On Saturday evening, to ease the depression of being back in the cold (and losing Carl to his job a full 2 days early), I cast on Carol Sunday’s Acorns. This is a gorgeous top-down, seamless yoke design made all the merrier by the addition of some pretty clever short rows worked into the acorn stitch pattern. I admire the way Carol has managed to use the short rows to lengthen the ‘acorns’ as they move across the back of the yoke. I think this is a lovely way to manipulate the scale of the acorn motifs while adding to the depth of the yoke where extra depth is required. This and a provisional cast-on allow for a very clean neck edge which will eventually be picked up for the pretty neck edging.
Couple things, though…
First, I’ve never had much luck with the crochet-and-pick-up-the-bumps provisional cast-on. I get it, it just feels awkward and picky. I prefer to knit a few rows with waste yarn in a contrasting color, then begin with my project yarn (a la Eunny Jang). When I’m ready to pick up my live stitches again, I’ll simply snip away the waste yarn. I like this method because I’ve found it makes for more consistent tension on the first row.
Second, the short row strategy prescribed in the pattern is not my favorite. Ysolda has a great tutorial for this method, which is basically a Japanese short row, but frankly I find it laborious…all that fiddling with bits of waste yarn and safety pins. I much prefer the shadow wrap or twin stitch method. Alice Yu over at Socktopus Unplugged claims to have ‘unvented’ it, but I’ve seen it kicking around for years. She has a very clear tutorial on her blog. It is the method I prefer to use when working a short row sock heel and the method I teach in my Sock Camp workshop. It is very simple, requires no wrapping and no counting because the shadow-wrapped stitches are easy to spot, and produces a virtually imperceptible turn even in the midst of a field of stockinette. I’ve substituted this system for Carol’s and feel like I’ve gotten off easy 🙂
The simpler the better where short rows are concerned, say I. When working in garter stitch, I love the elegant SWR (Slip, Wrap, Replace) technique I’ve been finding in Elizabeth’s patterns. This method is invisible, with the turns hidden in the garter stitch bumps, and there is no cumbersome resolve on the way back. See how the short rows blend in to the gentle drape of the shawl collar? Love it!