The Secret to Knitting Better Short Rows

Do you find it hard to keep track of short rows? Maybe you find it tricky working out where to stop and turn? Do you end up doing a lot of counting as you knit the row to make sure that you’re turning in the right place?

If so, then have a little read of my tips below where I share my secret to working short rows more quickly and accurately (shhhh … the secret is using lockable stitch markers!).

1. When you’re using a marker to help you keep track of short rows, choose a distinctive lockable marker so that you don’t get mixed up with any other markers in your knitting. In the examples below I’ve used gold markers to mark the repeats of the pattern, and I’ve chosen a purple marker along with animal markers to mark the short rows, making it easier to distinguish the short row markers from the pattern markers.

2. Use markers to identify where the last short row turns happened. Where you place the markers will depend on which type of short row you’ve used: if you’ve worked German short rows then you could place the marker on the ‘double stitch’ or if you’ve used the ‘wrap and turn’ method then you could mark the wrapped stitch. These markers will help you quickly count how many short rows you’ve worked, which is especially handy if your pattern asks you to repeat the short rows another x number of times.

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In this example, I’ve marked the wrapped stitches with distinctive animal markers so I can see, at a glance, that I’ve worked two wrap and turns so far.

3. If the short row instructions in your pattern say something like “knit to 7 sts before the last wrapped stitch [or turn, or double stitch]” you can place a marker in that spot before you begin working the next row.

A897F526-D016-4D50-A1C2-EC9E09D43F1AFor example, in the photo above, the previous wrapped stitch is marked with the bird marker and the instructions say “knit to 7 stitches before the previously wrapped stitch” so I’ve placed the purple marker in the spot where I need to stop and wrap and turn. This means that I can easily work along to that marker without having to stop and repeatedly count and check as I’m knitting the row.

4. When your knitting pattern has the short rows written out line by line (rather than asking you to repeat the short rows x number of times), you can also use a marker to mark where the wrap and turn (or double stitch for German Short Rows) will be. Before you begin to work the next row, simply count along the number of repeats or stitches that you’re asked to work before turning, and place a distinct marker accordingly.

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In this example, from my Quiescence Shawl (Ravelry link) pattern, I’ve used gold markers to mark the repeats in the patterning. The next instruction is “[K to m, sm] 3 times, k2, w&t.” I can count along 3 repeats of the “k to m, sm” instruction, and place the purple marker 2 sts further along to the left, as this is the point where I’ll need to wrap and turn the next stitch. Again, by adding a distinct marker before I begin working the row, I don’t have to count as I go. I can now easily work along until I reach the marker and then do the wrap and turn.

If you’d like to know more about working a wrap and turn, then have a look at the video tutorial for my Quiescence Shawl pattern here. You can buy a copy of the pattern in my Ravelry store here.

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The beautiful yarn in these photos is Kettle Yarn Co.’s Northiam Fingering in the Samphire colourway.

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