A step by step tutorial on knitting the two-colored bobble stitches the right way and how to weave in the tails
So, you learned how to knit the bobble stitch and now you are wondering how you can add a second color? Maybe you even want multiple colors? No problem! You came to the right place because this tutorial (+video) is all about the bobble stitch with two colors.
I’ll not only show you how you need to adapt the basic technique to get a neat finish, but I’ll also show you how to weave in the ends, so the backside looks just as clean as the front.
A good understanding of the Fair Isle technique to knit bobbles in multiple colors will help but the video accompanying this post will show you everything you need to know step by step anyway.
Because here’s the problem: Typical bobble stitches have simple rows of stockinette stitch or garter stitch (here’s how to knit garter stitch bobbles) and then pattern rows where you actually produce the elevated structures. And if you just knit across using two colors the normal way, your bobbles will not look very clean and neat.
The bobbles will catch the yarn from the previous row and that will be quite visible and not at all what you imagined. And then of course there’s the problem when knitting it flat – the tail of the contrasting color will be in the wrong place (at the end of a row instead of the beginning) as you start the next pattern row.
So, let’s show you how to solve all these problems, eh?
- Knit one stitch into the stitch one row below.
Start by weaving in a new color any way you like, cross it with your background color, and then knit one stitch into the stitch one row below the current row.
- Slip the stitch back to the left needle.
Slip the stitch you just created back to the left needle. Maybe pull on the tail to tighten it up a bit in case this first stitch got loose.
- Knit a kfbf - knit front back front.
Knit one stitch, keep the stitch on the needle, knit into the back loop, and then one more time into the front loop. This will increase your stitch count by 2 stitches and you should end up with 3 new stitches on the right needle. Here's a kfb tutorial.
- Turn around and purl
Turn the work around and then purl across those 3 stitches. Make sure to keep a nice tension.
- Turn around and knit.
Turn the work around again and then knit across.
- Turn around and purl.
Turn around one more time and purl across a second time.
- Turn and K3tog centered.
Turn around and decrease back to one stitch with a centered double increase. So, slip 2 stitches knitwise, knit one, and then pass the two slipped stitches over the one you just knit.
- Pick up the background-color and continue to knit.
Now, pick up your background-color, cross it with the yarn you used for the bobble stitch, and continue knitting until the next bobble. Remember to stretch out those stitches on the right needle so your fabric does not end up too tight. If you have to bridge more than 4 stitches, I recommend creating floats.
For the next bobble, start with step 1.
If you are knitting the bobble stitch with two colors in the round, you will have no problem with managing the second color, as your tail will always be in the right position and you can simply carry it around those 3 or 4 rounds. When you are knitting flat, however, you got two options:
- You cut the contrasting yarn after each row and join in anew every pattern row. This makes sense if you have a lot of bubbles in one row but not a lot in the consecutive rows or you plan to use multiple colors.
- You make use of the intarsia knitting technique and use one extra bobbin for each bobble. This will make sense if you only have a few bobbles per row (like 6 or 8) but you want to repeat these bobbles in the same position across a lot of rows (like 20 or so). That way you save quite a couple of tails to weave in but you obviously need to manage those bobbins.
When you are knitting with two colors, I don't recommend doing the initial increase with [knit, yarn over, knit] into the same stitch. It may be easier but it does look a bit wonky.
Reading tip: Learn how to knit backwards to avoid turning the work around for each bobble!
How to hide the tails when knitting bobbles in multiple colors
Now, the problem with the two-colored bobble stitch is obviously all those tails you end up with. Where do you hide them so the backside looks neat as well? Mind you, this is not a reversible pattern but you still don’t want it to look like a hot mess, right?
It’s actually remarkably easy! Simple pick up your tapestry needle and then thread a tail on it. And then, do something you normally shouldn’t do in knitting: Tie a knot. To be more precise, pull the yarn through one or two stitches of the bobble from behind and then tie a knot. Go in again, do another knot.
And then, pull the yarn THROUGH the bobble to the front. Try to spear through the stitches as you go. And then simply cut the tail. Tada, your tail is both secure and it’s utterly invisible from either side.
You know, normally even the best weaving-in-method will be visible from the backside. But with bobbles, you have a little pocket where you can hide everything. It’s just marvelous, isn’t it?
Of course, if you knit with multiple colors or across multiple rows, you may end up with quite a lot of tails. And that’s nothing you can avoid, really. But I feel, it’s worth it and with my little trick it’s not even all that tedious.