Short Rows in Knitting: Learn the Twin-Stitch Method
Knowing how to work short rows is essential to shaping your knits so they fit perfectly. Well-placed short rows create curves, angles, and add depth; they make your projects hug your curves just where they should!
Jennifer Dassau’s new book, Knitting Short-Rows: Techniques for Great Shapes & Angles, is a fabulous resource for learning five types of short-row methods (yes, FIVE!) and when and how to use them. And there are gorgeous patterns for use with each type of short-row technique.
Here’s an excerpt from Knitting Short-Rows—how to work the twin-stitch method, also known as shadow wraps.
Learn It: Twin-Stitch Short Rows
The twin-stitch method, also called the shadow-wrap method, is a simple way to work short-rows in stockinette stitch, both back and forth and in the round. It also works well in ribbing or a pattern stitch with similar stacked stitches. In the twin-stitch method, stitches are worked to the desired turning point, then a “twin” to the following stitch is created by working into the stitch below with the working yarn, before turning the work.
This book uses the abbreviation “twin&t” as the instruction to create a twin stitch and turn the work. On a subsequent row, the twin stitches are worked together, to disguise the turning point.
The Twin-Stitch Method on a Knit Row
1. Knit to the turning point; insert the right needle tip knitwise under the front leg of the next stitch and knit, creating a twin to the stitch on the left needle (Figure 1). If you find it difficult to knit through the front leg, use the right needle tip to place it on the left needle untwisted and then knit.
2. Place the twin stitch on the left needle, without twisting it (Figure 2).
3 Turn the work and work the next row. If you’re working in stockinette stitch, leave the yarn at the front and purl the next row (Figure 3). If you’re working in garter stitch, move the yarn to the back after you turn the work and knit the next row.
The Twin-Stitch Method on a Purl Row
1. Purl to the turning point; slip the next stitch purlwise to the right needle, then insert the left needle tip into the stitch below the slipped stitch on the right needle, lifting it onto the left needle (Figure 1).
2. Purl into this stitch with the right needle, creating a twin to the stitch on the right needle (Figure 2).
3. Slip both the twin and the stitch from the right needle to the left needle (Figure 3).
4. Turn the work and work the next row. If you’re working in stockinette stitch, leave the yarn at the back and knit the next row (Figure 4). If you’re working in garter stitch, every row is a knit row, and you’ll be following the steps for twin&t on a knit row instead. Each twin stitch creates an extra loop on the needle, which must be eliminated to preserve the correct stitch count. On the subsequent row, simply work the twin loop together with its companion stitch.
To Work the Twin on a Knit Row
1. Knit to the twin and its stitch and insert the right needle tip knitwise into both (Figure 1).
2. Knit both loops together as one (Figure 2).
To Work the Twin on a Purl Row
1. Purl to the twin and its stitch and insert the right needle tip purlwise into both (Figure 1).
2. Purl both loops together as one (Figure 2).
The twin-stitch method is simple to work, in both creating the extra loop that will disguise the turning point and in working that loop together with its twin.
On the purl side in particular, when working the twin together with its stitch, the extra loop is easy to see; on the knit side, the loops might appear slightly more separated—just look at the row below to find the place where 2 loops originate from one stitch.
The twin-stitch method looks great on the knit side of stockinette stitch and is also effective on the purl side, often depending on the fiber type and gauge used. It is simple to work and may also be used when knitting stockinette in the round, with no special accommodation necessary.
Since this short-row method relies on working a stitch into the row below at the turning point, some distortion necessarily results when that stitch is pulled in an atypical way. In stockinette, the effect is minimal unless you’re working at a super-bulky gauge or with very inflexible yarn, but in garter stitch, the effect is more noticeable between the alternating knit and purl rows.
—Jennifer Dassau, Knitting Short-Rows
I’ve never tried knitting twin-stitch short rows, but you bet I will now; it seems so simple!
I truly love short-row techniques. As a bigger-busted gal, I use them in almost every sweater I knit. They combat the shorter-hanging-front that plagued me when I started knitting. Every sweater I knit was shorter in the front than in the back because “the girls” took up more room in the front of the sweater and made it appear shorter. The “high-low” trend is hot now, but not on my body! I like a low-low look, if you know what I mean.
I always use short rows to add at least three and usually four inches of length to my sweater fronts, and I’m so much happier with the results! It’s made a huge difference in my finished knitting projects, and I can’t recommend this technique highly enough.
Knitting Short-Rows is a must-have resource—I declare it so. You’ll learn the wrap-and-turn method, Japanese short rows, German short rows, the yarn-over method, along with the twin-stitch technique. There are different reasons to use each of these different procedures, which Jennifer spells out for you in detail. It’s a great book, so download the eBook now, or pre-order the paperback. I promise you’ll use this book a lot on your knitting journey.
P.S. What’s your favorite short-row technique, and when do you use it? Leave a comment below!