These magical little fit-makers are fairly simple to explain, fortunately. The basic concept is that you work a row across, but you stop before the end, turn around, and head back. If you do this a few times you’ll get an extra little shaped section. They’re great for the booby-portion of clothing, but are also useful with hats and, really, anything round.
The tricky part of this is what you do with the last stitch when you turn your work. There’s this little maneuver called a wrap and twist to make the rows seamless, so you don’t end up with a bunch of weird little holes in your work. Knitty has a good explanation with pictures, and you can check out a video here:
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Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s practice.
If you don’t want to commit to a sweater just yet, try and make the Calorimetry headband. It takes less than a skein of yarn, and if you don’t want to buy a button, you can skip that part and simply sew it together to make a pullover headband. I made one awhile ago, which for some reason turned out huge (I think I used the wrong size needles). Ch-check it out:
That’s it! Short rows are really easy once you get the hang of them, and they come in seriously handy if you need to shape your work. Good luck!
If you have any knitting-related questions or problems, please leave a comment. I can probably answer it right here, or maybe I’ll even dedicate a column to it in the future.