Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why everyone should love Short Rows

I recently learned what a short row was and why I should be doing them. So I am going to share my knew knowledge with you. There have been a lot of good articles around on the web about short rows recently and so I got to asking myself "Does everyone know something I don't? I mean I never saw a pattern with direction for short rows in it so why should I be bothered right?"

Here's the secret: patterns hardly ever tell you to use short row shaping because it takes too long to write. But never fear the technique is easy and patterns convert readily.

So what is a short row and when should I be using it.
1. Use number one = Shaping a Bust
Short rows are a way of adding shape and ease. It works sorta like adding darts in sewing. Basically you are adding stitches in the middle, without adding them at the edge so that your knitting kinda balloons out and give you room for those feminine curves. There is a really great article in Knitty that explains this. This is where I learned about short rows. This article has great diagrams and a link to a pattern at White Lies which uses this shaping for a great tank.

I used short rows to add some bust room in this tank. I am very happy with the results. It means that the fabric doesn't get really stretched out over my breasts. When I blocked this sweater I put plastic bags under the boob area in order to maintain the shape. I wish I took pictures of this process now. I did this because I read somewhere that if you flat block something with short rows all the shaping will go away.

bust bust 2

2. Use Number 2 = Sock heels
Ok I have to fess up here and admit I have not tried this yet. Last Thursday we got to talk about our favorite heal shaping at NMC Knitting Group and Anne said she loved short row heals. Being recently excited about short rows I had to find out more. Kristie sent me this link heel 1 and I also found this heel 2 and this heel 3. I haven't had time to read any of these, but the point is you can use short rows to shape sock heels.

3. Use Number 3 = Binding Off
This is where I am truly converted. As you may have noticed it is summer. I have been on a tank knitting frenzy. Any of you who have knitted sleaveless items will know that using normal decreasing methods can leave you with a messy step-ladder kind of effect both around the neck and under the arms. In the past I would often crochet around my edges in order to achieve a more uniform and finished look. NO MORE! Now I use short rows. I couldn't find a nice link for this but this explains how would you use the technique for shoulder shaping. Basically it works like this. Say the pattern reads:
Decrease 4 st at the sleeve edge of next 2 rows
Decrease 1 st at the sleeve edge of next 10 rows

What you would do is knit until 5 stitches remain. Wrap the next stitch (see explanations in any of the links I provided for how to wrap). Turn work. Work across until 5 stitches remain at the other sleeve edge. Wrap the next stitch. Turn work.
Work until 6 stitches remain. Wrap the next stitch
Repeat until you have made 14 wraps on each sleeve edge.
Now work across and pick up all of the wraps on one side and work to the end.
Turn your work and decrease 14 stitches. Work across and pick up the wrapped stitches at the other edge. Turn and bind off 14 stitches.

What this does is give you a nice clean edged. I used this technique on both the neck and arm edges in this sweater. I mean do edges get and finer?


At 8:02 PM, Blogger winnie said...

oh my god that is so helpful. thanks for all the short row links. i think i may have been doing my short rows wrong all this time!

At 10:51 AM, Blogger babblingB said...

So glad you found this helpful. I wish I had known about short rows a lot sooner.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger veganknitter said...


now it all makes sense!!

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your pics and you did a great job on your short rows.

I made the White Lies Designs Shapely Tank twice and I LOVE the fit. I have pressed my short rows and they didn't go away at all. The extra fabric that was knitted for the boobs to fit into is still there; you just can't see where the actual "darts" are so clearly, if that makes any sense.


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