It's a cold, rainy Sunday night in San Diego. I just got back from Mexican food at El Patron. Pretty good.
I got some questions from someone knitting my Shannon's bridal shawl. Since the answers to one person's questions usually benefit the next person as well, I thought I would post my reply to her here.
I would use 25 stitches for a swatch, as the repeat is 12 stitches plus one. That way you could see how 2 branches of nupps fit side by side. The shawl also has a garter edge, but I do not think you need that on the swatch.
If you are new to nupps, just do the pattern as written. It is enough to start with that. Do not try to make the branches wave back and forth just yet. Each right side row features a K2tog at both edges of the pattern repeat for a decrease of 2, and also 2 YO at each side of the nupp for a corresponding increase of 2, so it balances out... +2-2=0 That means that there should always be 12 stitches between the markers on the even (mostly purl except the edging) rows. I was counting them as I purled them, so that I could catch any mistakes when there was still time to fix them without ripping.
Each right side row, the pattern repeat increases the number of stitches by 1 before you make the (yo, nupp, yo) and decreases the number by 1 after the nupp. This is what makes the branches curve (wave). So, yes, on the first row of pattern (the 9th after 8 rows of garter stitch) it is one knit stitch before and 5 knit stitches after the (yo, nupp, yo).
You will knit 4 for the garter edge. Then place a marker to show where the edging ends and the main body starts. Then K2tog. The central pattern section always begins and ends the right side rows with a K2tog. This is what creates the half-moon shape of the shawl. Every right side row the shawl is 2 stitches narrower than the last right side row. After the edging and the k2tog you will begin making the pattern, placing markers as it tells you to. I recommend putting a loop of brightly contrast-colored yarn on the 2 edging markers so you can tell them from the "between the repeats" markers. At the end of the row you will have the last k2tog and the 4 edge stitches. As the stitches gradually decrease, you will find that at the edges you do not have enough stitches for a whole pattern repeat. These partial repeats are worked in stockinette stitch (knit 'em on the right side and purl 'em on the wrong side). As the edge decreases continue the partial repeats will gradually disappear, only to make a new partial repeat when the next repeat begins to disappear. Extra markers can be removed as they are no longer needed. Toward the end of the shawl there will only be a few stitches left and it will go very fast indeed.
Be sure to make the nupps very loose so that you will be able to get your needle under all 5 loops on the purl row. If the nupps are too tight, use a very small crochet hook to pull the stitch through all 5 loops and then put the stitch on the right hand needle as if you just knit it.
When you wet block your swatch, you will see how it pulls out to make lovely lace. I always find this to be magic, no matter how many times I do it. Just wait until you block the shawl!!! The transformation will positively amaze you!
Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions. I'm so glad you are working my shawl, it's beautiful!
Lilo is hating the rain tonight. She says a grumpy "hello" with her ears laid right back. "Rain, rain, go away...Pretty Lilo wants to play...outside..."