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Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Short rows are a knitting technique that involves turning your work before reaching the end of a row, creating extra rows in a specific area of your project. This technique allows you to create curved or shaped pieces without the need for increasing or decreasing stitches. Short rows are often used in garment construction, such as in creating the bust shaping of a sweater, the shaping of a shawl or scarf, or to work the heel of a sock.

There are different ways to work short rows in knitting, including wrap and turn, German short rows, and Japanese short rows. Each technique creates a slightly different effect, so it's worth trying a few to see which works best for your project.

Japanese short rows are a type of short row technique that involves using a double stitch to create a smooth and seamless transition between rows. This technique is often used in delicate yarns, such as unspun yarn, where traditional wrap and turn short rows or German short rows may create an unsightly gap or even break the thread due to friction or over-stretch of the fiber.

The Japanese short-row technique is known for its simplicity and efficiency. Instead of wrapping the yarn around the stitch and turning the work, as in traditional wrap and turn short rows, or pulling the yarn to make a double stitch, as in the German short rows, you simply slip the stitch and place a removable marker in the working yarn. Then you turn the work and leave the stitch marker hanging on the wrong side. When all the short rows are finished, it’s time to pick up and close the turning holes. To do so, you must pull the marker and place the loop in the working needle. You will work this loop with the next stitch making an invisible join.

Another benefit of Japanese short rows is that they are relatively easy to work once you understand the basic technique. Unlike wrap-and-turn short rows, which can be fiddly and require careful attention to avoid gaps or dropped stitches, Japanese short rows are quick and straightforward. This makes them a great option for knitters of all skill levels, including beginners.

Fisherman's Woman Sweater by Vanessa Pellissa
© Vanessa Pellissa

If you are looking for a pattern that has them directly integrated, I recommend The Fisherman’s Woman Sweater by Vanessa Pellissa. This pattern was my first experience with Japanese short rows.

You can also substitute German short rows with any other technique anytime. Don’t be shy! Dare to modify your patterns with the techniques you love!



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