Sunday, August 13, 2017

Design Series: Raven Rocks Scarf, Part 4 - Really Short Rows

A blue lifeline and short rows
I've been working with a tech editor for a new pattern that will be published in a magazine (a big magazine! I'm so excited!) and wow, there were a LOT of red marks. Ouch. That's difficult for someone like me who always tries to hard to be perfect. Each red mark is a reminder that I'm still so new to designing, but also that I'm human and make mistakes. That's a good thing to be reminded of.

And then I was reviewing what I've posted for Raven Rocks scarf pattern so far and, wow, I think I need a tech editor for even my blog posts. I also need a better way to organize the pattern as I work on it than sequential posts. I'm going to get confused and I'm only on part four. If I'm confused, you're probably confused, too.

So to fix a little omission from the last post, please work the 2nd lace increase chart twice, then rows 1 - 14 once more.

And now we can get started on the transition to just knitting the pattern without increasing. If we just stop increasing, the border won't block out nicely and evenly. I need to "bend" the border so that it will now go vertical instead of on an angle. We can achieve this through short rows. 

Short rows have been very popular in a lot of different patterns in the past few years, mostly for wedges of colors or patterns -- I'm thinking of Exploration Station or Color Affection shawls. I used short rows in Glady Creek Shawl and there are more short rows in my Venable Shawl that's currently in testing.

I have a long history with short rows and for a lot of years of knitting, I avoided them. There were wraps and turns and picking up wraps and more wraps and double wraps and picking up from the right side and picking up from the wrong side and I never really got the hang of it. I mostly used short rows in socks and just didn't like them. But one day, a knitter friend was working on a sweater, I think, and she was explaining German short rows. I checked it out and -- bam! -- hooked. I found them to be so easy that I don't even have to think about it anymore.

I'm not even going to try to explain how to work German short rows or write a tutorial. I learned from a great post at La Maison Rililie Designs' blog and it's the link I include in any pattern I write that has short rows. It's the kind of technique that involves a very short learning curve and then you'll never have to refer to the instructions again. It's just that intuitive.

For Raven Rocks scarf, we're going to use short rows only in the border section. Because we don't have to "bend" the border at a 90-degree angle, the short rows are extended by more than one stitch each time. We're also going to continue to work in pattern, so even though you're probably used to the border stitch pattern by now, you might need to refer to the chart more closely.

So again we have a border to show where the marker is and another border for the main repeat. Row 1 and Row 24 of the short row pattern go all the way across the scarf, including the lace section. These two rows are the next two rows in the lace pattern -- remember, we stopped the lace pattern mid-repeat.

You'll also notice a lot of "grey no stitch" stitches. That's because we're working short rows; Row 2 has only 3 stitches including the beginning yarn over. These rows go so fast!

You can also see that the short row stitch, the one where you do this "weird" pull-the-stitch-up-and-over movement, is marked by the sideways U. Don't forget to treat both "legs" of this weird stitch as one when you get to it on the next row. I've been known to use another symbol in the pattern to so the knitter can see where it's happening, like the chart below:

Both of these charts will work, the second one just adds a stitch that tells the knitter "hey, here's where the stitch I'm working into looks a little different and I need to be aware of that." I'm not sure which one knitters prefer. I should probably find out. Maybe I should ask knitters and then I'd know for future reference.

Okay, so I don't forget, you'll only work this chart once. That makes the short rows! Super easy and quick to do. If you've added extra repeats to your border stitches, this chart may not work perfectly and you might run into some problems. (This is where pattern design starts getting more complicated.) I do have a sneaking suspicion that, since the short rows are 24 rows long, and the border pattern repeat is 8 rows long, and 24 is evenly divisible by 8, you could continue the short rows until you reach the marker for no matter how wide your border pattern is, as long as you knit the full 8-row border increase repeat. Add a lifeline before you knit the short rows so you can rip back easily if needed.

Knitting is so cool.

Next time, we'll get back on track and switch to "boring" knitting.