Monday, January 18, 2010

The Snow Queen Technique Tutorial

This project uses some challenging lace knitting techniques. These include a center cast-on, making nupps, making complex Estonian style stitches and placing beads using a crochet hook. I will talk about each of these elements individually.
The Center cast-on
There are many ways to start a piece at the center. I have an excellent blog post that covers several possible techniques:
For this particular project I simply cast-on 9 stitches (3 to each of three double-pointed needles.) I joined, being careful not to twist and I knit one round plain using a fourth needle. With 9 stitches at the start it is not that difficult.

There are two ways to make nupps. The common way is to knit into the stitch (leave original stitch on the left-hand needle) make a yarn-over, knit into the same stitch, make a yarn-over, knit into the same stitch, drop the original stitch from your left-hand needle and knit on. You just made five stitches from the one stitch. On the return row, you carefully purl the five stitches together. It is very easy to drop one of the yarn-overs, so be sure you count all five stitches before you complete the stitch. A much less common way to make nupps (because I might be the only person who likes to do this) is to slip the stitch as if to knit and return it to your left-hand needle with the back leg ready for action. Knit into the back leg of the stitch (leave original stitch on the left-hand needle) knit into the front leg of the stitch, knit into the back leg of the stitch, knit into the front leg of the stitch, knit into the back leg of the stitch. Drop the original stitch from the left-hand needle. On the return row, purl the five stitches together. Count that you have all five on your needles before you complete the stitch. My technique gives you a more firm nupp. Choose the technique that you prefer and stick with one, because they do look slightly different.

Nupps in the round present an interesting dilemma for me. My solution is to work the nupps by bringing the yarn over the top of the needle to knit and also to make the yarn-overs for each maneuver. When you do this your stitch flips so that it sits on the needle presenting the back lag of the stitch to knit. You can do this with either nupp technique for the same result. On the return row you can knit the group of five together with much greater ease.

Other stitch manipulations: -The “make 3 from 5” is worked like so: Knit five together and leave original stitches on left-hand needle. Make one yarn-over and knit the same five stitches together. Drop them from the left-hand needle. You will always be working a yarn-over before and after this stitch, so the stitch count will remain constant. If you knit in a European crossed-uncrossed way you will find this maneuver very easy, because your stitches will present themselves with the back leg forward and you can knit the five together through the back leg without twisting. You can also slip all five stitches (one at a time) as if to knit and return them to the left-hand needle so the back leg is “forward.” You work the “make 5 from 7” in the same way, but you knit 7 together and repeat the directions above until you have made 5 new stitches.

Placing Beads
I have already discussed beads in several places, and here is the link to some previous bead chats! The first two are bead posts and the second two have video clips of adding beads.
We will use all the techniques above for our project and discussion can proceed! I will be posting information for our swatch and materials Tuesday evening. Until then practice your nupps!

I made one of my very special technique videos to share with you today, shot by the lovely BadKitten, directly from my bedroom (I mean video studio...) I work a few nupps in three different ways. The first is the traditional way, best for use working back and forth. The second is my "less common" technique. This one works well for very fine yarn, when it get really easy to loose one of the yarn-overs on your return row. The resulting nupp is a bit more firm. The third technique I show is how I make nupps in the round, which leaves you with the five nupps stitches twisted on the needle and thus allows you to knit the five together through the back legs on your return row. The single stitch left over after you do this will be twisted, but it won't impact the look of your final nupp if you forget to flip it back.


  1. Thank you. Very useful!

  2. Can't get this video to play in either Firefox or IE.

  3. The video won't play for me either. I am using Firefox on a MacBook.

  4. The video issue belongs to Blogger. It seems to be site wide and they are aware of it and trying to fix it. Try again tomorrow. They usually get these things fixed quickly.

  5. Thanks (I always assume it is me being on a Mac when things don't work!). The video is brilliant. Really clear.

  6. You have beautiful shawls. I found the nupp technic descriptions and must convince I never heard neither of methods as Estonian ones. I believe there is only one and only Estonian method (also described in HS book) ;) ;) ;) There can be some new tecnics around created lately by knitters outside of Estonia, but here we still knitting it by the one and simple way: 7x knit,yo, and next row purling 7sts together. The secret once again is very fine yarn 2/28 and 3mm size sharp wooden needles. Very firm tiny nupps like a pearls. No need to drop any stitches.

    In round knitting it is all same, except that it can easily knitted 7 sts together at next round by using a knit stitch.

    Kind regards,
    ravelry: alkhabara

  7. Moni,
    We all knit in many styles, so techniques that are easy for you might be hard for someone else. Isn't it great that there are always more (and differnt/new) ways to work the same stitches?