SO?! How'd we all do with making it through the roundy-roundy part of the cowl?
If you're not in love with garter stitch in the round (I always find the purl rnds so slooooooow) then you're going to love the remainder of this cowl! Now we get to work the garter stitch flat, so we're knitting on the RS and WS of the work. Woot!
WRAP & TURN (W&T) SHORT ROWS
Short rows, quite simply, are the working of a row of knitting but coming up SHORT of the end of the row. For example, if your row has 98 sts (such as we do at the beginning of the Short Row section), we won't work all of the stitch. We may knit only 95 sts, leaving 3 sts unworked. And that's it... that's a short row.
However! The tricksy part of it comes into how we decide we want to work our short row turn - the point at which we don't complete the row, but turn the work so the other side is facing. There are multiple variations of working a short row turn (Japanese Method, German method, duplicate stitch, etc.) but the one I'm going to focus on is the Wrap & Turn method. This is the most common way to work a short row turn and is probably the most effective when working short rows in garter stitch.
And here's the rub on standard W&T short rows... there are multiple ways in which to move your yarn to wrap your stitch. The method that I use in the pattern is my preferred method as I get the cleaned (most even tensioned) wrap around my stitch without leaving gaps.
I want to break down the first few short rows and the W&T:
- Short Row 1: Knit to 3 sts before end of row. I mean, this is pretty clear, right? If you have 98 sts, you'll knit 95 and the remaining 3 sts will be unworked.
- W&T. Without turning your work, you're going to wrap the next stitch (the first stitch on the left hand (LH) needle). To do this, we want to perform the following 6 steps:
- Move your working yarn to the front between the LH and right hand (RH) needles.
- Next, we're going to slip the first stitch on the LH needle to the RH needle purlwise. This will leave 2 sts unworked on the LH needle.
- Without moving any stitches, move the working yarn to the back between the LH and RH needles.
- Return the previously slipped stitch to the LH needle purlwise.
- TURN THE WORK so that the opposite side of the work is facing.
- Move the working yarn between the LH and RH needles and into position to knit the next stitch. This completes the wrap. This final step will also create a small gap between the wrapped stitch and the 2 sts that were left completely unworked on the row.
- Short Row 2: Knit.
- Short Row 3: Knit to 3 sts before the previous turning point (the gap). W&T. This is where folks tend to get tripped up. What is "3 sts before"? Does this include the stitch that was wrapped? The short answer is yes! Look for the gap, and you'll want to have 3 sts before it (one of which is the wrapped stitch).
- If you don't have an obvious gap, you can look for a little collar around your stitch (which will be the 3rd stitch in from the end of the row). It will look a bit like a purl bump but look closer and you'll see it's a full loop around your stitch.
- Once you have identified your 3 unworked stitches to the right of the gap, perform the steps of the W&T from Short Row 1.
- Short Row 4: Work in pattern.
- Short Row 5: Knit to 3 sts before the previous turning point (the gap). At this point, you've likely established a method for discerning your gaps and/or wrapped stitches so that you'll see a pattern. Between each gap created at the end of each short row you'll have 2 sts. With the exception of Short Row 1 where 2 sts remain unworked, on each short row, these two stitches will be 1 unworked stitch and 1 wrapped stitch from the previous W&T.
Of course I have a video for that.... ;)
WHY DO WE WORK SHORT ROWS?
Short rows are a method of creating shaping in a knitted piece without increasing or decreaseing stitches. In the case of this cowl, we work short rows so that the front of the cowl is longer than the back, but also to create a point. If we didn't work short rows and simply knit flat across the 98 sts that remain after binding off before the short row section, we would end up with a flat flap, something like a baby bib or the front half of a dickie/mock turtle neck.
Short row shaping is used to create heels on socks, to shape shoulders on sweaters and to create shaping such as in this cowl, or at the bottom of a sweater if we want the back longer than the front.
CHECK YOUR ROWS
This is an image of the edge of the cowl once it's been bound off. But it should help you identify your spacing of your short rows. The stitch closer to my finger is easier to identify as having been wrapped because the wrap is grey whereas the stitch that is being wrapped is white.
This second image shows multiple wraps after binding off. You relaly have to look for them which is the beauty of using the W&T method of short rows in garter stitch. The wraps look an aweful lot like a garter bump. Plus! Because they DO look so much like a garter bump, you don't need to pick them up and work them when finally working a full row of stitches above all of the wraps.
Next week we're going to wrap up this lovely little cowl and move it from our WIP list to our FO list! While you don't have to actually bind off for next week, it'd be great if you're done the short rows and are ready to bind off. I'm going to discuss the bind off used in the pattern vs. an alternative you may prefer if you have a really tight bind off (and no, it's not going up a needle size).
In our final week we're also going to look at how to block this lovely little shawl. It's way easier than you think!
I'm excited to hear how you're making out on your cowl. Just like last week, I'll be keeping an eye on the blog for comments and on our NobleKnits Community. I hope you'll share progress shots! And if you're on social media, feel free to tag @nobleknits and use #nobleknitsjakkuKAL. Happy Short Row-ing!