the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Lost in the land of Nupp

I have noticed so many lovely lace shawls on the blogs of my buddies, I decided to take the plunge and try my own. Last seen, this little beauty was nothing but a scribble (as Margene puts it) - cute eh? !
The yarn was a gift from my friend Lisa - it's 100% lace alpaca that she has hand dyed in the colorway "Paprika". I love this color - it dances among various shades of copper red to burgandy to a few spots with a golden hue - and totally lives up to it's name.
The first 14 repeats went along pretty well. Although, I admit to talking out loud, saying the stitch pattern over and over as I knit along through all the odd numbered rows. The pattern? Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark (as recently featured in Interweave Knits.)
The pattern is so well written - even a beginner like me can tackle it, and follow along........... right up the part I have affectionately title .............
"The Land of Nupps".
Thus far, I've done 2 sets of "nupp" rows, and I had to quit for the day. Not because of lack of time, nor lack of desire, but I set it aside to beg for mercy. (Last time I took a peak, there were about 16 more nupp rows.. sigh)
Here's the little nupp itself (actually there are two of them on two different rows)- close to the pin in the middle of the photo. See those little bumps (right above the green lifeline)?
What's a nupp you ask? well (since this is a publically published pattern, I can refer to it here without breaking any rules.. I hope...thanks Evelyn) On the knit row, the nupp reads: K1,yo,K1,yo,K1 all in the same stitch. Then when you go back and purl the next row, you purl those 5 stitches together.
Now we enter the Land of Nupp - often followed by crossed eyes, tongue in cheek, holding one's breath and almost ripping the thread of those 5 little stitches.
Hmmm - why, you ask?
The knit part of the stitch seems to pull tighter and tighter as you try to put the needle back through it to purl. (insert some more frustrating noises here, along with evil laughter and the words " You'll not beat me you little nupp gremlin!")
I finally resorted to digging out my size 0 dpn, and lifting the 5 stitches off the shawl needle, with the hope that I could ease them gently together without any further massacre. It worked. (and also took over an hour to purl back on that one row.)
There were many deep sighs and walks around the house after that first row of Nupp Land.

Ever the intrepid fiberwizard, I pressed on..... (are you sensing disaster.. you can relax. All stitches are still safely on the needle, and nothing's been broken anywhere close by :-). I knit the second row of nupps, and this time made the stitch enormously loose ; reasoning in my little brain that I must have just pulled too durned tight the first time. Silly me. 90% of the little nupps again pulled too tight on themselves. Aarrggh.

So I send a small plea out to my blog friends who are lace pros....... am I making the stitch incorrectly? Is there a lace-knitter's-trick-book that I can buy right away?

I suspect that I may have fated myself to a few dilemmas when I set out to knit this little beauty up in less than a month - I am so wanting to wear it to this show that is coming up within a couple more weeks.....
So thanks - in advance - for all who jump in with ideas and help. I might not be able to write back (if I don't already have your email... blogger doesn't give it to me) But please know that I will be cheering and clapping on this end.

In the mean time, I think I'll go back to my true first lace shawl (which I began somewhere around early November) This is the Bird's Nest Shawl from the wonderful little book "Folk Shawls". I've almost finished the first of the three repeats. It's a 90% silk/ 10% cashmere yarn, in the most yummy shade of soft yellow.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you, as I stitch my way through the bog in the Land of Nupps.

26 Comments:

At January 9, 2007 at 4:40 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

I am by no stretch of the imagination either a lace or nupp expert... but I was thinking that a small crochet hook might be a better tool for making those nupps come together.

 
At January 9, 2007 at 7:08 PM, Blogger Carole Knits said...

I used a 0000 dpn to purl the 5 together. The more you do the easier it gets. But it's a giant PITA. You can do it, you can do it!

 
At January 9, 2007 at 7:21 PM, Anonymous Paula said...

Crochet hook - I second that notion.

 
At January 9, 2007 at 7:24 PM, Anonymous Knitt'nLissa said...

Goodness, those are beautiful, Teyani. I'm not worthy...:)

 
At January 9, 2007 at 9:25 PM, Blogger Fiberjoy said...

I still haven't gotten brave enough to tackle any lace beyond the bit I put into the fingerless gloves. Hooray for you, tackling two!

Yike, Madrone in only a couple weeks?

 
At January 10, 2007 at 4:17 AM, Blogger Julie said...

I knit Madli's shawl which has 7-stitch nupps in it. The first few rows of them was NOT a pretty sight :) there was much swearing and futzing and eventually I sorted them out and they got easier. When you're on the knit side make those loops for the nupp fairly loose and when you come back on the purl row work your needle tip in through all five and then rock it towards and away from you just a little to loosen them evenly before you attempt the purl. Very pointy needles will help though I did mine with Addi's being err well rather stubborn. I think the knitpicks circs are pointier and may be useful. Hang in there, it'll definitely get easier!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 4:38 AM, Blogger Ann said...

Julie said what I'd say -- I did a shawl with the "lily of the valley" stitch in it. Lots of nups. Loose is the word, is the word, is the word, baby. So loose you're afraid it'll look floppy. 'Cause it won't, it'll just draw in nicely and you don't have to futz or cuss.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 4:59 AM, Blogger Momo said...

It's a beauty so far! Sounds like you unvented a lace trick, Teyani. I know that I have read somewhere that people use larger needles on nupp stitches or on the right side rows.

Cheers! And good luck!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 5:26 AM, Blogger Dave said...

An hour per row? Yikes!! Sorry, no hints for you -- just sympathy. :-)

 
At January 10, 2007 at 6:14 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

wow. those are some tough stitches! I just did nupps in the Denmark socks (from Knitting on the Road) but they were nothing like that!!!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 8:26 AM, Anonymous Alison said...

Oooh, that color is beautiful. Hopefully you can concentrate on that and not how much the nupps are buggin'.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 8:41 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

It sounds like you've gotten some good advice. I'll say a prayer to the knitting gods for you.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 9:10 AM, Blogger trek said...

I am all googley eyed over the nupps here!! That is some time commitment.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 10:43 AM, Anonymous Beki said...

I know what you mean about what little buggers those nupps are. Swallowtail was my holiday travel project. It may be sacriledge, but after 2 rows of trying to purl 5 tog, I resorted to slipping the first 3 sts to the right needle, p2tog, passing the slipped sts over. It's blocked and I can't tell the difference and it was a heck of lot faster (though still slow). Good luck!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 11:17 AM, Blogger margene said...

The only nupps I did (in a class with Nancy Bush) was with heavy wool. It isn't easy no matter what. I smaller needle or crochet hook should help. Good luck! I love the Birds Nest shawl!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 11:18 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I seem to remember that the Knitting Doctor was in Nupp Hell for quite a while - maybe she would have some insights?

 
At January 10, 2007 at 12:05 PM, Anonymous Leah said...

Look at you with all the lace all over the place! Very pretty!

I've never knit nupps, but I have heard of several people using crochet hooks on them. When in doubt or trouble, I find a crochet hook can almost always get you out of a lace or sock knitting jam!

Looking forward to seeing both of your lace projects finished!!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 2:35 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I have never tried nupps yet, so I can't offer any advice. They don't look much fun though. You'll beat those nupps into submission I bet. :)
It really looks beautiful so far Teyani! Love the color!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 2:59 PM, Blogger Krista McCurdy said...

Gorgeous lace, Teyani! I started Ene's shawl while in Mexico, but unfortunately after four tries I frogged. Finally, however, I now understand how to read the pattern! someday, some day...but your shawls are certainly motivating.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 3:15 PM, Blogger jackie said...

Never heard of nupps before and I now know to avoid them. Good luck!

 
At January 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

That psssso hint may have been one the one I was thinking of. That shawl is SO worth it in the end, from what I've seen in blogland.

 
At January 10, 2007 at 4:28 PM, Anonymous TheBon said...

The best tip I've found for nupps comes by way of http://acunningplan.typepad.com/andsheknitstoo/madlis_shawl/index.html

In a nutshell, you have x stitches in your nupp, in your case 5. On the purl row, slip x-1 [4]. Purl that last one and slip x-1 over [4 again]. Then snug up anything that got loose when you were slipping and keep purling. Way easier than trying to dig in with a teeny needle. And they look the same.

 
At January 11, 2007 at 10:13 AM, Anonymous Lynne said...

I am ever amazed at you lace-knitters! How beautiful!

 
At January 11, 2007 at 10:46 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

I've never knit nupps before, so I'm no help there, but it looks like you already got some hints anyway. Both shawls are looking lovely, and I'm very intrigued by the cashmere/silk yarn you are using for the yellow one. It looks positively yummy!

 
At January 13, 2007 at 10:41 AM, Blogger Opal said...

I have knit 9 lace shawls, yet the nupp still eludes me. I cannot tell you how much I admire you for tackling the nupp in only your 2nd lace project. Intrepid indeed!

 
At January 26, 2007 at 10:13 AM, Blogger The Knitting Girl said...

Hey, I also have the bird's nest shawl on the needles. It has been languising in my knitting bag for several weeks...time to get back to it.

 

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