I counted the nupps. Gulp!

Pattern: Crown Prince Square Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush (my review/preview here).

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace, 50% silk, 50% wool, Cranberry colorway (45ns), purchased from the always-fabulous Birds ‘n Yarn. I used just a bit more than one skein, about 1400 yards.

Needles: KnitPicks fixed length metal circular needles, 3.0 mm (US 2.5), plus Krazy Glue to keep them together.

Finished size: About 41″ square.

So, I made the tactical error of counting the number of nupps (and, therefore, the number of p7tog) that I made while knitting this shawl. This was a mistake because prior to knowing the number, I thought I had knit a pretty, large shawl, no biggie. After tallying up the numbers, however, the moment of WOW really sank in.

2260 nupps

Yeah. I can’t quite believe I knit all of that, either.

And then I started to panic, ever so slightly. Should I send the shawl through the regular mail? Also, thank God this is destined for grandma (as her 80th birthday’s present, no less) – she is the only person who can cherish this shawl properly. In fact, I don’t think anyone else should ever be allowed to touch it again, myself included.

The pattern is massive, but I can’t say it’s overly complicated, even considering the separately-knit borders. Stitches flowed easily, and there was enough repetition that I was able to knit parts of the shawl while watching TV. I think the nupps ate up a lot of yardage, which is why 1400 yards were required for a shawl which is only 41″ square.

Speaking of the size… I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t block the shawl a bit bigger. Mind you, it had enough stretchiness in the center stitches to go at least another 3″, I’m guessing. But the outermost edge was too tight and prevented it from getting any larger. Also, I wish the points blocked out a bit more pronounced and not so soft, which again was limited by the tightness of the edge.

Solution and some advice for those who might be knitting this shawl: when casting on the lace edge, use a needle several times larger than the needle you’re using for the main portion. (Yup, it’s the cast-on of the lace edge which ends up being the outermost point of the shawl.)

With respect to this, Nancy Bush writes:

The Haapsalu knitters may choose to use a needle one to two sizes larger than was used for the center for [the lace edge] cast on and a needle one size smaller than the cast-on needle for knitting the lace. However, I unusually knit my shawls using the same needle for the center and lace edgings.

Le sigh. I assumed my knitting would be similar to Nancy’s, and went with her suggestion here. I should have used the Haapsalu’s advice instead ;). Point taken for the next round. You didn’t think this would be my last shawl from this book, did you?!?

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159 thoughts on “I counted the nupps. Gulp!

  1. cleo

    did you count them one by one or do some calculations? that’s amazing! i often ponder about how many stitches i am making to complete my work (including tinked ones!) and i blows my mind. i can’t wait to try some nupps myself, but i am not quite at the level to attempt one of the patterns from this book. sooooon soon…

  2. Diane

    Kathy – it’s absolutely gorgeous!

    I also think you’re spot-on as to what ate up all the yarn. Those nupps are knitting black holes when it comes to yardage. Also, as Nancy states, shawls fetched higher prices when they used more yarn, and nupps were just the ticket! They also couldn’t be reproduced by machine.

    Anyway, congratulations – and you’re Grandma is a very lucky lady.

  3. dana

    don’t, i implore you, trust this to the mail. i lost a scarf this way, and it was devastating. can’t even imagine how you would feel losing your 2000+ nupps.

  4. Gillian

    Wow, it’s amazing to see. And the nupps define the lines of the pattern so well. They’re perfect.

  5. Karen

    This shawl couldn’t be more beautiful. You absolutely took my breath away saying the nupps were made by P7tog. Can that even be done? Well, I guess it can–and 2260 times at that! I know your grandma will so appreciate this loving gift.

  6. Yarndude

    Wow, it’s so beautiful! Congrats on such an amazing piece of knitting. I’m sure your grandmother will cherish it and it will definitely become an heirloom.

  7. Kathy

    Your Grandmother is going to flip! It is divinely gorgeous and a labor of love and granddaughterly devotion. Trust me, I’m a grandma and I know about these things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Sarah

    WoW! The shawl is gorgeous. Now, I just need to forget that nupp-number so that I can begin to think about knitting Crown Prince.

  9. Becky

    Gorgeous! The color shows off the stitches well which is surprising since that can be problematic with dark colors. I love it!

  10. Victoria

    I actually did a comedy gasp when I read the number of nupps! Please send it via some sort of registered post!! It is absolutely gorgeous and I am looking forward to seeing your grandmother with it.

  11. GinkgoKnits

    Truly wonderful knitting.

    I wish I hadn’t read how many nupps there are as I had had ambitions to knit this shawl. While it makes your accomplishment even more fantastic, I’ll be using it as an excuse to practice my nupp-knitting on something else first.

  12. GinkgoKnits

    PS: Did the color bleed out much?

    It certainly looks like the LL is a winner in that dept. but I’d be curious to know as I have had significant fade out with red yarn and I remember you had this problem with some Schaefer yarn.

  13. รœhltje

    I can only dream about a result like yours.

    My yarn is due any day now and I cannot thank you enough for the warning about using bigger needles for the edgings cast-on.

  14. Mandy

    Gosh it’s really gorgeous. I assume the thousands of nupps give it have a bit more weight that a similarly sized shawl without nupps? I bet that’s nice. But since no one is allowed to touch it, I’ll never know! Hehe.

  15. Amy

    That is incredible and beautiful and I doubt I will *ever* be willing to knit that many nupps. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Meredith

    Wow! So very pretty! Seeing yours in all its finished glory is really motivating me to finish my pile of deadline knitting so I can go start one of my own.

  17. Linda

    It’s absolutely stunning. Literally. I can’t stop staring at it. It takes my breath away. And the color!! It’s ideal. I almost want to cry.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. Jennifer

    You’ve knit a masterpiece – Can’t imagine even attempting something with all those nupps myself! But the results are definitely beautiful.

  19. Cara

    Absolutely stunning! Thank you! I’ve been wanting to knit lace again for so long, but life doesn’t let me these days. Thank you for letting me live vicariously!

  20. Marla

    Kathy: I’m stunned and breathless all at once. Absolutely beautiful and love the color of the yarn. Your nupps look perfect, but then I guess after so many, you are an expert nupp knitter – say that 5 times fast. Can’t wait to see what you knit next from Nancy’s book.

  21. Kathode Ray Tube

    Wow, what a lovely, lovely shawl! That’s a special gift for your grandmother.

  22. GeekKnitter

    Yikes, that’s a lot of nupps. My husband asked me how many stitches were in a recently-completed stole. I told him I didn’t want to know!

  23. Heidi

    Stunningly beautiful. Can’t wait to hear your grandmother’s reaction. You are a much braver woman than I to even count your nupps.

  24. Marie

    I couldn’t resist doing the math: 2260 nupps times p7tog/nupp means you “nupped” (is that even a word? well, it is now) 15,820 purl stitches to make all those nupps!!!

    Wow. Just, wow!

    And please, if at all possible, hand deliver it to your Grandma. If not, send with tracking, insurance, return reciept, certified, and all the other bells and whistles the post office offers. This is a one-of-a-kind creation!

  25. Seanna Lea

    Wow. That is like Nupp Island! The shawl came out so beautifully. Your grandmother will cherish it.

    What are you going to make with what’s left of the second skein?

  26. Cheeri

    W-O-W!! You can do anything! I love that you shower your grandmother with handknits. I can’t think of a better recipient. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Kim

    Achingly gorgeous….I can’t believe you’re giving it away. (Although I can also see not allowing yourself to touch it either.) It should be hanging in a museum. Behind glass.

  28. Shannon

    I can understand you being nervouse about mailing it. It’s beautiful, really, like a museum piece.


  29. van

    Very beautiful and impressive as usual!

    I have a question for you and would appreciate your advise. With this shawl, is it possible to pickup stitches and knit on the border instead of sewing it on? I love the shawl, but don’t think I want to sew that many stitches.

  30. Jen

    It’s incredible!

    Your grandma is so lucky! (And you’re lucky to have a grandma you find so deserving!)

  31. Trista

    Amazing shawl, in every way! I so appreciate your notes about the cast on and needle size. I will definitely knit something from this book. In fact I think I am starting one very soon- the leaf triangle.

    Please share your Grandmother’s comments after she receives this gift, with us!

    And Wow! Over 2000 nupps!!!

  32. Ruthanne in Seattle

    breathtaking! I have looked at each picture at it is totally inspiring as well. I love the nupps and the effect. Marvelous knitting, grandma will be overjoyed and proud.

  33. mary lou

    There are no words to describe this shawl! You are amazing and the shawl is even more so. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Blogless Mary Lou

  34. Laura

    Oh my god. That is astonishingly beautiful! Truly, truly inspiring. You are the kind of knitter that I want to be when I grow up.

  35. Nina

    Your shawl is amazing and the photography is stunning! What a fitting gift for your grandma’s 80th birthday.

  36. Allison

    With hand-delivery, you know it got there, plus you’ll get to see your grandmother’s reaction in person (the importance and satisifaction of which should NOT be underestimated!). Reading about this project and seeing the beautiful outcome of your efforts, all done with such love, makes me miss MY grandmothers so much!

  37. hifidi

    Truly gorgeous Kathy! That’s some major nuppage going on. On the mailing to Grandma thing, I would highly recommend FedEx Home Delivery. It takes two days, is close to the same cost as USPS, but you get a tracking number and a delivery comfirmation by email (if requested).


    (You sure have come a long way from your days posting questions at the About Knitting forum, lol.)

  38. Samina

    That’s gorgeous! I say that much work & beauty demands hand delivery. I vote for a courier service to deliver it – hey, it’s only money (& not mine!).

  39. Lauren

    Wow. That is incredible. I’ve been hankering to get some new lace on the needles, and I may need to invest in that book.

  40. Sheila

    Stunning!! Would love to see the look on your Grandmas’ face when she sees it – and tries it on!

  41. marilyn

    your crown prince square shawl is absolutely gorgeous! all your work is beautiful, but there’s something about this one that is extra special. Perhaps it’s the zillions of nupps!

    Grandma will LOVE IT!

  42. Miss Knotty

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing the experience of knitting this with us all, thank you for being an absolutely amazing (and dogged! 2200 Nupps!) knitter, and thank you for being an all around rockstar.

    Gorgeous work, I know your grandmother will cherish it forever, and it will surely be an heirloom for generations.

  43. Amber

    It’s so pretty! I love the yarn colour, just perfect. It’s pretty inspirational, but I don’t think I have the stamina for that kind of lace project ๐Ÿ™

  44. Mary Lynn

    WOW! It super fabulous. Thanks so much for the hints and helpful advice.

    I think you should hand deliver the shawl. It would seem only fair to be there to see your Gram’s face. It is a work of art.

  45. Jenny

    I think hand-delivering would be the best bet for something this beautiful…only cause I’ve had some recent mail theft issues. Seeing all of your lace knitting has really inspired me…your blog is one of the first places I go to get ideas for heirloom projects and I’ve bought more than one book after reading your reviews…and this shawl…stunning! So freakin’ gorgeous…great work!

  46. martha

    Absolutely gorgeous! I think you should hand deliver it. It’ll be pretty special to see your grandmother’s face when she opens the gift.

  47. Linken

    It is stunning! Now I am thinking I should revisit that book….Hmm….but nupps…and that many. *grin* Maybe not. Priority mail it as a surprise package to Grandma, with a few chocolates from Trader Joes! (I did a shawl from Victorian Lace Today for my gramma’s 80th – I’d never done a knitted on border…it was 4 weeks late…but the chocolates made it all better!)

  48. Alison C

    So beautiful! My great-aunt, who is 94, just sent an afghan that she knit for me, along with a note saying “every stitch is a hug.” I’m sure that goes x7 for nupps!

  49. knit happens

    So beautiful! One of these days I’ll make this shawl . . . one of these days . . .

  50. Ann

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.

    Your shawl is AMAZING! Gorgeous, gorgeous work. Congratulations.

  51. Marion

    Can’t wait to see pictures of your grandma wearing the shawl. It is absolutely stunning!

  52. Christina

    Wow – this shawl is a testament to your sanity. Or possibly your insanity. Nupps drive me nuts. All that aside, the shawl turned out to be gorgeous! I’m sure Grandma will adore it.

  53. Marlene Steger

    I read a lot of knitting blogs and generally don’t comment. I must make an exception for this entry. Holy crap. Stunning! (I live in Acton, MA, spitting distance from you.)

    I’m in the final stages of knitting a (wicked big) lace chuppah for my daughter’s August 2 wedding, so I “get” what it takes to create a lace masterpiece. You have done it several times over; I am still aspiring.

  54. Marlene Steger

    I read a lot of knitting blogs and generally don’t comment. I must make an exception for this entry. Holy crap. Stunning! (I live in Acton, MA, spitting distance from you.)

    I’m in the final stages of knitting a (wicked big) lace chuppah for my daughter’s August 2 wedding, so I “get” what it takes to create a lace masterpiece. You have done it several times over; I am still aspiring.

  55. Debbie

    Absolutely stunning! I would never mail this. How many hours do you have in the project, do you think? Just beautiful.

  56. LisaT

    Absolutely exquisite! And I’m so admiring your ability to purl 7 together. My attempts at 5 stitch nupps was a real struggle. But 7…oh, my!

  57. April

    I really love the photo that shows the shadow of the lace in the background. Everything about the shawl is just fabulous!

  58. Shell

    Looks good, I love making nupps much more than bobbles. I was lucky to meet Nancy Bush in person and she’s very nice.

  59. Wendy

    You’ve given me the courage to start mine. I have the yarn called for in the book in the white and I was a bit afraid, but yours looks so beautiful.

  60. Kelley (smallwhitedog)


    It is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  61. Kelli

    yup. that does it … I will be starting this shawl some time soon. I have been contemplating it, but now that I have seen yours, I now HAVE to do it! That is SOO gorgeous! Wonderful job, Grumpy!

  62. Lisa

    Simply beautiful! I have this book but haven’t knit anything from it. Your work on this shawl has inspired me to get cracking! Again, so beautiful!

  63. Melanie

    Hubs’ response when he saw the pics and the number of nupps: “I’d be grumpy.” My response: “She’s insane!”

    Congratulations! STUNNING shawl!!

  64. Kathy

    Grandma will love it! You would have lost me at 2 on the nupps count, btw. Swallowtail spelt the decline of my nupp experience!

  65. earthchick

    Wow, wow, WOW. I was on vacation when you posted this and I am just now catching up. FANTASTIC. I mean, I didn’t expect anything less, but still. Completely gorgeous. Brava!

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