Bubbles and Butterfly Kisses: A True Destashification Project. Knit with 100% Stash Yarns. This is designed to be a fun project. Don’t let being off by one or two stitches interfere with that fun. Please scroll down for philosophical discussion on stitch counts….
Attempts were made to keep notes on how the original Bubbles and Butterfly Kisses sweater was constructed, but alas, they were incomplete. So it was necessary to knit a second sweater to verify the instructions. This bright colorway is also 100% Stash yarn and the contrasting colors make for better pictures for instructions!
Posting knitting instructions is a bit (OK, a LOT) more involved than I envisioned, so I went with a simple band-by-band then row-by-row version. Kudos to anyone who writes knitting instructions! It is not a simple process! Charted version appears at the bottom of this post.
Please scroll down for notes on how to make Popcorn Stitches.
- Circular Knitting Needles US Size 4 and 6. (19 inches or longer). Circulars are really needed as there are rows that are knit from “the other end” to maintain gauge consistency (Garter Stitches that are purled are typically looser than Garter Stitches that are knit.)
- Yarns: A variety of small amounts of DK – Light Worsted Weight Novelty yarns and Contrasting Color (CC) yarns, including somewhere near a full skein of yarn for the Main Color (MC). Some additional yarn-related suggestions:
- For the Popcorn “Bubbles”, a lighter weight solid color is recommended. Bubbles in multi-colored yarn will not stand out – and heavier weight yarn might distort the gauge.
- When knitting with Eyelash yarns, pull “eyelashes” to front of sweater – not only so they will be visible, but also because knitting them into the stitches makes the yarn too thick and will distort the gauge.
- If desired to use a heavier worsted weight yarn (some novelty yarns knit at larger gauge), knit the first row of any of two row Garter Stitch Ridges with a lighter weight yarn (I even used a fingering weight!) and knit the second row with the heavier yarn. The different gauges tend to average!
- Some novelty yarns are multi-stranded making them very heavy gauge. They can be “un-spun” or “de-stranded” by removing one or more of the strands. Not only does this allow use of otherwise too heavy yarn – it actually creates two different lighter weight novelty yarns from one! Which doubles the amount of novelty yarn!
- Other Abbreviations Used:
- YO: Yarn Over – bring yarn over needle – results in an increase of 1 stitch and an eyelet (small hole)
- Kbf: Knit back and front of next stitch – results in an increase of 1 stitch.
Collar: Using Size 6 Needle, Cast on 71 Stitches with Main Color (MC).
- Collar Row 1: Change to Size 4 Needles, Knit all stitches.
- Collar Row 2: Knit.
- Collar Row 3: K2, *P1, K1*, repeat from * to *, end with K1.
- Collar Row 4: P2, *K1, P1* repeat from * to *, end with P1.
- Collar Row 5: Repeat Row 3.
- Collar Row 6: Knit
Sweater Yoke: Change to Size 6 needles.
- Rows 1 – 4 form 2 Garter Stitch Ridges
- Row 1: Knit using Novelty Yarn.
- Row 2. Repeat Row 1. This will create first Garter Row ridge.
- Row 3. Knit using Contrasting Color (CC1) Yarn.
- Row 4: Repeat Row 3. This will create second Garter Row ridge.
- Rows 5 – 7 form Popcorn 1 Band which includes 17 Popcorn stitch “bubbles” and hide an increase of one stitch under each bubble for a total increase to 88 stitches.
- Row 5: Knit using Contrasting Color (CC) selected for Popcorn 1.
- Row 6: P3, *Popcorn 1 (see Popcorn Stitch instructions here), P3*, repeat from * to * to end of row. A Total of 17 Popcorn “bubbles” should have been created in this row.
- Row 7. Knit 3, *k next stitch below from Row 5 together, pick up and knit another stitch from back of popcorn, K3*, repeat from *to * to end of row. (See Popcorn Stitch Instructions here for more detail). There should now be 88 stitches, an increase of 17 stitches.
- Rows 8 – 11 form 2 Garter Stitch Ridges. Slide work to other end of circular needles so that right side is facing. This will allow you to knit – if you did not slide work, this would have been a purl row (and purled Garter Stitches are typically much looser than Knit Garter Stitches). Row 10 also includes increases.
- Row 8: Knit all stitches with CC1 (or other color).
- Row 9: Repeat Row 8. This completes first Garter Stitch ridge
- Row 10. With Novelty Yarn, K3, *Kbf, K3*, repeat from *to * to end of row.
- Row 11: Knit with Novelty Yarn. This completes a Novelty Yarn Garter Stitch Ridge.
- Rows 12 – 15 form the Windows band. Using a Novelty Yarn with eyelashes for the Purl stitches in Rows 13 and 14 will highlight the stitches.
- Row 12: Knit with MC.
- Row 13: P2 using MC, *P1 using Novelty Yarn, P2 using MC*, repeat from * to * to end of row.
- Row 14: K2 using MC, *P1 using Novelty Yarn, K2 using MC*, repeat from * to * to end of row.
- Row 15: Purl using MC.
- Rows 16 – 18 form a 3 row eyelet that will result in an increase to 137 stitches. Slide work to other end of circular needle to begin with a purl row (wrong side facing you)
- Row 16: Purl using a CC.
- Row 17: K3, YO, *K4, YO*, repeat from * to *, end K3.
- Row 18: Purl.
Rows 19 – 22 form 2 Garter Stitch ridges. Row 21 includes increases to 172 stitches.
- Row 19: Knit with MC.
- Row 20: Repeat Row 19
- Row 21: With Novelty Yarn K5, Kbf, *K4, Kbf*, repeat from * to *, end K4. There should be a total of 172 stitches after completing this row.
- Row 22: Knit with Novelty Yarn.
- Rows 23 – 25 form the second Popcorn Band. There are no increases in this band.
- Row 23: Knit.
- Row 24. P3, *Popcorn 1 (see Popcorn Stitch instructions here), P3*, repeat from * to * to end of row. A Total of 41 Popcorn “bubbles” will be created in this row.
- Row 25. K3, Knit 3, *k next stitch below from Row 23 together, k3*, repeat from *to * to end of row.
- Rows 26 – 29 create two more Garter Stitch Ridges.
- Row 26: Knit with MC.
- Row 27: Repeat Row 26.
- Row 28: Knit with Novelty Yarn.
- Row 29: Repeat Row 28.
- Rows 30 – 32 are a simple 3-row band of Stockinette Stitch knit with a CC.
- Row 30: Knit
- Row 31: Purl
- Row 32: Knit.
- Rows 33 – 38 form 3 Garter Stitch ridges. Row 35 includes increases to 192 stitches.
- Row 33: Slide work to other end of circular needle, so right side is facing you. Knit all stitches with MC
- Row 34. Knit with MC.
- Row 35: With CC, K7, *Kbf, K7*, repeat from * to * to end. There should now be 192 stitches.
- Row 36: Knit with same yarn as Row 35.
- Row 37: Knit with new Novelty Yarn.
- Row 38: Knit with same yarn and 37.
- Rows 39 – 41 is the third Popcorn Band. Increases are hidden under every other Popcorn bubble in Row 41.
- Row 39: Knit with yarn chosen for Popcorn 3 band.
- Row 40: P3, *Popcorn 1 (see Popcorn Stitch instructions here), P3*, repeat from * to * to end of row. A Total of 48 Popcorn “bubbles” will be created in this row.
- Row 41: Knit 3, *k next stitch below from Row 5 together, K3, k next stitch below from Row 5 together, pick up and knit another stitch from back of popcorn, k3*. Repeat from * to * to end of row. (See Popcorn Stitch Instructions here for more detail). There should now be 217 stitches.
- Rows 42 – 47form 3 Garter Stitch ridges, the final design detail in the Yoke.
- Row 42: Slide work to other end of circular needle, so right side is facing you. Knit all stitches with MC
- Row 43. Knit with MC.
- Row 44: With CC, K7, *Kbf, K7*, repeat from * to * to end. There should now be 192 stitches.
- Row 45: Knit with same yarn as Row 35.
- Row 46: Knit with a different CC.
- Row 47: Knit with same yarn and 37.
- Yoke is Complete!
Body of Sweater:
- Rows 48 – 55 start the lower portion of the sweater. Knit them in Stockinette Stitch (Knit right side rows, purl wrong side rows) with MC. End with purl row.
- Instructions Continued here
To create a Popcorn “Bubble”, a single stitch is knit into 5 stitches, then those 5 stitches are purled (garment must be turned around) and then those 5 stitches are knit (again turning the garment around is required) and then the 5 stitches are reduced back down to a single stitch by looping 4 of the stitches over the first. So, one stitch to start, five stitches to “pop”, then back to one stitch to end!
In knitting vernacular:
- In next stitch (ALL in the next stitch): K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 (there are now 5 loops on the right needle). See Photo 1 below.
- Turn the sweater (the “work”) around, so now 5 loops are on the left needle. P those 5 loops. See Photo 2 below.
- Turn work around and Knit those 5 stitches. See Photo 3 below.
- Using left needle lift and pass second stitch over first stitch. Then lift and pass next stitch (would have been 3rd stitch) over first stitch. Then lift and pass next stitch (would have been 4th stitch) over first stitch. Then lift and pass last stitch over first stitch. First stitch remains on right needle. (Photos 4 – 6 below) Popcorn complete!
Photo 1 shows the five loops formed by the K1, YO, K1, YO, K1. As this is knit during a purl row, the wrong side is facing you.
To continue making the popcorn, the sweater (“work” in the knitting vernacular) must be turned around so that now the right side is facing you – and the five loops are now on the left needle.
See Photo 2. With right side facing, purl those 5 stitches.
Turn the sweater around again so that those 5 stitches are once again on the left needle – and the wrong side is once again facing you.
Now knit those same 5 stitches.
Now the turning is done, but it is time to psso (pass stitch over).
Starting from the left, count stitches as 1-2-3-4-5.
Lift Stitch 2 and pass it over Stitch 1.
Then pass Stitch 3 over Stitch 1.
Then pass Stitch 4 over Stitch 1.
Then pass Stitch 5 over Stitch 1…
One Popcorn Stitch completed! (100+ more to go!)
Closing the holes in Popcorn Stitch:
Knitting 5 stitches in one stitch stretches the stitch and creates a hole – which the bubble can sometimes recede into. Closing it creates a smoother stockinette stitch background that really highlights the bubbles.
The loop circled in Photo 7 is the back of a knit stitch from the first row of the Popcorn Bands.
The Popcorn Bubble is knit in Row 2.
In Row 3, pick up the circled loop and knit it with the “popcorn stitch”. This will close the hole.
Photo 8 shows the stitch being lifted onto the needle ready to be knit together with popcorn stitch. As this is a knit row, the yarn is on the right needle – the photo was taken on the back side of work to show stitches.
When completed, the loop from Row 1 and the Popcorn Stitch will be knit together as shown in Photo 9.
The green arrow in Photo 9 identifies a loop on the back of the Popcorn Bubble. If instructions indicate an increase is to be knit into bubble, lift that loop and knit it. This will create a hidden increase of one stitch.
Just a note: Hidden increases occur in all bubbles in Popcorn Band 1, not at all in Popcorn Band 2, and in every other bubble in Popcorn Band 3.
Ramblings about increase rows and stitch counts:
When increases occur in the yoke of this sweater, it is best to consider the stitch counts an “guidance value” sort of like a speed limit. If you are shy a few stitches, just increase the missing stitches somewhere in the next two rows!
Nothing is more frustrating that to have to rip out 17 Popcorn bubbles because the instructions said it was supposed to be 88 stitches and you only count 86! Or ripping out 214 stitches because the stitch count should be 217!!!!
DON’T DO IT!
Somewhere in all that stitch counting, ripping out and reknitting, and then recounting – the fun of knitting this sweater will be lost!
Just increase the missing stitches somewhere in the next few rows!
This sweater should be fun to knit – fun yarn – quick gauge – enjoy it! Don’t let a stitch or two miscount get in the way of your enjoyment.