5 Ways to Work a Bobble

Did you know there are many ways to create rounded textures on top of your knitting? Not every bobble requires working extra rows of knitting or turning your work back and forth. The five techniques outlined here by Sarah Wilson range from the traditional to the bizarre, incorporating everything from knitting backwards to cable needles, stitch holders, and I-cord!

1. Traditional 3-Stitch Bobble

This traditional bobble is made by increasing into 1 stitch, working back and forth across these stitches for a few rows, then decreasing. In this stitch, Row 2 will teach you to knit backward without having to turn your work. All rows are worked with right side facing.

Worked into 1 stitch.
Row 1 Knit into front, back, and front of next st on left needle—2 sts inc’d.
Row 2 *Insert tip of left needle into back of first st on right needle; wrap yarn around tip of left needle from back to front; pull this new loop through the st on the right needle,
and slip st off right needle; rep from * twice more.
Row 3 K3.
Row 4 Rep Row 2.
Row 5 K3tog—2 sts dec’d; returned to original st count.

2. Traditional 4-Stitch Bobble

This version will be a bit larger than the 3-stitch bobble and can be worked across as many as 6 stitches. Simply continue knitting alternately into the front and back of the original stitch on Row 1 until desired number of stitches is reached, then decrease
back down to 1 stitch as described in Row 5.

Worked into 1 stitch.
Row 1 (RS) Knit into front, back, front, and back of next st on left needle—3 sts inc’d. Turn work.
Row 2 (WS) P4, turn.
Row 3 (RS) K4, turn.
Row 4 (WS) P4, turn.
Row 5 (RS) K4, *with left needle, lift 2nd st on right needle over first st and off needle; rep from * twice more—3 sts dec’d; returned to original st count.

3. Wrapped Bobble

This technique does not involve increasing, decreasing, or knitting extra rows and makes a flatter bump, so would be great to swap in on a pattern with allover bobbling. Youwill need a cable needle.

Worked over 2 stitches.
Transfer first 2 sts from left needle to a cable needle (cn) and hold to the front of your work. Wrap your working yarn around these 2 sts counterclockwise 4 times. Slip sts from cn to right needle (they are not worked; note that this slipping of the sts will cause your row gauge to contract if bobbles are worked heavily).

4. Estonian Button Stitch

This technique will result in stitches appearing “wrapped” with yarn, similar to the wrapped bobble above; however, this version is worked without a cable needle and makes a very petite bump. It also does not require extra rows or turning of the work.

Worked over 2 stitches.
With RS facing, insert tip of right needle into space between 2nd and 3rd sts on left needle. (You will not be inserting the needle into a st, only into the space between the sts.) Draw up a loop, place this new loop onto the left needle and knit it through the back loop. Slip first 2 sts from left needle to right needle and lift 3rd st on right needle over first 2 sts and off needle.

5. Knotted I-cord

You could use this technique to create knitted buttons on a sweater, frog closures, or even advanced sailor knots—just be sure to work extra length of I-cord if you are making a larger knot! This makes a large three-dimensional bobble.

Worked over 3 stitches.
With RS facing, [k1f&b] 3 times—3 sts inc’d to 6 sts. Slip the first, 3rd, and 5th sts from right needle to a holder or double-pointed needle (dpn) held in front of work, leaving the 2nd, 4th, and 6th on the right needle. Join new yarn to first st from dpn and work I-cord (see Glossary) for 2″. K3tog—1 st rem. Cut yarn and fasten off last st. Tie I-cord into an overhand knot; tuck the end to WS, and with yarn attached to original 3 sts on right needle, cont across row. Use the I-cord tail to secure the bobble on the WS.


These techniques are just the beginning of what is possible with bobbles. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your own methods when working existing patterns or designing your own. If you’re ready to put bobbles on all the things, check out the Hobnail Coasters from Interweave Knits, Spring 2016!

Bobble it Up, Baby


  1. Geraldine W at 12:45 pm April 20, 2017

    Order placed for hotmail-coaster pattern did not get download

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