Don’t Short-Change Short-Rows

Ever notice how a certain trend in knitting just explodes, and within a month it seems like everyone is doing it? So it is with short-row knitting. Short-rows have become a big thing, almost de rigueur in many patterns. The reason is simple: knitting short-rows let you shape garments for a better fit, add nice details like curved hems, or just look really good when you futz around with color changes. Heck, it seems like short-rows are largely responsible for the riot of garter stitch shawls festooning knitters. If you don’t believe me, go to a knitting event. I’ve seen people wearing 3 such shawls at one time.

So what are these things, anyway? Short-rows are exactly what they sound like: a partially-knit row that makes your knitting turn and bend and go off in interesting directions. How do you make them? Excellent question, and one that is answered in full in our newest course Short-Rows 5 Ways by Jennifer Dassau. Jennifer has written the book on short-rows. (Really. You can find it here.) In the course, she talks about and discusses 5 kinds of short-rows, how to work them, and why and where you might want to use them.

The Welter Hat is a great example of wrap-and-turn short rows.

You’ve probably heard of the wrap and turn method: it’s perhaps the most common way of working short-rows. Although it looks wonderful in garter stitch (*ahem*, shawl folk), no matter what side you look at, it’s pretty wonky-looking in reverse stockinette. Then there are German short-rows, which are rather delightful to make. Worked tightly in stockinette, they are almost invisible, but don’t think about using them in garter stitch unless you want people to ask you, “Did you mean to do that?”

Yarnover short-rows. Color-change perfection.

Did you realize you could work short-rows with yarnovers? They are awesome for colorwork, as you can see in Jennifer’s Trichotomy Shawl. Then there is the kinda-kooky, kinda-cool method called Japanese short rows; they seem weird at first but are remarkably tidy and invisible in just about any stitch. And finally there is the mysterious twin stitch (also called shadow wrap). This method is rather visible, but when used with judicious deliberation, it becomes a “design feature.”

The Welts Apart Cowl uses Japanese short-rows and looks wonderful doing so.

Jennifer’s course also includes a lot of extra goodies, such as step-by-step illustrations of each method and practice swatches where you can try each version. Best of all, you get a free eBook version of Knitting Short-Rows, including 17 patterns. Sign up for Short-Rows 5 Ways today!

Posted March 28, 2018. Updated March 6, 2019.

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