Tag Archives: short rows

Inspiration: Phew!

The Olympics are over and my sweater has finished blocking (just in time for a few lovely, cool days).  I love my new sweater, and there’s no denying that speed knitting can be very satisfying, but now my mind is wandering to a new project.  Something that I can really sink my teeth into, something I can work on slowly and carefully.  Something stupidly elaborate and full of ridiculous details.

This scarf/wrap is just gorgeous.  I love the use of a semi-solid with the slowly-transitioning rainbow colorway.  And the little sticky-outy leaves are a fantastic detail.  (Though one I think would drive me a little bit crazy to work up.)

Snood Forest Witch by Svetlana Gordon1m_medium2[1]And every time I see this project go across my screen, my heart skips a beat.  I love looking at all the beautiful colors people choose.  And, honestly, I can’t even guess how it’s constructed (short rows, maybe?)!

Fox Paws by Xandy Peters

2016-06-21-21-46-26_medium2[1]And, I do love lace.  It’s been years since I really sunk my teeth into a full-on lace shawl.  And this one has beads.  (And little cables.)

Lily-of-the-Valley-Rosea by Alla Borisova4_medium2[1]What do you like to work on when you’re looking for a complicated, careful knit?

Stellar’s Jay Sweater-Shoulders

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!

Sock Week: The Turn of the Heel

So, I don’t know about you, but my heel isn’t square-shaped, so we probably shouldn’t make our socks square-shaped, too.  To do this we’re going to “Turn the Heel.”  I got completely confused the first time I did this, so I’m going to do my best to help you through.  We can do it together!  Solidarity!

Anyway, “turning the heel” involves making short rows across the heel flap and throwing in some decreases as we go, to make the heel… well… heel-shaped.  The goal is to end up with a little round, cup-shaped heel.  “Short rows” are rows that are knit only partway across.  This lets you start building up 3-D structures, instead of just flat pieces.  Some people use short rows for things like puffy sleeves or fitted bust lines on sweaters, or faces on teddy bears etc.

OK, so get out your sock and follow along.  You’ll be starting from the marker at the back of the sock.

First, do this:  Knit 2, K2tog (left leaning decrease), knit 1, wrap and turn. (This video is a good tutorial for wrap and turn.  Ignore the part where she talks about hiding your wraps, though.  That’s more for sleeves or other things.  That doesn’t matter so much with heels.)

Your first row should look like this:


Turn the work and Purl to the marker.  Purl 2, P2tog, Purl 1, wrap and turn.

It should look like this:


Turn the work back to the knit side.  See where there is a gap from where you wrap and turned?  Knit until one stitch before the gap.  Knit the two stitches on either side of the gap together.  Knit 1, wrap and turn.


See how the k2tog closes up the gap so nicely?  (I haven’t done the last k1 or the wrap and turn yet):


Then, do the same thing on the purl side.  Purl until one stitch before the gap and purl the two stitches on either side together.  Purl 1, wrap and turn.


Keep on repeating these two rows:

-Knit to 1 before the gap, k2tog, k1, w&t

-Purl to 1 before the gap, p2tog, k1, w&t

You’ll work more and more stitches each row that you work.

When you get to a point where you can’t do another full repeat of the pattern, stop when you’re back at the marker, on the knit side.  Your heel should look like this:


We’re getting there!  Your sock is looking sockier and sockier!  (sockier [sok-EE-er]: adj. more like a sock)

On Friday we’ll pick up stitches to get set up for the gusset.