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A to Z: Beyond the Basics

Short Row Shaping


Short rows are partial rows of knitting that are used to shape or curve sections or to compensate for patterns with different row gauges. The result is that one side or section has more rows than the other, but no stitches are decreased. This technique is sometimes called turning because the work is turned within the row. Short rows can be worked on one or both sides of the piece at the same time.

Shaping with short rows eliminates the jagged edges that occur when you bind off a series of stitches such as at shoulders or on collars. After working short rows at a shoulder, bind off all the stitches at one time or join them to another piece directly from the needles.

When working with patterns of varying row gauges, short rows can be used to add rows to the shorter sections, allowing the finished piece to lie flat.
Short row shaping can also be used for darts, back necks on circular yokes, hats and medallions with circular pieces, and sock heels.

When you add an extra row into the knit piece, you must make a smooth transition between the edge where one row is worked and the edge that has the extra row. Do this by wrapping a slipped stitch, using one technique for knit stitches and another for purl stitches.

wrapping stitches (knit side)
wrapping, knit side wrapping, knit side wrapping, knit side
1. To prevent holes in the piece and create a smooth transition, wrap a knit stitch as follows: With the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise. 2. Move the yarn between the needles to the front of the work. 3. Slip the same stitch back to the left needle. Turn the work, bringing the yarn to the purl side between the needles. One stitch is wrapped.
wrapping, knit side    
4. When you have completed all the short rows, you must hide the wraps. Work to just before the wrapped stitch. Insert the right needle under the wrap and knitwise into the wrapped stitch. Knit them together.    


wrapping stitches (purl side)
wrapping, purl side wrapping, purl side wrapping, purl side
1. To prevent holes in the piece and create a smooth transition, wrap a purl stitch as follows: With the yarn at the front, slip the next stitch purlwise. 2. Move the yarn between the needles to the back of the work. 3. Slip the same stitch back to the left needle. Turn the work, bringing the yarn back to the purl side between the needles. One stitch is wrapped.
wrapping, purl side    
4. After working the short rows, you must hide the wraps. Work to just before the wrapped stitch. Insert the right needle from behind into the back loop of the wrap. Place it on the left needle, as shown. Purl it together with the stitch on the left needle.