Japanese Short-rows


Several months ago, while reading Knitting in the Old Way, I came across Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ description of how to work short-rows without wrapping the turning stitches.

It starts out in the usual fashion; every other row is worked a certain number of stitches shorter then the last. The usual short-row method requires the knitter to wrap the stitch at the turning point, but with this technique the first stitch after the turn is slipped and not wrapped. After all the short-rows have been worked, one last row is worked across all stitches, stopping at each of the row changes to close the gap by lifting the thread between the slipped stitch and it’s adjoining stitch onto the left needle to create a new stitch that will be knitted together with the next stitch.

Now doesn’t that sound complicated? It did to me, so at that time I filed it away in my mental knitting “to learn” list and didn’t give it much thought until I ran across Susanna Hansson’s Japanese short-row class offered at Acorn Street. I jumped at the chance to learn this from a skilled instructor.

Despite only having three registered students, Susanna went ahead and taught the class last night. I’m so glad that it wasn’t cancelled. Susanna is a wonderful instructor. She clearly communicates not only how to do the technique but why we should follow each step. Upon finishing the swatch she encouraged us to stop and analyze our knitting to figure out why this brilliant technique works so well. I’d encourage anyone to take one of her classes.

If you would like to learn more about how to do Japanese short-rows and can’t take one of her classes, there are a few references on the subject.

Knitting in the Old Way by Pricilla A. Gibson-Roberts mentions how to work these short-rows on the knit side while working in the round.

basic_crochet_knitBasic Crochet & Knit by Ondori has very clear diagrams that cover each step (page 36). I purchased this one to supplement the class handout.

Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley briefly mentions how to do this technique with a couple of pictures.

6 thoughts on “Japanese Short-rows

  1. I really wanted to go to that class but couldn’t make it this time around. I have the Scary Doll book so I should try to see if I remember how to do it before I shell out for the class!


  2. Lovely short rows you got there! I couldn’t take the class as I had some other plans.
    I have the scary doll book too…. Gotta go take a look.
    P.S. The guild I told you about is on Tues at 7p… I will be sure to tell you when the next one is if you can’t make it. (I think you told me that already.) 😉


  3. I love using this type of short rows. A member of my knitting guild teaches this and it makes the short rows neat and clean.
    I’m currently trying this out for doing the shortrows on socks. It’s working fine on the knit side of the fabric where you knit the stitch and the loop for behind. The purl side is being a pain though. I’m getting elongated stitches, and it’s leaving a gap. I have to trying this again and figure out what isn’t working.
    I like doing toe-up socks, so I’d like to be able to use this shortrow method with them.
    Have a great week there and good knitting!


  4. Hi everyone.
    Yes, this short row method is the absolute best for shaping shoulders. I hope to give some more details about it in the future.
    Danny, I was thinking of trying to use it for socks but figured it might not work after reading Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ comment; “Do not stack the turns so that they are on top of each other. In order to have a smooth angle on the joining row, the individual short-row turns must be spread apart by a few stitches.” When I knit socks with short-rows I use PGR’s technique in her Simple Socks book.


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