Indulge me in a little “do as I say, not as I do.” The first time I made an EPS sweater, I ignored a step in the shoulders. It was a vague little instruction where Elizabeth Zimmerman said to “work a few short rows across the shoulders”. I was so close to being finished, and anyway, I didn’t know what “short rows” were, so they couldn’t be that important.
I ended up with a perfectly fitting sweater, except that if felt like it was trying to choke me. Constantly. With Icelandic Wool.
Ha! That showed me. I’ve never skipped the short rows on a sweater again.
So, where do short rows come into play for a bottom-up (or a top-down) sweater knit in the round?
It turns out, that, if you look at your neck from the side, it actually points a little forward, instead of pointing straight up. (It points even further forward if you’re a sloucher, like me.) See?
So, if you make a sweater without any short rows, the neckline will sit parallel to the floor. This will pull uncomfortably on your throat and make you want to burn your sweater. Also, it looks kind of dumb.
What you want, to be comfortable, is a sweater that is higher (by an inch or two) at the back of the neck than the front. Like this:
Looks better, right? So how do you do it? Usually three or four short rows in the last couple inches of the shoulders are enough to raise the back of the neck enough to make it comfortable. I am a big fan of doing a simple wrap and turn.
I like to make my first short row go all the way to the points of my shoulders (or a little past). Then, each short row after the first gets progressively shorter by 8 or so stitches. It requires a tiny bit of math, but it works out pretty well.
All I know is, I will never leave out the short rows on a sweater like this again!