What are short rows?

Hi Laura,

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book defines short rows as a way “to add rows in one segment of a piece without decreasing the number of stitches on the needle.” This ability to increase the volume of fabric in selected areas can be applied to your next knitting project in interesting ways.
Customize and Improve

Hi Laura,

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book defines short rows as a way “to add rows in one segment of a piece without decreasing the number of stitches on the needle.” This ability to increase the volume of fabric in selected areas can be applied to your next knitting project in interesting ways.

Customize and Improve Fit

For many knitters, sock heels are the first exposure to short rows since most sock patterns rely on the technique to turn what would otherwise be a straight tube of knitting into a piece that more accurately fits the curve of the foot. But short rows aren’t just for socks! Strategic application of short rows can give other knitted garments a customized fit. For example, horizontal bust and hip darts can be elegantly achieved by using short rows to add extra fabric in the right places. The technique can also be used for shoulder shaping in place of bind offs and to address special fit challenges such as pregnancy or a dowager hump.

Add Visual Interest

Short rows are often used to create a pop of added texture. A bobble stitch is little more than short rows applied to a very confined area; many scarf and wrap patterns use short rows to create generous ruffles, and some garments use short row borders as a finishing touch.

Mechanics of a Short Row

To produce a short row, the work can simply be turned before reaching the end of a row. However, this will leave small gaps in the finished work at the turning points. To prevent the formation of gaps, the yarn is usually wrapped around the next un-worked stitch just before turning the work. Once all the “wraps and turns” have been completed in the designated area, the affected stitches are worked with their accompanying wraps together as one on the next row. 

Explore and Learn More

As with nearly all areas of knitting, there is more than one way to produce short rows. In addition to the traditional wrap and turn method described above, there are also Japanese, yarn over, and invisible short row techniques. To learn more, try Craftsy.com’s free class – Short Rows with Carol Feller or read her new book entitled Short Row Knits: A Master Workshop with 20 Learn-as-You-Knit Projects. Every knitter should have at least one short row method in their repertoire. yarn ball

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