Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nupp Busters

I have reached the point on the Swallowtail Shawl where the word "nupp" simply must be mentioned. Trawling the Ravelry forums provided tons of useful tips for wrangling the dreadful creatures (BTW – why are they called "nupps"? Acronym? Derived from some ancient language?). The two suggestions I liked best were: 1) do 3 stitches instead of 5, and 2) fasten the relevant stitches together with something so as not to confuse them with the yarnovers that precede and follow.

Among my knitting notions I found these handy items. Clover calls them stitch markers. I call them nupp-busters – training wheels for the novice nupper. They make the process incredibly simple.

Right after creating the 3, 5, or 7 stitches that will comprise the nupp one simply slides the point of the nupp-buster into the collection and locks it closed. It's an easy maneuver, because the nupp stitches are still all nice and loose.

After working an entire right-side row the shawl looks like this –

The fun comes on the return row. By now, of course, all the looseness in the nupp stitches has spread itself among the adjoining stitches, and the nupp is tighter than tight. Heh. A gentle tug on the nupp-buster loosens it up again so that the right needle can be inserted.

Then we unlock the nupp-buster, slide it out, and purl all the stitches together. Easy peasy. This method does slow the nupp creation a trifle, but it compensates by speeding up the return row amazingly. And most importantly -- I believe it will allow me to complete the Swallowtail while still preserving some remnants of sanity.


Sharon said...

I nupper heard of a nupp. Huh??

Leigh said...

So that's what those things are for! I've seen them and like Sharon, wondered, huh??????? Thanks for the excellent explanation.

Delighted Hands said...

Now I will have to investigate a nupp for myself! Great ingenuity for overcoming a wrinkle in our knitting zen!

Luni said...

Very clever! I want to knit Swallowtail now that you have developed a weapon against the nupps.

Kath said...

Who you gonna call?
(Sorry, couldn't help meself!)

Marjorie said...

I love those stitch markers, but I hadn't considered using them as you do. And it would be fun to knit a version of Swallowtail with some stash yarn. Thanks for the tip.

Sheila said...

That a good idea for knitting a nupp. Have you see the new Nancy Bush lace book? It looks like some good nupps in there.