Estonian lace, and conquering the nupp
Today I had a nice quiet day ahead of me with both children at school and nothing on my calendar. Everyone has been sick for the past week except me and I needed a restful day. What better way to get rest, than to knit Estonian lace for the first time?
This is a Nancy Bush pattern, Ulla’s Scarf, from Ann Budd’s “Knitted Gifts” book. I am using Knit Picks Palette in white, with US size 5 needles.
I cast on and was quite relaxed while making the lace border. It seemed straightforward enough. However, as I started to approach the lines in the charts with the nupps, I started feeling nervous. Anyone who has knit lace or has looked into it will know that a nupp is a little knitted nubbin – consisting of knittng/making yarn overs FIVE times into one stitch, then purling those 5 stitches together coming across the back. I have heard so many complaints from lace knitters about nupps. I feared them and they actually stopped me from casting on this scarf many times.
Oh goodness, please ignore the dirt under my fingernail. I’m a mother, OK?
Anyway, that little blob of yarn there is a nupp. And I used to be afraid of them, but no more. I have learned two secrets to knitting them without fear. One is to knit the 5 stitches as loosely as you can, like obscenely loose. Then as you come across the back side and need to purl them all together, don’t even try with your regular sized needle. Grab the tiniest sock needle you own (I think mine is seriously a 000, what on earth I was planning to knit with a size 000 needle, I have no idea, but the thought of it makes me slap-happy) and tuck it into all 5 of those stitches, grab your working yarn with the end of it and hold it tight, then just purl that nupp with the skinny needle, and slip back on to your right hand needle. Piece of cake. Well, not as easy as purling one stitch with normal sized yarn and regular sized needles, but it is a good way to not fear the nupp.
I love lily of the valley and it would look all wrong without the nupps. I am glad I figured out how to make peace with them.