I Don’t Like Short Rows

Seriously, I’ve never liked short rows. At first, when I was a new knitter, I was scared of them. Turn your knitting in the middle of a row? What madness is that? Like knitting socks, I thought they were complicated and hard and a sure way to mess up your knitting if you didn’t do them right. But they’re also hard to avoid completely.

I think my first project with short rows was Martina Behm’s Fractal Danger. Like a lot of patterns, I bought it because it was pretty without looking too closely, and it wasn’t until I was partway in and invested that I found the short rows. Fine. I’d do them just this once. And it was fine, they weren’t hard, but a bit fiddly, and I’ll be darned if that shawl didn’t come out as one of the most wearable pieces I’ve made.

Then I knit my first sock, and realized the magic of turning heels is due to short rows. But those are super easy, and it’s just a few stitches, and it’s like they don’t even count as short rows.

Oh, but then came Wonder Woman. How many of you have knit the Wonder Woman wrap? It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I had to make it, regardless of what it took. Well, as you can guess, it took short rows. And not the simple short rows I’d done in the past, but wrap and turn short rows. These short rows actually lived up to my expectations: they were tricky, and it was hard to find the wrapped stitch you were supposed to knit into. But for Wonder Woman, I pushed through it, and it’s one of my favorite shawls to wear. Now, I don’t think I’d want to make another one, but I learned I can do short rows if I have to.

Guess what else? Lots of sweater patterns use short rows for neck shaping, to make the back of the sweater a little bit bigger than the front. Both sweaters I’ve made did that; I guess I was getting used to short rows because they weren’t a big deal.

And now, here I am again, knitting short rows. I picked Martina Behm’s Easy shawl because of course, it has Easy in the name and when you want mindless knitting, easy is good. I floated through Part I, doing so much garter stitch in a haze of happiness. But then came Part II. The second triangle was made from…short rows? Dang it. I don’t like short rows. Except…maybe I do? Because look at this:

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They’re not hard at all, and there’s that beautiful little seam going in between the two triangles, and they’re coming together so neatly and magically and I kind of love it.

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So there you have it. I actually do like short rows after all.

Except wrap and turn short rows. Those still suck a little.

13 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Short Rows

  1. This is so funny! I only have one issue with short rows: It’s hard to store my knitting if I’m in the middle of doing short rows. I don’t like them for neck shaping on sweaters. I much prefer the bound off neck shaping. For me it just comes out neater that way.

      • I like to call it “the old-fashioned way.” Lots of patterns for knitting sweaters flat instruct you to do it that way.

  2. I love short rows! My favorite shawls are shaped with short rows.

    As far as wrap-and-turns go, sometimes you can skip picking up the wrap when you get back to it. It depends on the yarn and the pattern. So they’re not always that bad, either.

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