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how to knit Estonian lace nupp stitch

Have you ever heard of a knitting technique called “nupp”?


Well, if you haven’t then it is something that reminds a bobble. Literally the word “nupp” means a button or a knob. But it really is not. It is more like.. . Do you know how Lilac bud looks like? Or a tick? No, tick is nasty, let’s stick to the Lilac bud.

We, as Estonians, use “nupp” technique a lot in lace knitting. If you have heard about Haapsalu shawls then you’ll know what I mean. And I am quite fond of it. I think it will give you the light and airy texture that knitted lace yearns for.


So, why do I think you need to learn this? Because my next pattern is full of “nupps”. And it is handy technique – nice for showing off (in case you want to) in front of your knitting friends 🙂

Anyways – on to the tutorial. Update: In step 7 … I am asking you to knit stitches together and I have received a question about that: “Is it wrong to knit those stitches together on next row instead of the same row?”. Get your answer now.

1. Ready to make the “nupp”

how to knit a nupp (2)

2. Knit one, but don’t let the stitch off of left needle

how to knit a nupp (3)

3. Yarn over

how to knit a nupp (4)

4. Knit again (in the same stitch)

how to knit a nupp (5)

5. Repeat steps #3 & #4 two more times (now you have 7 stitches on right hand needle)

how to knit a nupp (6)

*steps #2 to #5 – quite loosely*


6. Now let the stitch on left needle go

how to knit a nupp (7)

Here comes the tricky part:

7. Insert left hand needle in all of those 7 stitches (be careful so you don’t grab the other stitches on this needle)

how to knit a nupp (8)

8. With right hand needle grab the yarn…

how to knit a nupp (9)

9. …and pull through (you can use crochet hook if you can’t make it with the needle)

how to knit a nupp (10)

10. With right hand needle, take yarn again…

how to knit a nupp (11)

11. …and pull through the stitch you formed in step #9

how to knit a nupp (12)

12. Take the left hand needle out and tighten the stitch.

how to knit a nupp (13)

Congratulations! You have finished your “nupp”!

BUT, I’m giving you a secret formula for perfecting it some more.

Usually, there will be one row between “nupp” rows – purl row, if you knit back and forth or knit row, if you knit in rounds.

Right now I am showing you the purl row option (purely because my swatch is knitted in back and forth).
You can totally just purl your next row without doing anything special and it will be fine, but I, personally, don’t like the hole it leaves.

how to knit a nupp (14)

Can you see?

So this is how I do it:

1. Purl until the “nupp” stitch

how to knit a nupp (15)

2. Lift “nupp” on to the right hand needle

how to knit a nupp (16)

3. Pick up a strand between stitches…

how to knit a nupp (17)

4. …and put it on a left hand needle so it forms a little twist

how to knit a nupp (18)

5. Lift “nupp” stitch back to the left hand needle…

how to knit a nupp (19)

6. …and purl the twisted yarn stitch and “nupp” stitch together.

how to knit a nupp (21)

Here you go! Done! I knew you can make it 🙂

how to knit a nupp (1)

Although this is not necessary, I feel like this extra step is fixing my “nupp” more and making it kind of firm and steady.

I leave you practicing and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, leave a comment and I will do my best to help you.

Until next time…

Happy knitting!

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10 thoughts on “How to knit Estonian nupp stitch

  • 23. April 2015 at 17:46

    Thank you. Very nicely done tutorial and I am looking forward to trying a “nupp” or two. The Mother’s Day shawl is gorgeous.

    • 23. April 2015 at 17:50

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • 18. May 2015 at 22:20

    Hi, these tips are great! But in step 4, did you mean to write: put it on RIGHT hand needle so it forms a little twist? Because in the next step you say to out it back on to the left hand needle… Thanks for your help!

    • 19. May 2015 at 07:59

      I’m sorry Raija, I don’t know if I understood your question. I’ll try to answer and you tell me if you didn’t mean that, ok? – In steps #3 and #4 you’ll be knitting 7 stitches into one stitch. While You’re doing that you don’t take left hand needle out. Just knit, yarn over, knit, yarn over, knit… until you have 7 stitches and then you let go that stitch from left hand needle. Now you insert left needle in those 7 stitches you just formed, grab yarn with the right needle and pull through (without removing your left hand needle). Head on to step #10. Was it helpful? I don’t know if this was what you meant so let me know…

  • 16. April 2016 at 00:53

    Hi, having tried nupps before and always ending up with that ugly hole I am more than thrilled with your tip to tighten it up. Thank you very much.

    • 16. April 2016 at 07:58

      I’m glad it helped 🙂

  • 8. December 2016 at 15:01

    Wonderfully clear – i was afraid of knitting nupps then i folliwed your insteuctions and now my shawl has nupps as per pattern. Thank you – susi

    • 9. December 2016 at 17:04

      Thank you Susi 🙂 I planned to add on to it a bit, because my grandmother taught me many ways. But most important lesson was: “There is no wrong way in knitting. Ever” 🙂

    • 17. February 2017 at 23:08

      no, I don’t mind 🙂


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