My Take on Short Rows

After studying the different kinds of short rows, I’ve picked them apart and came up with my own way of working short rows. I borrowed elements from Wrap & Turn short rows, Japanese short rows and Shadow Wraps (which are really just a form of increase/decrease short rows). I also mirrored the purl side wraps so they look nearly identical to the knit side wraps. Here are the notes:

Knit Side/Right Side Wrap:

Knit up to the stitch you need to wrap. Make a right Lifted Increase (aka KRL). Instead of pulling the stitch below up on to the left needle to knit, just insert the right needle through the loop where it is and make a new stitch. This reduces unnecessary stretching and keeps things tidier. Once you’ve made the increase, you can place the new stitch on to the left hand needle where it will sit snuggle next to the right of the original stitch. The original stitch and the newly made stitch will be treated as one single stitch from here on out and are fairly easy identify from the wrong side because it appears that they both come from the same purl bump in the row below. Once you’re new stitch is in place, turn your work and start purling.

A second option, if you’re so inclined, is to slip the newly made stitch on to a bobby pin or paperclip instead of the left needle and let the pin or clip will hang from the front of the work. This isn’t absolutely necessary but it does cut down on the bulk on the wrong side of the short rows, particularly if you are doing things like short row toes or heels where you will need to make two wraps on each of the turning stitches. When you’ve got the new stitch on a pin or clip, turn the work, pull the yarn snug (not tight – your pin or clip should still point downwards, not straight out) and start purling. Do NOT slip a stitch like you do with Japanese short rows. It’s not necessary.

Purl Side/Wrong Side Wrap:

Purl up to the stitch you need to wrap.  Re-orient this stitch so it is sitting eastern style (with the right leg of the stitch on the back of your needle) by slipping it purlwise to your right needle and then uncrossed back on to the left needle. DO NOT TWIST the stitch. Once the stitch is sitting eastern style on the left needle, insert the right needle through loop below the eastern style stitch as if to purl. Wrap the yarn COUNTERCLOCKWISE around the needle (opposite of the way you normally purl) and pull the new loop through. You should now have two eastern style loops – your original stitch on the left and your newly created stitch to the right. Again you can either place this newly made stitch on your left hand needle or you can put it on a bobby pin/paper clip that will hang from the front of the work. Turn work and knit.

Picking Up Knit Side/Right Side Wraps:

When you come to the wrapped stitches, knit the original stitch and the wrapped stitch that goes with it together the same way you would k2tog. If you used bobby pins or paper clips, pull them a bit and transfer smaller yarn loop untwisted on to the left needle and k2tog in the same fashion.

Picking Up Purl Side/Wrong Side Wraps:

When you come to the wrapped stitches, purl the original stitch and the wrapped stitch that goes with it THROUGH THE BACK LOOP the way you would for a p2tog tbl.

Double Wraps (for Things like Short Row Toes and Heels):

After you’ve short rowed “in” to the narrowest part of your toe or heel and need to start short rowing back “out” to the original edges of your work, the process is the exact same. You’ll pick up the last wrap you made and then go to the next wrapped stitch in line and pick up a new stitch through the exact same place you picked up the first loop. This will result in the original stitch and two shadow stitches to the right of it. When you pick them up, you’ll work them as a k3tog for the front side row and a p3tog tbl for the purl side rows. I really do suggest using paperclips in this sort of situation because it makes for good looking front side but more importantly results in less of bulk on the back side of the I also suggest using two different colored paperclips to help keep track of which increase loop was made first. You need to put them on the left needle in order to avoid twisting the stitches.


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