Technical Bits: Short Rows
We often get asked about short-row shaping at knitonthenet: it is a great technique to use and very useful too.
Essentially a short row is a row which is not fully knitted, just as the name suggests. The piece of knitting is turned around before reaching the end of the row, and knitted back in the other direction. But that's not all...
You may have come across the pattern abbreviation 'w&t'. The 't' stands for turn, but the 'w' is for wrap. In order that the finished piece of knitting does not have stepped holes in it at the turning points, the yarn is passed around the next unknitted stitch.
You would do this by knitting up to the point indicated in your pattern, slipping the next stitch to your working needle, passing the yarn to the front of the work (presuming you are working in knit), slipping the stitch back, turning the work and continuing to knit you pattern.
There are some great instructions by Gudrun Johnston on our Useful Information page which include how to pick up the wraps in the coming rows for a seamless finish.
Short rows are included in knitting patterns as a way to shape a garment, whether it is to create a heel in a sock or bust darts in a top. It works by introducing extra rows of knitting into the pattern on a horizontal plane, whereas other increases will be introducing extra stitches into the pattern on a vertical plane.
Another place that you might come across short rows is on shoulder shaping in patterns such as the man's vest, Maile. They are used at the shoulders or armholes to create a more attractive cast-off edge a slanted edge.