobbles make a very thick and warm fabric because they are so close together.
  • The texture of the oblique bobble rib is very striking.
  • If you are following a plain stitch pattern for your garment, the stitch numbers and measurements should work out the
  • same, but you will need extra yarn as the bobbles use more yarn than a plain pattern.
 Diagonal Bobble Stitch in Rib    Instructions:
    To make bobble: k into front and back of the next stitch 3 times then pass 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th sts over the first stitch
    Cast on a multiple of 6 stitches.
    Row 1: *k2 make bobble into next st , p3* to end
    Row 2: *k3, p3* to end
    Row 3: *p1, k2 make bobble in the next stitch as before, p2*
    Row 4: *k2, p3, k1* to end
    Row 5: *p2, k2 make bobble in the next stitch as before, p1*
    Row 6: *k1, p3, k2*
    Row 7: *p3, k2 make bobble in the next stitch as before*
    Row 8: *p3, k3* to end
    Row 9: k1, *k3, p2 make bobble in the next stitch as before k1* end with p3, k2
    Row 10: p2, *k3, p3* end with k3, p1
    Row 11: k2, *p3, k2 make bobble in the next stitch as before, k1* end with p3, k1
    Row 12: p1, *k3, p3* end with k3, p2
 
These twelve rows form the stitch pattern for the oblique bobble stitch in rib.




Large Bobbles:
Notes:
  • Larger bobbles are often used in combination with cables in Aran knitting patterns.
  • You can also use large bobbles to break the monotony of stocking stitch. Use your imagination to create the bobbles in your own sequences.
  • Remeber bobble stitches use more yarn than a plain pattern. The larger and more frequent the bobbles, the more yarn you will need.
  • This bobble stitch can be used in cardigan rib edgings to cover buttons. You will need to sew a button in place inside the bobble in order to anchor it properly.
Large Bobble Stitch     Instructions:
     This bobble is made by knitting into the front and back of the next stitch twice, then again into the front of the stitch
     turn and work 4 rows in stocking stitch on these 5 stitches, then with the LH needle pass 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th sts over the
     first stitch.
     Cast on a multiple of 12 stitches + 7
     Row 1 - 4: Stocking stitch
     Row 5: k3 make bobble into the next stitch, *k11, make bobbleinto next st* k the last 3 sts
     Rows 6 - 10: Stocking stitch
     Row 11: k9 make bobble into next stitch, *k11, make bobble into next st* end with k9
     Row 12: p
     These 12 rows form the stitch pattern for large bobbles.




"Blister" stitches.
I call the following knitting stitch patterns "blisters" as they form slightly raised patches, but do not stand out as much as a bobble. They make a nice variation for a plain stocking stitch pattern.

Notes:
  • These stitches do not use much more yarn than a stocking stitch pattern would as the bliasters are not large.
  • They can be incorporated into the background of stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch.
  • They have the same characteristics of a stocking stitch - thy tend to curl up at the edges so are not suitable for edges of garments
  • They are effective for the body of the garment

Blisters in stocking stitch background:

Blister Bobble Stitch in Stocking Stitch    Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 6 + 2 stitches
    Rows 1 to 3 and 5 to 7: Stocking stitch beginning with a K row
    Row 4: *p4, make blister p2, (turn, sl1 k1, turn sl1 p1) three times* p last 2 sts
    Row 8: *p2, make blister p2, (turn, sl1 k1, turn sl1 p1) three times* p last 4 sts
    These 8 rows give you an alternating blister stitch.
    You can choose your own intervals between the blisters.




Discs in reverse stocking stitch background
Unlike the "blister" stitch, the "discs" are made by icreasing ino one stitch, then knitting the increased stitches for two rows before decreasing them to their original number on the fourth row.  This creates slightly raised but flat discs.

Flat Disc Bobbles     Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches
    Row 1: *p3, (k1, m1, k1 into next stitch)*
    Row 2 and 3: *p3, k3*
    Row 4: *yf,sl1, p2tog, psso, k3*
    Row 5: p
    Row 6: k
    Row 7: p1, *(k1, m1, k1 into next stitch), p3* ending with p2
    Row 8: k2, *p3, k3* ending with k1
    Row 9: p1, *k3, p3* ending with p2
    Row 10: K2, *yf, sl1, p2tog, psso, k3* ending with k1
    Row 11: p
    Row 12: k
These twelve rows form the stitch pattern for the discs in reverse stocking stitch.
It is very easy to change the look of your flat disc bobble stitch pattern by using different spacing between the bobbles. 
You can also use a row or two of discs for borders or between rib panels to give different effects.
The disc bobble stitch is fairly small, but very versitile.  Enjoy experimenting with it.



Mini-Bobbles:
Notes:
Mini-bobbles:
  • can be used to create any geometric design in your knitting.
  • stitch fabric is thicker and uses more yarn than plain knitting patterns
  • are particularly effective when used against a plain background such as stocking stitch.
  • Remember, mini-bobbles make the fabric wider than stocking stitch patterns, so if you only use it as a border, it will make the fabric "flare" in the mini-bobble stitch rows.
  • The fabric will lie flat if the mini-bobbles are fairly close together
  • Probably best used for blankets or knee rugs.
Let your imagination flow. Use mini-bobbles in oblique, horizontal or vertical rows, in blocks, stripes, stairs or to create any shapes or groupings you can think of.
Your yarn will increase with the frequency of the bobbles used.


Mini-Bobble Squares:
The mini-bobble stitch squares give an interesting texture to your resulting fabric.  The squares stand out more, and are thicker than a moss-stitch squares.
To make each mini-bobble:
p2, *yb, return the 2 sts onto the LH needle, yf, p2* 3 times

Mini-Bobble Stitch Squares    Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 12 sts
    Rows 1, 3 and 5: *k6,make 3 bobbles into the following 6 sts as instructed above*
    Row 2 and all alt rows: p
    Rows 7, 9 and 11: *make 3 bobbles into the following 6 sts as instructed above, k6*
 
These 12 rows form the stitch pattern.


Mini-Bobble Pyramids:
The rows with the bobbles are wider than plain stocking stitch. 
You would need to create bands of pyramids and alternate them with inverted pyramids to keep the fabric width even.

Mini-Bobble Stitch Pyramid  
These pattern rows form the stitch for the mini-bobble pyramids.
Invert the sequence for inverted pyramids.

"Knots" are a form of bobble.
Knotted stitches show up best when used in a plain stocking stitch background.  There are various ways of knitting "knot stitches". Two of them are demonstrated in the following stitch patterns:

Rows of knots:
Instructions:
Cast on a multiple of 4 sts + 2.
Row 1 - 4: Stocking stitch beginning with a k row
Row 5: *k2 Cr2L, (m1, pass 2nd st on RH needle over the first st and the m1) twice* to end
Row 6: p

These 6 rows form the stitch pattern.
Bobble Stitch Knots     Instructions:  
     To make knots:  k into back of 2nd st on LH needle, then into back of 1st st
     (yrn  pass 2nd st on RH needle over 1st st and the yrn) x2

     Cast on a multiple of 4  + 2sts
     Rows 1 and 3:  k
     Rows 2 and all alt rows:  p
     Row 5:  *K2, knot into next 2 sts* k last 2 sts
     These 6 rows form the pattern sequence for the first knot stitch.

Bobble Stitch Knots 2    Second Knot Stitch Sequence

   Instructions:

     To make knots:  p3tog leaving the sts on LH needle, k the same 3 sts tog,
     then p them together before allowing the 3 sts to drop from the LH needle
     Cast on a multiple of 12 + 3 sts
     Rows 1 - 6: Stocking stitch, beginning with a k row
     Row 7: *k9 make knot as above into next 3 sts* end with k3 
     Row 8:  p
The sample above shows vertical rows of knots created slightly differently from the first sample.

Alternating knots:

Knots are made as for the previous sample
Instructions:
Cast on a multiple of 12 + 3 sts
Rows 1 - 6:   Stocking stitch, beginning with a k row
Row 7:   *k9 make knot into next 3 sts (as above)* end with k3
Rows 8 - 14:  Stocking stitch beginning with a p row
Row 15:   *k3 make knot into next 3 sts* end with k9
Row 16: p
These 16 rows form the stitch pattern. You can easily change the frequency or sequence of the knots to suit your own desires.




Trinity Stitch
This is a well-known stitch and is called Trinity Stitch because as with the Trinity - this knitting stitch has a sequence of "one-in-three, then three-in-one".
Trinity stitch is particularly effective in fairly thin yarns to make a shawl, stole or open-work summer-weight cardigan.  It is very attractive and easy to knit.

Instructions:
Cast on a multiple of 4 sts + 2 for edging.
Row 1: k1, *(k1,p1,k1) into next st, p3tog* k last st
Row 2 and all alternate rows: p
Row 3: k1 *p 3tog,(k1,p1,k1) into next st,* k last st.
These four rows form the Trinity Stitch pattern.



Ridge Stitches

Ridge stitches are very similar to bobble stitches as they are formed by knitting several times into one stitch, then later knitting the extra stitches together. The fabric formed is very thick and has a matted feel about it.

Notes:
Ridge stitches:
  • have an attractive appearance
  • Use up far more yarn than a plain knitting pattern
  • Are fairly cumbersome to knit
  • Could be used effectively as cuff, pocket or collar edgings
  • Ridge stitches are excellent for baby blankets, thick jackets or coats.

Horizontal Padded Ridge Stitch Bobble
This is a particularly thick ridge stitch pattern.  It will use a lot more yarn than a stocking Stitch knitting pattern.
The padded ridge stitch lies flat and
It is suitable for warm baby blankets, knee rugs, tea cosies and anything where you are looking for good insulation.

Padded Ridge Stitch Bobble    Instructions:
    Cast on a multiple of 2 stitches
    Row 1 and 5: p
    Row 2: *k1, (k1,p1,k1) into next st*
    Row 3: *k3, p1*
    Row 4: *k1, p3tog*
    Row 6: *(k1,p1,k1) into next st, k1*
    Row 7: *p1, k3*
    Row 8: *p3tog, k1*
These 8 rows form the stitch pattern.



Vertical ridge stitch:
The vertical ridge stitch pattern is not as thick or matted as the horizontal ridge stitch above.

Instructions:
Cast on a multiple of 4 + 1
Row 1: *K1, k3tog keeping the 3 sts on the LH needle, p them together and k them together again, then let them fall* end with k1
Row 2 and all alternate rows: p
These two rows form the pattern.


   




Bobble stitches continued ....
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