When I first started knitting back in 1983, "short rows" seemed a mysterious advanced technique used by highly accomplished knitters to do stuff I didn't need to do. My 1989 edition of Vogue Knitting described short rows as "partial rows of knitting that are used to shape or curve sections or to compensate for patterns with different row gauges." Um. Okay. Turn the page.
After a while, I dipped my toe into the short row waters and tried them out for smoother shoulder shaping. Not so hard. One vest patterns I made used short rows to create a wide collar that tapered into smooth lapels. Very cool. I learned about using short rows to create extra fullness to accommodate a large bust. But short rows continued to be, for me, primarily a means of shaping fabric. Then I saw the designs by Danish designer, Hanne Falkenberg. Hanne was the first designer I had seen who used short rows to create not only beautifully shaped garments, but large sections of different colors - flattering gores and pointed lapels with bold contrasting colors. Hanne Falkenberg's designs remain among the most striking I've ever seen.
In 2006, Knitty.com published Laura Aylor's Lizard Ridge afghan which combined short rows and Noro Kureyon's long color repeats to create a fascinatingly colorful fabric. Since then the popularity of short rows has grown exponentially creating ruffles, color blocks, flattering shapes, and generally taking center stage in some of today's most popular patterns. Have a look at Dreambird, Lintilla, and Vitamin D, to see some of the cool things that you can do with short rows.
Knowing how to work short rows has moved from being a fun novelty technique to an essential skill for the modern knitter. If you're not quite comfortable with short rows, or you'd like to understand them better, please join us this Saturday morning from 10-11 for our Short Row Learn and Grow session. You can register on line, call, or come by the shop, but do sign up because space is limited, and you don't want to miss this session