Little Fig asked me recently if I’d make her a new Cora cardigan, and would I make it with “rainbow bobbles instead of plain ones”. She then raided the wool cupboard and chose her combination!
I’ve never knit popcorn (bobble) stitch in a contrast colour before, and I’m always up for learning something new, so I thought I’d give it a go. I took some photos as I was working and thought it might be helpful to share them here, with a few notes on how they were worked.
So, the first step – work to the stitch that you want to work your bobble. Instead of inserting the needle into the stitch itself (and this is the most important part that’s different from a normal bobble stitch), insert it into the stitch in the row below. This is because we need a foundation stitch for the bobble that is in the colour of the bobble itself, so it doesn’t show.
Knit into this stitch with the bobble colour, then slip this stitch back on to the left needle. Now work your bobble into this new coloured stitch. Bobbles can be worked in lots of different ways, but for the Cora cardigan, they’re worked like this: KTFB twice, then into front again (5 stitches), then work 4 rows stocking stitch, starting on the wrong side with a purl row. Then pass stitches 2-5 over stitch 1.
Now return to the main knitting colour, and work quite tightly into the next stitches, until you reach the net stitch for a bobble, then repeat. Carry the bobble yarn across the back, twisting it in every 3rd stitch, to keep floats short.
Unfortunately, you will have some loose ends to sew in, at each end of every bobble row, but it’s worth it for a fab result!
If you are using a natural yarn, then it’s also really worth the time and effort to wet & block your garment. When the bobbles are knitted, they can be a little “oval” in shape, and I like to make them nice and round. Whilst the garment is damp, I use the rounded top end of a pencil, and push this in from the back of the bobble. I use my fingers to shape the bobble over the end of the pencil. Then when the garment is flat and pinned, I go over and just squish the bobbles to make them more rounded, then leave the garment to be completely dry.
If you do try out this technique, be sure to tag us on social media @little.fig.handmade ! We'd love to see what you create!