short rows

Russian Fudge Arbutus



Have you ever made Russian Fudge? If you're from New Zealand you may have. You've probably tasted it at least. Russian Fudge is the Myrtle family's go to recipe for teachers' gifts. It includes condensed milk and cooks to the colour of, well, the colour of my Arbutus cowl. It's my favourite flavour of fudge, by a long shot.

I'm very pleased with my Russian Fudge coloured cowl.  And, thanks to the very lovely Georgie Hallam aka Tikki on Ravelry, I have now become acquainted with quite possibly the best short rows I have ever come across. After my recent rather dismal short rows Georgie dropped me a line telling me about German short rows. (Have you come across Georgie? Remember I recently knitted a couple of her very pretty patterns for my girls? If you're interested you can find them here and here.) Well, after all that designing, I felt sure Georgie knew what she was talking about. So, when Georgie said "try German short rows", I set out to try them.

Arbutus is full of short rows and I've read several comments about people getting unseemly holes with the wrap and turn method suggested. I thought I'd try Georgie's suggestion, found a couple of very good youtube videos (here and here) demonstrating German short rows, and had a go. FANTASTIC! But look, you can see for yourself ...


Pretty good huh! You can see where I've turned my knitting and knitted extra knit rows around the front loops in between the purl ridges - there's a sort of line running down the left side of the looped pieces. But no gigantic holes. It's very neat.

I've since used them on my Flowing Lines sweater, to shape the shoulder caps, and they're great for that too. Go on, try them!

In case you're wondering, my Arbutus is knitted in squidgy Mirasol Tuhu yarn, colourway number 2007, which I'm calling "Russian Fudge". It's 50% baby lama, 40% merino, 10% angora blend, hence the halo. Although a DK weight yarn, it's knitted on 5mm needles (US9) so the fabric has a ton of spring and drapes beautifully. It's great on ... you'll see soon :)

You can find my Russian Fudge Arbutus on Raverly here.

Coming up Short

Aviatrix 1

Aviatrix 1

Aviatrix 1

My knitting for Outfit 1 is done, so I'm squeezing in a couple of wee hats for two new baby girls before starting Outfit 2. This little bit of rose pink is an Aviatrix hat, a free pattern by Justin Turner of Just Jussi. I think I may be the last person on Ravelry to knit an Aviatrix - there are thousands of projects for this hat and, after finishing one, I can see why. It looks so cute on a tiny head! I am a huge fan of baby bonnets and helmets at the best of times and my four lucky babies had a never-ending supply thanks to my Mum who is also a huge fan :) But, we never had an Aviatrix, because neither of us came across this pattern in time (I'll have to remember it for my grandchildren!).

The pattern is knit flat and begins with the ribbing around the face. It's then shaped with a series of short row wedges and lastly you knit the longer ribbing for the back of the neck. Stitches are picked up along each side to form the earflaps and strap. It's quick, flexible and did I mention ever so cute?

I decided to try some new short rows for the wedges which I found here. They're invented by Socktopus who named them "shadow wraps". In her instructions they look super neat. Disappointingly, mine don't. Well, they do, but only on one side. See the top photo? Terrible. I thought the wee holes would block out, but they didn't. The next two photos are the other side and it's much better.

So my question to you all is - what is your favourite method for short rows? For the second hat I thought I'd try to improve. There's a fabulous free Craftsy tutorial on short rows by Carol Feller which I watched ages ago but I can't remember all the methods and I haven't had time to sit and watch it again. So, I'm counting on you guys to give me a new method to try!

You can find my project notes on Ravelry here, but briefly; 

  • The pattern calls for sport (five ply), DK or worsted weight yarn. I used Rowan Pure Wool 4ply (heavy fingering) with 3mm & 3.25mm needles and knit the 3 month size. It fits a biggish seven week old baby;
  • I picked up my stitches for the earflaps on the right side and then knit an extra row before continuing with the pattern as written. It's much neater that way (for me anyway);
  • After trying this hat on one of the babies I'm knitting for, I'm going to do an extra wedge in the next hat because I think it'll fit slightly more snuggly;
  • I didn't knit the strap quite as long as suggested in the pattern and I think a lovely variation would be two long straps tied in a bow to one side of the chin rather than a single strap and a button.

Finally, I knit this on some straight needles. I just felt like it. But, after using circulars for so long I have obviously adopted some odd habits, like dropping my left needle at the end of the row... it just plummeted to the floor time and time again! 

Don't forget to tell me about your favourite short rows... this hat is getting a button and then I have to get cracking with the next one :)

Sweet knit - finished!

sweet knit

What a sweet knit! I barely began it before this little cardy was done. It positively whipped off the needles and two seams, a lovely big button, and two snaps later, it was finished! 
I took an executive decision, and didn't block it. This yarn isn't really suitable for blocking and it already looked perfect, all fluffed up like that.

sweet knit

Nelly loves it. Well, who wouldn't?

sweet knit

It's like candy floss. And, it matches her little stove.

sweet knit

From a mummy's point of view, it's a perfect light layer and is a lovely shape at the front and over the sleeves.
 But, it falls forward, making it rise up slightly at the back. I think it would benefit from a bit of shaping along the bottom of the back to compensate -
just to be a fusspot ;)

sweet knit

Overall, it's quick and it's sweet and it does the trick. And, Zoë has decided she wants one too. But not in pink. 

And, by the way - If you are tempted to knit short rows, I've found the most perfect Veera shawl. Threepumpkinslittle has made a fabulous Color Affection. Short row after short row in the most beautiful colours. So off you go, check it out! 

Sweet knit

Sweet knit

I've cast on this sweet easy knit by Bergere. I've even gone the whole hog and bought their cerise fluffy yarn!

I'm usually a bit of a yarn snob, preferring natural fibres, and this yarn really is not - it is only 11% wool. The rest is man-made. But, its saving grace is that it is super soft, squishy and feathery. And, while it may not be my first choice of colour, it certainly is eye-catching and, you know? only hot pink will do for some little girls...

This lightweight, short-sleeved cardy will be perfect for the fresh spring weather we're having at the moment.

It's garter stitch, knitted from side to side and crammed full of short! See the way it grows on one side? That's the beauty of short rows. They are little rows popped into your knitting that don't go the width of your normal row. You stop knitting part way through the row and turn your work to knit back again.
By inserting short rows you can almost invisibly add soft angles, shaping at the bust or tummy, roundness to shoulders, curves to hems, or darts. Sock heels? Short rows!
Some short rows lie entirely in the middle of your usual rows creating a bulge, others (like mine) are knitted along the edge and create the look of a wedge inserted into your knitting.
My short rows give a swinging fullness to the sweet knit cardigan. It is fitted at the neck and flares out down the body to the bottom. I've just started the left sleeve and the short rows will ensure that it falls over the shoulder like a cap sleeve.

I've only discovered short rows in the last couple of years and what a revelation they've been. Lots of designers use them and with a bit of practice, you can use them to customise your own knits.

My sweet knit pattern uses the "turn, yarn to the back, slip as if to purl and then knit the stitch with the wrap" variety of short row. Confused? It sounds harder than it is. There are numerous methods to do short rows, and different ways depending on whether you are knitting or purling the row. Most sound much trickier than they actually are.

I've got several books that explain short rows really well: Ysolda's Little Red in the City and Kristina McGowan's Modern Top-Down Knitting both have very clear step-by-step illustrations. There are also very comprehensive instructions on how to knit a variety of short rows at TECHknitting.
Let me know if you have another great link that you use.

I've been shaping the cardy with short rows in a fairly radical fashion, and it is proving quite addictive to knit. I did mean to stop and take photos sooner....but I couldn't stop! And quick! Wow, this thing grows like a weed...

Photo used with permission from 

 Photo used with permission from

Short rows are pretty popular in lots of designs these days. Maybe you've tried them yourself?

I am a huge fan of the knitwear designer Veera Välimäki. Many knitters rave about her wraps and shawls shaped with short rows. I love these two of hers pictured above. They are beautiful and her colour choices are spot on. Some people have knitted one, after another, after another!

Like pretty much all of Veera's patterns, I have drooled over her shawls and wraps and thought they were fabulous, but I didn't quite get the total compulsion to drop everything and knit them right now. Certainly not more than one... I think now I am starting to understand why. Not only is her use of colour appealing, the shawls are totally full of those very addictive short rows.
Details about the pattern and yarn for my sweet knit can be found on my Ravelry page.

In the meantime, I'm back to knitting those short rows.
Join me anyone?!