Ask Patty: The Long and the Short of It

July 5, 2019

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  • Thank you so much! I’ve been waiting for this information for my whole (knitting) life!

    • Great concise explanation! Can’t wait to see the next article explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of short rows and when to use them. Thank you for this information!

  • This is the best way to measure for bust darts that I have ever personally encountered (although I suppose there may be others equally good that I might have missed out on). It just makes so much sense to me AND is easy to understand and do. Thank you so much!.

  • I am knitting Marin Melchior’s Butterfly/Papillon right now. It looks like quite a fancy pants bit of knitting but it is really just garter short rows (plus a genius pattern designer; it is the actual knitting that is quite simple). When I was buying the materials, I commented that I prefer German short rows and the shop owner reminded me that it is garter so I do not really even need to pick up the wraps in W & T. She is correct and I have been flying through the shawl as a result. I am looking forward to a future post where you discuss the suitability of the different methods for various circumstances.

  • Thank you! This beats the heck out of “throw in some short rows, if needed.”

    • Haha haha!

  • This is brilliant! I am getting ready to knit a sweater for myself (yay), and this information will be very helpful. Patty, you are amazing, as always!

  • That was great! But I am still left wondering where/when to start putting this trapezoid of shapin in. Your excellent diagram shows it below the armhole shaping -how much below? I get that I am going to need to measure from shoulder down my bosom towards my bra band but then I get stuck. If I am putting in a 2” dart, then I am guessing I need to split the difference so it is 1” above and 1” below my “boobington” (not wishing to upset the sensibilities of the editors…)

    • For bottom up start at under bust and go from longest to shortest short row.
      Bottom up: Subtract back/ shoulder to under bust measurement from over all length garment length.

      For top down start at widest part of bust and go from shortest to longest short row.
      Top down: start them around 2” after the armhole divide (NOTE: you will be hiding
      each wrap as you pass)

  • Isabell Kraemer uses short rows on the back of sweaters. See Humulus. I’ve not been able to figure out why. Can you help?

    • If it’s a top down pattern that’s knit in the round and the neck is joined from the start, short rows are worked across the back to bring the front neck down. Our heads are mounted towards the front of our body, so by working a few extra rows across the back you will avoid that unfortunate bunching of fabric under the neck.

  • As best as I can remember, when I knit my first pair of socks the short rows at the heel turn were a simple turn, no wrap. Instead of leaving a hole when you came back to that stitch you knit it together with the next stitch on the needle and that closed the gap.

    When I do wrap and turn, it is tough to know how to treat the wrapped stitch when you get back to it on the following row. I recently consulted a video that showed that there was a different way to treat it if you were on a knit row vs if you were on a purl row. I consulted the video because most instructions tell you how to make a wrap for the wrap and turn, but they don’t tell you what to do with that wrapped stitch when you get back to it on the next row. It makes me kind of buggy.

    • Hmmm . . . I haven’t come across a pattern that doesn’t define that in the techniques (certainly not mine!). How you hide the wrap depends on whether you move the stitch first and then the yarn vs the yarn first and then the stitch. I prefer moving the stitch first and then the yarn. The wrap is basically a stitch lying on it’s side. If you think about it as entering the “stitch” (the wrap lying on it’s side) and working it together with the stitch on your needle, then the instructions make more sense and you will SEE it rather then memorizing it.

  • Patty Lyons, when is your book coming out? Have you already done an article on bust measurements and ease??

    • I have on my website. Don’t forget to send those questions in. I’m more of a video class gal then a book gal.

  • Brilliant explanation of bust darts! A lightbulb just appeared above my head.

  • This is a beautifully clear graph. I’m still not clear exactly though, how to proceed. Knit up to the the bottom of your bus line, in a bottom-up sweater. Mark off the nipple to nipple section, in this case 54 stitches. Proceed to do short rows, doing a wrap and turn every three stitches?

    • I think it might mean, on the first short row, knit the 23 and 54 sts wrap and turn the next st. Purl back across 54 center sts then wrap and turn the next st. The first (longest) short row set for a bottom up sweater front is done. The second set will wrap and turn at the stitch 3sts inside the first one (so at stitch 53?) and the next one at stitch 51?

      How to resolve the short rows on the purl side is what befuddles me completely.

      • Thanks, Chris! I think you are right and that does make sense.

      • You got it!! I have videos on hiding the wraps in both knit & purl on YouTube.

  • Thank you, Patty! I love your swatch with all the different kinds of short rows. I think German short rows are much less obvious than the traditional w&t, but now I want to try the others.

    I’ve switched to doing your one move ssk too. Still not as neat as a k2tog but better than the traditional slip, slip, knit.

  • Thank you so much for this excellent explanation. I’m going to start a pair of socks soon and will use short rows for the heel.
    I can’t believe that dress! I sew and would never make anything like that. Of course, if she were wearing a bra that might have helped.

  • I would like to chime in here simply to say that i loved that Anne Hathaway dress in concept and was supermad that her stylist didn’t do her right.

  • Excellent article. Thank-you.

  • Thank you so much for the short row bust darts information! I am one of those who is amply endowed and have only ever knit cardigans since I usually leave them open. Now I can knit pullover tops with confidence that they will fit!

    I’m curious to know if I can apply this same math to cardigans (just to even things up the next time).

    • You sure can!!

  • Another reason to love you, Patty! Thank you!

  • Fabulous! Thank you! And the pic of Anne perfection! Too bad that fancy designer didn’t have your knowledge! And that Anne didn’t have a mirror, apparently.

  • Whoa! This article was so very helpful! This is the kind of article which will help me graduate from Intermediate knitter to Expert! I will most certainly be following you Ms. Patty and the MDK articles from here on out! Thank you!

  • An off topic question … when, and why, did you change your name, from Modern Daily Knitting?
    I recently realised your articles hadn’t shown in my Google feed.
    I’m so happy you found your way back.
    Stay safe .
    God bless
    Christine in Los Angeles