Here’s a sampling of the mail I’ve been getting from you shapelies out there:
From Jennifer:"I'm a busty gal and I've heard of doing short row shaping to eliminate the weird fit around my armpits. How do you modify an existing pattern to add short row darts?"
From Patricia:"My question is: Can you explain how to add short row shaping to an existing pattern to help out those of us who could use a little ease in the chest area? I could do without that unflattering underarm wrinkle. If you could answer this question, you'd be doing a great service for the anti-Kate Mosses everywhere."
What are short rows?
Ahh, a wonderful technique that no knitter should be without. Short rows make curves or soft angles on the mostly straight-edged, flat-paneled knitting landscape.
Short row shaping accomplishes this by partially knitting an existing row to a pre-determined stitch count, wrapping a stitch without knitting it, then turning the work and working back to the same (or another) count, and wrapping and turning again.
This adds rows within the body of the garment without increasing stitches, or casting-on more stitches.
Most importantly, you're not changing the overall shape of the exterior of the garment but selectively adding length or a curved area (depending on the stitch counts and rows worked).
Short row shaping can also eliminate the step effect you get when you bind off shoulders. If a pattern has instructions for binding off stitches over several rows, short row shaping can be used instead over those incremental stitch counts to create a smooth angled edge instead.
Or they can make sock heels elegantly curved.
OR, and this is where we are going to live for a while, short rows can add some curve if you got the nerve.
A little cuppage created right into your garment might just be the difference between gaping armholes, an un-intended ride-up by your belly button, or having to make a size larger that fits your chest but sags on your hips and shoulders, because the garment is just too big.
This is an easy, sophisticated, non-obtrusive technique.
"I think I have a major learning disability here with short rows. I've tried them in the past and I just can't wrap my mind around them. I can't stand it when I can't learn from a book but I don't know anyone who knows how to do this either and I can't seem to break into the clique at the local yarn shop when all I have in my basket is a couple of balls of sock wool."
Ah, my poor neglected online knitter – La Bonne Tricotuese is here to the rescue!
And joining us for this marvelous exercise in body-sculpting is prima designer Joan McGowan-Michael from White Lies Designs.