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Recently, I posted on the Pratchett Project about my evil plan to knit a finished object using a yarn that has lengths spun from three different coloured batts, using short rows to force one of the colours to pool. I had a few comments that suggested that short rows are scary or difficult but I really think that it’s just a matter of not having tried them. I’ve had to use short rows in two patterns I’ve knit so far. The first was Ilga Leja’s Lady of the Forest, where the short rows are used to subtly shape the neckline of the shawl.

The second was Berocco’s Harry Bear pattern, which used the short rows in a much less subtle way to shape the bear’s belly, bum, feet and face.

It was this project that really enlightened me to the use of short rows and how they work, and why you would want to use them in a knitted object. Knitted things can hang so badly if their construction doesn’t fit well on the wearer, and since most of us aren’t built like boxes, is it any wonder that a little shaping makes the world of difference between a knitted garment that fits, and one that looks god-awful?

Short rows are really easy, even for a novice knitter like me. Like so many concepts in knitting, once you get your head around the idea of why you’d want to do it, they become a lot more intuitive. But, because I’m a novice knitter, I’m not going to attempt to explain to you just how to do it – instead, I want to show you this very clear, very helpful youtube offering from Knitpicks.

See? It’s so easy! Another really good site I found while googling on y’all’s behalf was at KnittingHelp, where it mentions more uses for the short row. All these fancy construction and shaping uses make my little colour-obsessed swatch look a bit plain now, don’t they!