Tutorial – Knit Bobbles

Bobbles are a fun way to add texture to your knitting. As with most techniques in knitting and crochet, there are lots of different ways to make them. Learn the 3 basic steps of making a bobble, and some different variations to try.

Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

BobblePhoto Tutorial:

(scroll down for video tutorial)

Making a bobble can be broken down into 3 basic steps. Increasing to the desired width, knitting back and forth to the desired height, and decreasing back down to the original stitch count.

Step 1 – Increasing:

The number of increases you make in this first step determines the overall width of the bobble. Most bobbles I’ve run into start with one stitch, and increase to either 3 stitches or 5 stitches. This can be done using any increase method, but the one I see most often is to alternate between knitting into the front and back of the stitch.

To increase from one stitch to 3 on the right side of your work, first knit in the front of the stitch without removing it from the left needle (or right needle, if you’re left handed).

kf1 - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

Then knit into the back of the same stitch, still without removing it.

kb - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

Now knit into the front of the stitch again, and go ahead and remove it from the left needle.

k2tog - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps Increase done - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps


If you wanted a 5-stitch wide bobble, you would knit in the back and the front one more time before removing the stitch. There are lots of possible variations to this. Any kind of increase can be used, and theoretically you can increase to any number of stitches.

When making larger bobbles, you can start with more stitches. For example, you could do this same knit front-back-front increase again in the next stitch, and you would have a 6-stitch wide bobble with a flatter bottom.

If you would like a more tapered bobble, you could increase more slowly over several rows. For example, increase from one stitch to 3 on the first row, then turn and increase those three stitches to 6 on the next row.

Step 2 – Adding Height:

Once you have your desired width, it’s time to add some height to your bobble. By height, I mean how far the bobble sticks out from the surface of your work. Add height by working back and forth over your stitches. This creates the extra fabric that forms the bobble. For this example, let’s do 3 rows.

Most often, bobbles are made in stockinette stitch.  Turn your work to the wrong side, and purl across all three of the stitches you just made.

purl across - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

Now turn again and knit across those same three stitches. Finally, turn once more and purl across the 3 stitches. 

 last row - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps


You can add more height to your bobble by doing more rows, but at some point it will cease to be a bobble and will just become a big loop. I generally find that working as many rows as I have stitches makes a nicely rounded bobble.

You can also change the type of stitches in this step. For a fun texture, try a garter or seed stitch bobble! It won’t be as noticeable on small bobbles, but can make a difference on big ones.

Step 3 – Decreasing:

To finish the bobble, decrease back down to the same number of stitches you started with. In our case, we’re going to do a double decrease called sl1, k2tog, psso (slip1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over). Turn your work back to the right side and slip the first stitch as if to knit.

sl1 - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

Then knit the next 2 stitches together.

 k2tog - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

Finally, pass the slipped stitch over the stitch you just made. You should now be back to only 1 stitch on your needle.

psso - Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps

This doesn’t look much like a bobble yet, but after you work a few more stitches it will. If your bobble tries to stick out at on the wrong side of the work, just push it forward with your thumb. Once you finish the next row, the bobble will be pretty well secured and is less likely to try to pop out the back.

Knit Bobble Tutorial - Stitches n Scraps


Just like the increasing section, you can substitute any decrease method. You can also decrease over multiple rows for a more tapered look.


Video Tutorial:


Ready to try it out?  My next square in the Harmony Blanket KAL comes on on May 10th, and will have lots of bobbles to practice on. Meanwhile, try a 2-row bobble variation in the Itty Bitty Bobbles Washcloth!




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