Saturday, January 25, 2014

Khajiit Cowl: Those Pesky Short Rows

Love 'em or hate 'em, there's no getting around it: This cowl is loaded with short rows. Count them yourself: There are over 100 short row turns in this project! If you love the method you use to make them, you might as well move on: there's nothing for you here today. But, if you're like me and you despise the method you learned so much that you usually avoid projects that require short rows, then read on.

The method I learned (and thought I was stuck with) is the wrap-and-turn method. This requires the knitter to perform a series of maneuvers at the end of the row before turning the work. Moving the last stitch to the right hand needle, bringing the yarn to the front, moving the stitch back to the left needle, ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah. You know this method. The Dreaded Wrap and Turn Short Row. 

Forget all that. Poof, gone from your mind. 

Instead, knit to the point where you will turn the work, and then just turn the work. No nuthin'. Just flip it over. 

Then, do a very snug yarn over on the RIGHT hand needle (the yarn passes from front to back if you’re about to work a knit row, and from back to front if you’re about to work a purl row), then slip the first stitch from the left needle to the right needle, and continue on your merry way.  Julia Farwell-Clay uses this yarn-over short row in her Hiro sweater, which is where I learned it and instantly fell in love. 

When you encounter the yarn-over as you work back to it, check to be sure it's mounted correctly, then knit it together (or purl it together, as the case may be) with the stitch that follows it. Tada! No hole, no moving stitches around, no wrapping-and-turning, no knitting gymnastics of any kind. So simple. Just be sure the yarn-over is performed very tightly, and you won't have any gaps or holes to deal with. They are almost impossible to find in your work. 

Now, if you are also like me and need to see this for yourself, there is always a You Tube video out there for visual learners, and this particular one gets to the point rather quickly:

This is week three four of knitting the Khajiit Cowl, and it is slowly making the elegant bend that becomes the hood. I'm midway through the section labeled as Section Two in the pattern, where the cowl begins to resemble a giant sock heel. 
Side View of the Khajiit in progress after
completing the Section 2, Part 1 short rows. 

Yes, it's nerve wracking, especially since you work different sections of the cable pattern in Chart C on the same row. A chart or map is a must, as is tracking every single cable pattern completed on every single row or round. But this is such a lovely object that the end will definitely justify the means. 

Center Front
Center Back

I'm pretty sure I've reached the halfway point, hallelujah! There is one more complete set of the same short rows I've just completed to do, which concludes Section Two. Section Three is the home stretch.

Onward through the fog.  

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