Short rows

This week my knitting mojo took a detour.  I had a couple of lovely projects on the needles, and lots of time for knitting (relatively speaking), but I just couldn’t seem to get into it.  I have often noticed that the amount of knitting I get done is inversely related to the amount of reading I get done.  I read 6 books this past week.  I knit…..very little.

My goal for the week was to finish the yoke of the Ravi cardigan (the directions for which comprised Clue 1 of the Ravi KAL) before Clue 2 arrived.  Clue 2 arrived in my mailbox (electronically of course) first thing this morning, and I finished the yoke section this afternoon.  Mission very nearly accomplished.  Of course, this was facilitated by having a very low goal set; I was mostly done with the yoke a week ago.

There was a lot of discussion on the KAL regarding which short row method would be best for this project.  Carol Feller includes a link to the Japanese short row technique, which she recommends, but which seemed fussy to me; involving the use of many stitch holders or paper clips, and of course, the wrapping and turning and picking up wraps.  I was not in the mood for fussy, and was interested to find on the KAL boards a link to the German short row method, which was decidedly unfussy.  Guess which I ended up doing?  I am not convinced if it was the most invisible method, but I decided early on that the short rows should be seen as a design feature of Ravi.  Instead of trying to hide them within the fabric of the garter stitch, we should instead celebrate them, and have them literally jump out of the fabric.  Looking at mine in the above photo, I think I accomplished that.  They remind me of whalebone in a corset, providing the structure on which the curves are based.

Here is a very brief description of working German short rows in garter stitch.  First, you knit up to the place in the pattern where it says to wrap and turn (first photo below).  But, because we are doing this the easy way, we don’t wrap at all, merely turn (second photo below).

Notice that since we have now turned the work around, and we were knitting, the yarn is now in front (as if to purl).  We then slip the next stitch as if to purl.  Then, we want to continue knitting back.  Since the yarn is in the front, we need to pull the yarn over to the back to be in position for the next knit stitch.  This will pull up the stitch we just slipped, making a funny little v-shaped double loop on the needle, which looks like this:

In the above photo, you can see that I am completely ignoring the v-shaped loop and proceeding to knit into the next stitch.  Thus, we have completed what is normally a complicated wrap and turn, simply by turning and slipping a stitch, then continuing blithely knitting along.  On the return row, you will eventually come up to where your funny v-shaped double stitch is, which will look like this:And, instead of doing anything tricky, you just knit it, putting the needle right through the double loop, as if you were knitting two stitches together:

So that’s it folks, an incredibly easy peasy short row.  No moving stitches back and forth from one needle to the other, no elaborate wrapping procedures, no stitch markers or safety pins; just turn, slip and carry on knitting.  The non-fiddly short row takes a bow!

And please don’t fret; the technical portion of this post is completed.  So, a few comments on the whole KAL thing (recall, this is knitting shorthand for a knit-along, a sort of mass knitting event).  There are now just shy of 800 knitters participating in the online KAL for this cardigan.  There are a number of good things that have emerged for me so far in this process.  First, there was a lot of discussion about which yarn to use.  Since I had never used the Blue Moon Fibre Arts Socks that Rock yarn before, and was considering using Wollmeise, I followed these discussions fairly closely.  There were many helpful comments which helped me to settle on the BMF (and also on the colour, which a number of others are using; it is beautiful, is it not?)

Second, the whole discussion involving various short row techniques was quite useful and led me to the German method outlined here.  Many of the knitters had not done short rows before, so I imagine this would be especially helpful to them.  Third, at some point I read a comment about how the I-cord edging looks wrong for the nearest 2 or three rows on the needle, but then sorts itself out.  “Stick with it;” this commenter posted “and in a few rows you will see it taking the proper shape”.  I very thankfully recalled this advice after a troubling train trip to Oxford, in which I stared in disbelief at my I-cord edging for a very long time, trying to figure out why the last two rows looked funny when all the rest were fine.  Fourth, when Carol first released Clue 1, there was a small but fairly important mistake in the description of the I-cord; a knitter noticed this and brought it to the attention of the forum immediately and Carol had already fixed it and re-sent a revised draft before most of us had opened the file.  I can’t tell you how useful this is.  As a last really positive comment it is great to see all of the progress photos people are posting, especially since this cardigan is being knit in so many different yarns and colour schemes.

On the other hand, I find all of the chatter on the KAL impossible to keep up with.  Knitters, especially knitters on the internet, often have a tendency to be fan girls and to gush a lot (also to rant a lot, although not in this context).  I barely have time to skim what I think are the crucial bits of this KAL, or even the fun or interesting bits.  If I read every comment that was being posted on the KAL, I would never have time to knit.

Well, today I am in possession of the next clue, so I really should stop all this incessant reading and start knitting.  I would like to say hello to both of my daughters, who are busy running around Berlin together this week and hopefully having far too much fun.  I end with a silly photo of me, standing out in the rain and cold while Doug hurriedly took some shots.

8 thoughts on “Short rows

  1. I like this a lot and I would knit another one (not for a sweater) and make it about 2-4 inches longer and use it as a capelet. I think that it would look fantastic this way and depending on the yarn used would/could be very elegant.

    • Hi, great idea! I’ve thought of that myself, because it’s shape and structure remind me of the Carnaby skirt which Emma wore as a capelet. I was going to include a photo of the two side by side, but Emma has the skirt with her in Berlin.

  2. Ooh, the colour is gorgeous. It really suits you. 🙂

    And your illustration of short rows is excellent – really clear, so thanks! I’ll be trying that out next time I need to do some!

  3. I can not thank you enough for your fantastic short row method. I have cast on and ripped back this cardigan 5 times, each time because I was unhappy with the short rows (I thought the explanation in the pattern was just awful and it produced nasty nobbly holes). Your method is a dream. I cast on again last night and am through 3 revolutions of the yoke, so I think I’m on my way now, thanks to you. Beautiful knitting too, in a gorgeous colour. Thanks again.

  4. Pingback: A pattern to celebrate my 300th post! | Knitigating Circumstances

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