Bumbling around with bobbles

I love the look of bobbles, but I didn't used to be able to stand knitting them. All that turning back and forth, working five stitches into one, It just seems like a pain. 

The thing about knitting is that some things are a pain, but they're usually worth it (just another instance of knitting imitating life, right?). This goes for bobbles; sometimes you just have to have a bobble!

One of my favorite knit combos is bobbles + cables. I've been looking at a scarf pattern for awhile now, not starting it because I wasn't in a bobble mood. I was recently reviewing  Eunny Jang's DVD Workshop Getting Started Knitting: Basics and Beyond, and lo and behold, there was a segment on making bobbles! 

Not only does Eunny show a neat way to do a yarn-over variation to make more stitches for a bobble, she shows how to KNIT BACKWARDS so you don't have to turn your work ad nauseum when making bobbles. As always, Eunny knows of what she speaks.

You must learn this technique right now, so here's the video:

Kathleen's bobble and cable scarf swatch

I've started a practice swatch for a cable-bobble scarf (at right). I'm getting better at the bobbles, and I'm actually enjoying working them. Eunny's bobble tips are really worth using.

I think the top right bobble is the best one. I'm going to keep swatching until I get several perfect bobbles in a row. And I'm not sure if I like this scarf pattern. I think I'll do away with the knit stitch up the middle and add some bobbles in that space, mirroring the bobbles on the outsides of the cables. What do you think?

I really love the knitting backwards technique; you should practice it a bunch, because I can promise you that it'll come in handy. Like when you're knitting a 5-stitch button band or a purse strap or a shoulder strap.

I've already used it in a Christening dress I'm working on. The top of the dress is a knit and purl lattice pattern, and on the wrong side it's hard to see where to knit and where to purl. It's easy to see the pattern develop on the right side, so I've been using the reverse knitting technique. Try it!

Every time I watch this DVD workshop, I have an a-ha moment. Order your copy of Getting started Knitting: Basics and Beyond and get ready to "a-ha" with Eunny.


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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

33 thoughts on “Bumbling around with bobbles

  1. You know, you can also knit backward rather than turn the work back and forth, a simple technique taught to me by a Norwegian lady that came in our shop. For this kind of stitch it works great!

  2. at first glance of the scarf swatch I thought,”What’s with that knit stitch in the middle?” I don’t like it either. The knitting backwards technique is funny to me because I originally learned how to knit “left-handed” from a book twenty years ago. I only started knitting right handed about two years ago after being convinced it would make life so much easier when trying to follow patters. I now love knitting right handed but have caught myself reverting to old ways on occasion. I never thought of the advantage of being able to do it.

  3. Eunny “picks” when she knits. I throw and since I am now 82, am not inclined to pick. I find I knit fast enough for my purposes and enjoy the action. I have knit sweaters, jackets, scarves, afghans, stoles, baby booties and baby hats. I was interested in seeing the various ways she knits bobbles, but would appreciate being shown the simple ways throwing rather than picking my stitches. Is that possible?


    Marion R.

  4. I agree With Marion about throwers versus pickers. Perhaps Eunny Jang should consider both techniques when knitting.
    One of the reasons I don’t watch you Eunny…you forget about throwers.
    Too old to change


  5. There is knifty way of making very tidy bobbles using a crochet hook.
    Knit/Purl (depending on your background). Slip stitch back to left needle. Hold both needles with left hand and pick up crochet hook. (I keep it behind my ear)
    Pick up the stitch with crochet hook. Chain 4. Insert hook into the 4th chain from the hook from front to back, reaching behind the chain. Yarn over and draw the loop through both stitches Return stitch to Right needle. Since I can’t post a picture in my comment here is the link to a diagram in hat pattern I posted on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/dls/renata-brenner-designs/60430?filename=Heaven_s_Hat.pdf

  6. I personally love to watch Eunny work! I know how to continental knit (pick) but know it will take a lot of practice before it flows for me. When I’m not working on a porject that I want to get done quick, I’ll just play with getting comfortable with picking & work on speed once I get it down pat…

    Eunny also does throw, not just pick. I’ve watched her do both. But if I ever get as fast as her at picking, I’ll do that… I like to get things done fast.

    Now….Has anyone else had trouble getting the videos to work??? Mine used to but they don’t anymore and I’m logged in…. I need help…I miss watching them!!

  7. I knit “backwards” in all my knitting. Not that I can’t knit in a traditional fashion, I just enjoy the speed. however, when working from the right needle to the left I am a picker and when working from the left needle to the right I am a thrower. I do have to think about pattern instructions before doing them, but in the end it’s all the same to me.

  8. I´m left-handed, but I knit with my right hand and I’m a thrower. However, I just love watching Eunny knit because she’s so good at it! Thank you so much for sharing these great techniques. Maybe I’ll now try to knit something with bobbles in it, because it doesn’t seem like an endless, boring chore!

  9. Kathleen,

    I love you enthusiasm for all things knitting. You asked for an opinion on the scarf pattern. I think you should lose the center knit stitch AND the bobbles on the outside. I like the idea of an open cable with bobbles down the middle. Go for it!

  10. I’d never buy a video of this type of teaching. I enjoying listening to ONE person giving instructions – not two people, where the second person is busy talking over the instructor’s explanations with unnecessary comments.

  11. I used to teach knitting at the local school to where I lived and we had some very left-handed girls, so I taught myself how to teach left-handed or knitting backwards. My husband used to know when I had been teaching because I would knit forwards and backwards – no turning, no purling, it was brilliant. The best thing was these girls also got to knit and loved it. I still use it at times when I have a small amount of stitches on the needle and find it a bother to keep turning.

  12. Totally enjoyed the video and will practice the technique. I do like the middle stitch on the swatch, it adds texture and interest to a pattern intended to exhibit a variety of different looks.

  13. I can’t wait to try this out, I think knitting backwards would be an amazing technique to add to my toolbox! Thank you Kathleen, you are such an inspiration!

  14. I really like your idea to replace the middle column of knit stitches with bobbles, but rather than do them in line with the outside bobbles, I would offset them to the row midway between the rows the outside bobbles are in.

  15. Thank you for the video. Love E’s concise, clear method of presentation. During moments of frustration, turning to the DVDs saves both me and my projects!

  16. What a great technique! The video is so helpful and I will definitely be practicing knitting backwards. I’ve always avoided bobbles before. What sweater is Eunny wearing? Is it an interweave pattern? I want to make one!

  17. I am making a beautiful sweater out of a beautiful soft cotton, that calls for many, many bobbles…. can hardly WAIT to use this technique! And I think your idea for making another line of bobbles instead of the knit stitch up the middle is brilliant. The knitted row just doesn’t do it for me, it looks too much like an ‘afterthought’.

    Knit on, McDuff! LOL

  18. I have a little problem because Eunny is holding her knitting another way than I do. But I will try to learn and practise this just as Kathleen says. My bubbles have always been very sloppy and have not burst like a flower bud as Eunny’s. Is it so that she is picking up the new stitches as she is casting them on, then turning her knitting?
    I am impressed of how easily she is turning her knitting without slipping the yarn from her left hand. Always new things to learn! I have knitted for 60 yrs and “after” Ravelry and Knitting Daily I have learnt more thn in the 55 years before.
    Friendly, Grete from Norway

  19. Does anyone have or know where I can get a pattern for a baby blanket with bobbles? My daughter saw one the other day and would like me to make one for my new granddaughter. She said it was in variegated pastels and had bobbles sporadically placed around the blanket. Thank you in advance.