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The Technique: Short Rows!

As with every technique in the series so far, I’ve found that Jen Arnall-Culliford’s crystal-clear explanation of short rows (in the video at the top of this post) zaps away that fog. I get it! I get short rows!

I will knit short rows in a house!

I will knit short rows with a mouse!

I will knit them wrap & turnin’!

I will knit them like a German!

What I’m trying to say: in this video you will learn two techniques for short rows: the wrap-and-turn method, and German short rows, which are just as straightforward, but the kind of cleverness that makes you wonder how on earth someone thought of it the first time.

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The Project: A Woolly WormheadTM Hat!

Designer Woolly Wormhead describes herself as a Hat Architect, and with good reason. I can think of no other designer who has explored hats so thoroughly: upside-down, inside-out, backwards and sideways.

Ms. Wormhead plays with the three-dimensionality of hats in a truly joyful way. We are thrilled that A Year of Techniques was able to snag one of these inventive designs:

The slipped stitches are fun to work, and a distinctive design element, but the point of this pattern is to practice short rows, and to appreciate how easy short rows are in garter stitch. In garter stitch, you do not have to knit the wraps together with their stitches: who knew?


  • Thank you for your Birthday coupon. I ordered the Aran yarn for this hat looking forward to casting on & really learning short rows!

  • Waiting for my book (Techniques and Log Cabin) to arrive … my MDK shipping notification came yesterday (that free shipping was the instant impetus…)

    Bear With! Love the “Miranda” reference…..
    (love that WLIW is showing Miranda again ….)

  • Kudos for the Miranda reference! I often wish I could use “Bear with… bear with…” in daily conversation, but nobody I know has seen the show. (I live in the US.)

  • I’m with you – I follow short row instructions blindly. I used German short rows in a sweater last year, and thought they turned out better than wrap and turn, but the idea of converting a pattern from w&t to German was daunting. I’m hoping Jen can help make this all clear to me!

  • Cute hat! Another to the queue….
    PS appreciating the short row ode to Dr Suess too! xox

  • I am completely in love with Jen Arnall-Culliford and her gentle reassuring way of teaching! Like you, Kay, I am ” mired in low-level anxiety until the [insert new technique(s) here] are done.” For me, most recently, it was corrugated ribbing. As with many of those anxiety-producing new-to-me techniques, it was easy, once I got into the rhythm of it. But it would have been easier with Jen’s calm presence beside me! I think I need to practice those German short rows with Jen well before my next project!

  • Loved reading this will have to try the wooly hat

  • That Kay-I-Am, that Kay-I-Am
    How I do love you Kay-I-Am!

    (and Wooly Wormhead and Jen, too)

    Short rows always make me uneasy, because I’ve seen too many different ways of doing them without understanding why each one is done a different way. I use them in designing stockinette crescent shawls, and I fiddled until I made it look the way I wanted and then kept using it. No wrap and turn.

    But this video and hat will go a long way in helping me make peace with the short row. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for this video on knitting short rows . I taught myself how to knit , and this just reading it was so confusing. I actually did it right , but was afraid that I wasn’t doing it right .

  • Thank you so much for this. It’s amazing how there’s so many different ways to get to the end results, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
    And thank you also for showing us, no matter how many years of experience we may have, there’s still much learning each and everyone of us can do, which adds to the excitement of the craft itself.
    There never needs to be a dull or boring moment in knitting-if you’re willing to open up your mind and embrace that philosophy.

  • As always, your instructions are extremely clear and take the tension out of my knitting frustration. Thank you.

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