Four Ways to Knit Short Rows


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I’ve been knitting short rows, lots and lots of short rows. But I haven’t knitted them all the same way. Short rows are a bit like cast-ons, there untold ways to get it done and every time you turn around, someone is coming up with a new version.

I don’t know every way to make a short row and I probably never will. For certain I don’t know every way to cast-on and for certain I never will. S’ok. It just means there is always more to learn. And I do like learning.

Which is why I’m taking the free Short Row mini-class on Craftsy. I’m taking it again, I should say. When you sign up for a class on Craftsy its yours forever. The class is linked to your account and so you can take your classes as many times as you like. Its a bit like re-reading a good book. Every time you read it, you find something that you somehow missed before.

I’m working my way through Carol Feller’s Short Row mini-class. “Mini” is what Craftsy calls it but its not very mini at all. There are 6 lessons with over 2 hours of video instruction, 10 pages of handouts, and three samples/practice pieces to make. And did I mention that its free?

You see I have an idea percolating in my head a for a one skein wrap that adapts a traditional lace edging, the kind that you might sew onto the edge of a linen towel or dress, and turns it into a wearable shawlette. I don’t have it all worked out quite yet (much less knitted up) but I do know that to get it to wrap around the body I’m going to need short rows.

In my last post I wrote a bit about short rows and why they can be such a pain. But they are such a handy way to introduce curves and shaping into knitting that mastering short rows is worth the effort. So I decided now was a good time for me to brush up on them. And I’d do so by re-taking the on-line mini class that I’m always pushing recommending to knitters.

Short Rows 101 – FREE from Craftsy


I’ve made my way through Lessons 2 and 3, which is four different ways to make short rows. They start off with the traditional “wrap and turn” followed by “pick up the wrap” and work it together with the next stitch.

Short Row method # 1 – standard wraps & turns

The two fundamentals to knitting neat short rows, which almost no book or pattern will mention, Carol covers right away in this first lesson:

1) Pull your wraps tight. Loose wraps make for un-even stitches.

2) Whether you are picking up on the knit side or the purl side, that wrap has to end up at the back (wrong side) of the work.

My standard wrap & turns are okay. I’m okay with them, but not happy. I never am. But that’s perfectly fine because I know I’ll like the next two methods better.

After the standard wrap and turn is the modified wrap & turn. The wrap happens the same way as before but the picking up is different. Its…. involved and hard to explain in words. That’s why classes are video these days! (lol). But the modification is to get the wrap in position so that your stitches are not twisted. Its makes a big difference. My modified wraps and turns are much nice, much cleaner.

Short Row method #2 – modified wrap & turn

Next comes my favorite, Japanese short rows (also called wrapless short rows). Its the method that gives me the best results. When I make these, I can barely see the edges of my shortened rows. But they are slower to knit because you have to stop and add safety pins or row markers.

Short Row method #3 – Japanese

Lastly is the method I hate don’t find much use for. Its the yarn over short row. It leaves a small gap. I’m sure there is a reason and a purpose and a place where this way of doing short rows is preferred but I haven’t found it yet.

Short Row method #4 – Yarn over

But even so, I made them. I’m a good student. I want credit for that.


Here is a quick comparison of my results. On the right are short rows that were picked up on the purl side. The left are short rows picked up on the knit side. My purl pick ups are neater and smoother. I always do better with the purl side short rows.

Short rows knitted four ways


That takes me through Lessons 2 and 3. In the next, Carol makes up a small, demo sized sweater pieces using short row shaping. As the student you use whatever method gave you the best result and apply that in a mini sweater design. You use short rows to shape the front and back pieces of a cardigan and then you do the same to make the sleeve. Believe me, these sleeves, which technically are set-in sleeves, fit better than any made with the standard construction because they curve out and around your shoulder (instead of draping and folding over).

The last lesson is how to use short rows to create a curved, fitted bust line. (What a novel concept, knitting sweaters that acknowledged the possibility of boob-age!) The intention is that when you are done with these all these lessons, you can design your own cardigan, one that fits you perfectly. How great is that? I’m always a bit surprised that Craftsy made this class available for free.

I’ll be working my way through the next lesson. I hope to get my mini, demo sweater finished and posted sometime next week. I’m also hoping you’re inspired to jump in and join me. Classes are always more fun with study buddies. And if you are knitting up short rows I’d love to hear what you think, what method you prefer, and how your stitches are coming along.

If you are already in this class…. don’t you just adore Carol’s cultured Irish accent? I could listen to her all day.

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"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen

9 Comments on "Four Ways to Knit Short Rows"

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Shirley Eagle

How long have you been practicing short rows? You do a nice job. I agree about the purl-side pick-ups. It makes sense that pulling that wrap to your wrong side instead of pushing it over the needle to the wrong side would be smoother. I never noticed how mine looked. Using short rows to design something is amazing and mind-boggling if you go beyond what you already know. Samples and practice help a lot. Thanks for the encouragement.


I’m really tempted to join in on the sample sweater – and I did sign up for the class! – but I’m having trouble staying awake long enough in the evenings to finish a sock that’s been on my needles for almost two weeks. Cashmere combing season is really wearing me out this year!


Have you tried German Short Rows?

Kristy C

Starting watching the class but too many other things to do to finish it right now. Just completed a tank top with the first w&t’s I have ever done. This is definitely interesting and something I adding to my list of knitting to-dos.