I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour — and even more excited that Carol offered to do a guest blog post. I’m really big on always trying to learn new things, and asked her to discuss her views on tackling new techniques — Steph
Carol: Learning new things is a little bit scary, at least for me! The more competent you get the more frightening it can be, you don’t want to look silly when you try something new. But that of course is the whole point of learning; if you already know it then it’s not learning! I have to keep reminding myself on a regular basis how important learning new skills is, it helps you grow as a crafter and as a person. Learning and challenging yourself keeps your brain in shape and flexible. It’s easy to get lazy about your crafting, using the same cast-on or bind-off all the time or even avoiding techniques that look like they have a steep learning curve.
For many knitter short rows falls into this category but doesn’t deserve that reputation! The basic idea of short rows is very easy; turning before you reach the end of row. Simple right? The only time things get complicated is when you’re trying to figure out how to hide that turn. This is where all of the different techniques come into play. In this book I’ve detailed 4 different ways to do short rows but you may discover your own variation that works for you. Everyone learns differently so learning several different ways of doing the same thing means that you have a chance to learn the perfect way for you. In addition to this I find that different techniques are needed for different situations, with practice you’ll quickly figure out for yourself which short row to use for your project.
All images © Joseph Feller
The best way of learning is to practice, that is why in this book I’ve got 20 different patterns that you can try out the short row methods with. Each pattern gives details of the short row method used and a few patterns even combine methods! Here are a few patterns that you can try out the different methods with, detailing why I used that method:
Atirro (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/atirro) uses the Wrap & Turn method; this is knit using a heavier yarn worked at a fairly tight gauge. The short rows are used to raise the back of the neck. Wrap & turn works nicely in the round and is easy to hide for a dense fabric like this.
Frio (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/frio) used the Japanese method, with a repeated wedge going from the front to the back of the hat. In this pattern I’ve suggested using a long strand of waste yarn to hold all of the yarn loops, that way you don’t have to mess around with lots of markers, a single long yarn strand can hold all the loops. The short rows in this hat form a very visible part of the design, this is why I opted for Japanese, they can be worked nice and tightly without any loose stitches around the short rows.
Arenal (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/arenal) uses the yarnover method to create the toe and heel shaping for this sock. Yarnover short rows are my favorite for heels and toes. When you use short rows on socks you are creating a double short row ‘wedge’ sitting one on top of the other. The first wedge works from the widest point to the narrowest and the next ‘wedge’ works from the narrowest point back out to the widest. When you have 2 batches of short rows sitting one on top of the other you will have 2 short row wraps/yarn loops to work with your stitch instead of one. When you use yarnover short rows the yarn loop sits on your needle as a yarnover, this makes working the double short rows together with the stitch much easier as they are all sitting on your needle already!
Zapote (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zapote) uses the German method of short rows for the garter stitch hood. Garter stitch is a funny stitch to work short rows with. The ‘bumps’ on the front of the work in theory should allow all wraps from other methods to be hidden easily. However what can often happen is that the wraps distort the stitches and create gaps in the knitting. With the German method when you turn your work you pull up the stitch from the row below by twisting the stitch around the needle. This creates a double stitch that blends in very well on both sides of garter stitch. So it’s fantastic for short row garter shawls where both sides will be visible!
So if you haven’t tried short rows before, jump in, work up a swatch and find your favorite method! (For visual learners you may also like my Craftsy short row classes; the free mini Short Row class (http://www.craftsy.com/ext/shortrows) or my Essential Short Row Techniques class (www.craftsy.com/ext/CarolFeller_5010_H) ).
Note from Steph: If you’ve not seen Carol’s classes on Craftsy, definitely check them out! Her teaching style is calm and clear, and she’s lovely to listen to.