How to knit the garter bobble knitting pattern

A step by step tutorial on the 5-stitch garter bobbles and how to adjust them to your requirements.

The classic bobble stitch is a great way to add structure to your project. But did you know that you can also knit garter bobbles? Well, you can easily adjust the classic technique for different knitting stitch patterns and this tutorial is all about that.

A swatch with the garter stitch bobble stitch knitting pattern and various tools in the background

I’ll show you an easy 5-stitch garter bobble step by step and there’s also a video included. I’ll also provide you with some important tips and tricks to master this stitch and everything else you need to know.

There’s, however, one thing you need to know: This is probably a bit more advanced knitting stitch pattern and it’s also not exactly fast to knit. Still, you can use them to achieve stellar results and there’s no need to knit the bobbles in such a dense way as in the swatch in the picture above.

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5-stitch garter bobble instruction

A swatch with the garter stitch bobble stitch knitting pattern and various tools in the background

Since garter stitch acts a bit different than plain stockinette stitch, you need to adjust the repeat a tiny bit to make up for the different gauge and look. You will increase 1 stitch into 5, knit across one row and then decrease.

Instructions

  1. Step: Increase to 5 stitches

    increasing by 5 stitches into one stitch
    The easiest way to do that is knitting one stitch, don't drop the stitch, do a yarnover, knit into the same stitch again, do another yarnover, and knit into the stitch one more time.
  2. Step: Turn the work around and knit across the 5 stitches

    having knitted across the increase after turning the work

    Pay attention that you don't accidentally knit more than those 5 stitches (or less).
  3. Step: k2tog

    knitting two stitches together to start the decrease

    Turn the work around and knit the first two stitches together. You have to decrease those 5 stitches into one and this is the start of this decrease.
  4. Step: Slip the stitch back to the left needle

    passing over stitch to left needle

    Slip the resulting stitch after the k2tog back to the left needle as if to purl (so without twisting it).
  5. Step: Pass the next three stitches over

    passing over the three stitches to the left to finish the bobble stitch

    Pass the three last stitches over the one you just slipped one at a time (a bit like a bind off) to finish your bobble. And then you can continue knitting as normal.

Notes

If you want bigger garter bobbles, you can easily add two more rows of knit stitches before you start with the decrease. Don't go any bigger than altogether 3 rows because you will create visible gaps on the edges otherwise.

Instead of increasing with k, yo, k, yo, k, you can also increase with a version of a kfb. By alternating between knitting in the front and back loop of the same stitch altogether 5 times. This will be much harder to knit and doesn't yield superior results in this case.

If you want to replicate the knitting stitch pattern you see in the pictures above, cast on multiples of 4 (+2 selvage stitches).

  • Row 1: Knit across
  • Row 2: k1, *Make bubble, k3*, k1
  • Row 3: Knit across
  • Row 4: K3, *MB, k3*, k3
  • Repeat rows 1-4 until you reached the desired length


Important: The garter stitch bobbles are not a reversible pattern. The backside looks rather plain, so you definitely need to take this into account when planning your project.

Personally speaking, I really love the look and feel of these garter bobbles – especially when they are so big. Of course, you can also just knit them with three stitches. In this case, you would simply have to increase to 3 stitches (instead of 5), knit across 3 (!) rows in garter stitch, and then finish with a k3tog.

close-up of a swatch in the garter stitch bobbles knitting pattern

The important part is: You can use the basic technique and then use your own creativity to change it any way you like. Maybe even knit the bobbles with two colors. At the end of the day, a bobble is nothing but a little piece of extra fabric you re-attach straight away.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel this stitch looks a bit like sheep. I could well imagine to use it for a nice coaster. Maybe add a little head in black yarn? Or a washcloth! The rich structure should be perfect for a little scrubbing here and there, don’t you think?

Anyway, that’s how to knit a garter stitch bobble. Feel free to comment below in case you got any questions.

how to knit a garter bobble knitting pattern

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