Crochet: Bobbles vs. Popcorns vs. Clusters

Photo on 2011 12 31 at 18.39
My Crochet Bobble Purse

The first time that I tried to describe what I had made when I made a bobble stitch scarf, I wasn’t entirely sure what the stitch was called. One place seemed to call it a bobble and another called it a popcorn and another called it a cluster and I was really confused. Later I was flipping through a stitch dictionary and easily figured out the difference between these three similar stitches.

Crochet Bobbles

Crochet bobbles are one of my favorite things right now. Here’s how you make them:

  • Create a row of a simple stitch, like a single crochet stitch. Turn the work so you can start your first set of bobbles.
  • Yarn over.
  • Insert your hook into the stitch.
  • Yarn over again and draw up a loop.
  • Yarn over again and draw it through the first two loops.
  • Repeat those last four steps three more times. Each time that you do, there will be one more loop left on the hook than the time before. When you’ve repeated it the three times you’ll be left with five loops on the hook.
  • Yarn over and then draw through all of the loops. That’s one bobble stitch. You can then proceed to make additional bobble stitches.

In most patterns, you’ll do one or two single crochets in between each bobble stitch so that each one is distinguishes from the next. You will also do a row of a basic stitch in between each row of bobble stitches so that the bobbles only pop out on the right side of the work and not also on the wrong side but of course all of this depends on what you’re crocheting.

Crochet Popcorns

crochet popcorn texture

A crochet bobble and a crochet popcorn look a little bit the same but they are made differently. Here’s how to make a crochet popcorn:

  • Create a row of a simple stitch, like a single crochet stitch. Turn the work so you can start your first set of popcorns.
  • Double crochet in the first stitch where you want a popcorn.
  • Make three more double crochet stitches in the same stitch for a total of four double crochet stitches inside of that single stitch.
  • Now, drop the stitch. If you’ve never done this before, it just means that you gently remove the hook from the loop that is on it.
  • Re-insert the hook back in the first double crochet that you made in the stitch.
  • Add the dropped stitch loop back on to the hook.
  • Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. This pulls all of the double crochet stitches together so that they puff out and become the popcorn.

As you can see, the effect is similar to a bobble in large part because there are a group of double crochets in the same stitch. The difference is that with a bobble the stitches are hooked together at the top one loop at a time and with a popcorn they are made individually and hooked together at the end using the dropped stitch method. I don’t particular enjoy the process of doing a dropped stitch so that’s a main reason I prefer bobbles to popcorns.

Crochet Clusters

Crochet clusters are a stitch that I haven’t actually tried yet but have read about it in stitch dictionaries. From what I can tell, these clusters are almost exactly the same as crochet bobbles. There are two differences:

  • A bobble is always done with a double crochet stitch whereas a cluster may be done with other stitch types such as a treble crochet stitch.
  • A bobble always ends with five loops on the hook whereas a cluster may be any number of multiple stitches.

3 thoughts on “Crochet: Bobbles vs. Popcorns vs. Clusters”

    • Thanks. Funny how much crochet you can do and still not ever have done certain techniques (boucle is one I’ve never done, for example). Always something new to learn in this craft!

  1. Thank you for this explanation. I was wondering if I was the only one trying to sort these stitches out!
    Here is what I’ve found as I’ve researched this over the past few days. It is a bit different from your description.
    1. The popcorn and bobble are “gathered” on both the top and bottom of the stitch. The cluster stitch is “gathered” only at the top.
    2. The bobble and popcorn are created by placing the ‘bottom” of each stitch a single stitch from the previous row. The cluster’s stitches are created in separate stitches.
    3. Popcorn Stitches gather completed stitches together. Bobbles leave the final loop of each stitch on the hook. The cluster also uses completed stitches.
    4. The popcorn gathers the last stitch to the first in a “circle”. Bobble stitches just draw through, compressing the stitches from last to first. Clusters do not gather at the top at all.
    I am interested in your idea about the number and type of stitches required to form the bobble. I will have to look into that further. My impression was that it was more about the gathering method used at the top of the stitches.
    What do you think?
    Mary aka chefmomster2

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