How to Knit a Bobble

Let’s talk bobbles…

I really dislike bobbles, but so far I’m not finding them that bad.  Honestly, once I get to a bobble row it’s a welcome change from the 7 rows of stockinette.

You can’t tell from the image above, but there’s a small hole to the right of each of the bobbles, that I’m hoping doesn’t show too much when I’m wearing this jumper.  Holes are one of the inevitable symptoms of bobbles, so I’m told.  As a result of this, on each of the bobble rows I’ve actually employed a new technique each time to figure out what works best at reducing the holes and also to get nice, uniform bobble stitches.

If any of you are planning on making this jumper, here’s how I’ve gone about making my bobbles.  (The top 3 rows of the jumper shows this revised bobble method).

To make the actual bobble:

(This is exactly the same as the pattern directions state.)

Knit 1 stitch.  Put it back on the left hand needle, knit it again, but leave on the needle as though casting on.  Cast on 3 more stitches, and a total of 5 stitches should now be on your left hand needle.

To learn how to cast on in the middle of your work, click on the link above which is a youtube video.  The video is by Judy Graham, who goes quite fast but it was the best video I found for this technique.  Be sure to pause it as needed.

To close the bobble, or reduce back down to 1 stitch:

  1. With yarn in back, slip 3 stitches knit-wise one at a time to the right-hand needle.
  2. Then pass the second (or middle) stitch on the right-hand needle over the center stitch (left-most stitch on the right-hand needle).
  3. Slip the center stitch (or left-most stitch) back to the left-hand needle and pass the next stitch (to the left) on left-hand needle over it.
  4. Slip the center stitch (or left-most stitch on the left needle) back to the right-hand needle.

Repeat steps 2-3 one more time.  You should now only have 1 stitch remaining on your left-hand needle.

  • Knit this stitch in the back loop and proceed to the next bobble.

This seems like a lot of work, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it after a few bobbles.  Really you’re just passing stitches from the left to the right and back again, folding the stitches over each other from the center of the bobble out towards the edge of the bobble.

On the first row after the bobble row:

Purl the bobble stitch (aka stitch right where you had your bobble on the prior row) instead of knitting it!  This makes the bobble more defined and also helps reduce holes.

One more tip: Be sure to knit tightly in the stitch before and after the bobble, as this also helps to reduce unwanted holes.

Now, I should state that my jumper still does have a bit of a gap between the knit stitches and the bobble.  But it’s by far, these steps left the smallest hole compared to all other methods.  There’s no way getting around these holes with fingering weight yarn, it’s just the way bobbles go.


Please let me know if you have any questions about these steps!  I feel like I tried every single variation to these steps so I feel like a mini bobble expert now.  heh

Happy knitting everyone!

In: Tutorials

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (8)

  1. SewSavory November 13, 2012 — 8:06 PM

    Thank you for the tutorial! You ARE my knitting guru. :) I am positive that I wll refer back to this as my skill level increases. Your time and effort are appreciated!

  2. Cynthia November 14, 2012 — 6:17 AM

    Hi! first of all, your sweater looks awesome so far!
    I was itching to make a sweater covered in bobbles but couldn’t decide if it would be cool or really weird…you’ve got me sold on the bobbles!
    I’m currently working on a project with only two rows of bobbles , and i’m using a slightly different method for them (from this youtube video by Wool n the gang ). for me the hole seems to be sort of centered under the bobble itself and not really show from the front (but I’m using relatively small needles). I was wondering if you tried this method? I’m not sure my bobbles are as pretty as yours though… anyway, good luck on your sweater!
    and sorry if my comment is weird…I almost never comment…I’m not even sure I’ve ever commented here, but I read your blog often, and you inspired me to pick up knitting a few months back (I made one of your free patterns, a shrug).
    have a great day!

    1. Liz November 14, 2012 — 12:46 PM

      Hey Cynthia! Thanks for sharing. I watched the video and I’ll give this one a shot. Although I did try going over multiple rows with the bobble and I saw some holes so I stopped going that route. But still…. I’m willing to try it again with this new way. :)

      Do you have any pictures posted of you in the shrug pattern that I posted? I’d love to see it!

      1. Cynthia November 14, 2012 — 6:28 PM

        Oooh! thanks for your answer!
        I have been meaning to take a picture of the shrug for ravelry, but it’s kind of hard to take a picture of oneself… so I’ll have to enroll someone or try balancing my camera ver piles of objects because I don’t have a tripod an d like to live on the edge. but when I get around to it I’ll definitely send a link your way!
        I hope you find the holly grail of the perfect bobble!

  3. Liz November 15, 2012 — 10:33 PM

    Wow you have knitted so much already – I still haven’t even bought my wool!! Your wool is a fabulous colour. Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. katezat November 28, 2012 — 3:18 PM

    I have always wondered how bobbles are made! Thanks for the great tips :-)

  5. Cindy March 31, 2018 — 9:50 AM

    Thank you Liz for posting these outstanding instructions. I particularly like that I don’t have to turn the work, and your bobble knits much faster.

    One question: is all of the slipping done as if to knit or are any of the slips done as if to pearl?

    Thank you. My bobbles are so much better!!!

  6. Virginia Cook October 7, 2018 — 11:38 AM

    I have found that if on the row after the bobble, you do an SSK (slip as if to knit, slip as if to purl, knit both thru back loop) with the stitch before (to the right)the bobble, and the one on the bobble, then reach behind the bobble and pick up the first bar, knitting thru the back loop, you have almost no hole.

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