How to do Short Rows – draft one.

A short row is a row that you don’t knit all the stitches on. Hopefully, you are doing this on purpose, knitting something like Calorimetry, or a garment that uses short rows for shaping. The purpose of short rows is to shape the knitted fabric — either for shape (like the oval shaping on Calorimetry) or to provide fullness in the fabric, such as an appropriately shapely bust on a close fitting sweater.

Here is a simple short row swatch to knit if you want to practice this technique – it really is easier to do then to explain. If you need a nifty hattish headband kind of thingie, try Calorimetry next — it’s an excellent piece for practicing this technique.

Cast on 10 stitches.
Row 1 — Knit 10.
Short Rows - K10

Row 2 – Knit 8, and turn the work as if you had finished the row, leaving two stitches unknit. Move the yarn behind your knitting.
Short Rows - K8Short Rows - Put yarn behind

Row 3 — onto the the needle with the two un-knit stitches, slip one stitch, then knit 5 stitches — this leaves two stitches un-knit. Turn the work again.
Short Rows - Turn work, Slip 1Short Rows - K5

Row 4 — Slip one stitch, then knit to the end of the row.
Short Rows - K to end.

Row 5 — Knit 10.

Short Rows - K  to end again.

Cast off:
Short Row Swatch

Further Resources:

Calorimetry: This is a quick and useful project by

La Bonne Tricoteuse: Also on Knitty – a column about using short row shaping for busts, including a detailed deconstruction of a garment using the short row technique. Good photos.

Lagniappe: The short row swatch also has a simple and whimsical real world application, allowing you to avoid wasting the time, effort and yarn it costs you, while subtly showing the world around you your love of knitting.


4 thoughts on “How to do Short Rows – draft one.

  1. Thank you! I just tried this out and it was so easy to follow. I’m a complete newbie (as in, had to refresh myself on how to cast off) and I could do this no prob. It was particularly useful because I’d just discovered and decided to do Calorimetry. Thanks again!!

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