Knitting Short Rows: 3 Ways to Make Projects Your Own

In the months following the release of a book, I love watching the Ravelry pages for its projects, because they fill up with readers’ ideas. I can always count on you knitters to get creative and make projects your own. Knitting Short Rows by Jennifer Dassau has been no exception.

If you’re feeling a little stuck and aren’t sure how to make projects your own, here are 3 ideas to get you started:


knitting short rows

Make sweaters longer or shorter in the body to suit your fit. Or, try shortening long sleeves for a different look.

As a taller gal, I’m always adjusting the length of the body on sweaters I knit. You might remember I added extra length to my Buttonside Sweater when I knit it back in January. In the case of this sweater, all I needed to do was add a few additional repeats of the 6-row buttonband pattern before starting the short-rows of the curved hem.

Body length isn’t the only thing you might want to adjust on a sweater, though. How about taking the sleeves up a few inches? A sweater takes on a whole new look and, in some cases, becomes more seasonally versatile when you make a full-length sleeve into a three-quarter or elbow length instead!


knitting short rows

Shawls are perfect for playing with color.

I know, telling you to play with color is a rather obvious option, but you’d be surprised how many readers stick with the color shown when they make projects from books. Authors work really hard to choose the best colors to show off a particular piece, so you really can’t go wrong using their choice. However, the projects in Knitting Short Rows—especially the shawls—are perfect for playing with color.

Slices, Spokes, and Trichotomy each use a different short-row method (wrap & turn, twin stitch, and yarnover, respectively) which easily lend themselves to colorplay. For Slices, you could use a gradient kit to color shift the garter-stitch wedges; with Spokes, you could work the contrasting garter stripe in a variegated yarn; and Trichotomy is screaming to be done in a speckled yarn!

Ravelry user Michael83163 took colorplay a step further in the Angel Wings Shawlette, using a contrasting color for the outer swirls of this short-row design. The effect is a beautiful wave of color that really complements the finished design.


knitting short rows

Just because it calls for worsted doesn’t mean it has to be knit with worsted. Scarves are safe projects for experiments with alternative yarn weights.

Changing your yarn is a little more challenging than the other ways you can make patterns your own, because knitting in a different weight will change your gauge . The trick is to know which types of projects are best suited for easy yarn weight changes and which are not. My answer to “easy” is always—scarves.

Scarves offer a great opportunity to play with gauge because sizing typically isn’t an issue. Rumble Strips in Knitting Short Rows is an entirely reversible design that has a center cable flanked by welted ruffles. It’s 86″ long and 6″ wide, worked in a worsted-weight yarn. You could easily work this in another yarn weight, making the ruffled edges wider to maintain the overall width. Remember though, if you use a lighter weight yarn, you’ll need more yardage; grab an extra skein or two at the store.

Adjusting the lengths, playing with color, and changing the yarn weight are just a few of the ways you can mix up a project and make it your own. Do you have a pattern tweak you commonly make? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below.

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

Learn everything you need to know to knit short-rows with confidence.


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