This week it’s all about short rows… unless you decide to go the cowl-less route and then your Olga’s Vest will look like the back of the vest…. both the front and the back will have the same drape. Here is a good image of the vest with the drape it would have if you skipped the cowl section. I have knitted an Olga’s Vest where I omitted the cowl section and I absolutely love the way it turned out. I would show you a photograph but I haven’t been looking very photogenic lately… sorry. When I get back home I’ll photograph it on the dress form for all to see.
One of the nice things about this pattern is that it allows you to easily customize very crucial parts. For example in the pattern I say to work X” from armhole and then start the cowl shaping. But what if you want to make sure this piece fits perfectly, or if you are in between bust measurements? Then what you want to do is try on your garment. The first armhole you make is your left armhole, so go ahead and try it on. Then slightly stretch your work and it should come to the center of your bust before you start the short row shaping. Slightly? What the hell is slightly? Don’t you hate it when patterns tell you to slightly stretch a swatch? I think everyone’s idea of slightly stretched is different…. right? So what does it mean in this case… you really don’t want to stretch this garment too much. If you feel that you are pulling it several inches, then double that and consider that’s how much negative ease your garment will have. The picture below shows how I measured this piece on myself… it’s about 1/4″ smaller than what you see in this image below. This means that the most negative ease you would have for the fit of this garment is 1/2″… which is not very much so it should fit comfortably. Make sure to try this on as you get closer to the desired length because you don’t want to overshoot the measurement…. that would make for some very unhappy tinking.
When you are ready to start the cowl neck make sure you put in another lifeline. Make a note of the row where you placed your lifeline… just in case. It is very important (no matter how comfortable you are with the stitch pattern at this point) to put in a lifeline. The first time I worked this stitch pattern within short rows my stitch count changed…. this is baaaad news. This brings me to the second important point, count the number of stitches you have every time you are ready to work a RS row. Yes! One stitch makes a difference… especially if you lost it within your cowl. If your stitch count is off by one, this means that your cowl neck pattern will be off by two rows and that means that your pattern wont line up when you are ready to work the remainder of the body.
So how do you work short rows and still keep the integrity of your stitch pattern intact? Lets say, for example you have to work in a multiple of two stitches and the pattern tells you to work 11 sts and then w&t, that means you have one extra stitch that doesn’t fit into your stitch count…. so just knit it. What if your repeat is K2tog, Yo and you have to w&t a stitch after a Yo? So, work a w&t after a yo…. there are no rules against that. Everything is essentially the same but if you have an extra stitch before the w&t just knit it…. don’t worry, this will not make any difference in the final look of your pattern.
Another thing to keep in mind- I know many knitter’s have their favorite short row technique, as do I. Usually I prefer the Yo method, but for this pattern I have to say the w&t is the absolute best way to work the short rows! Oh! And one more tip!!! Place a locking marker after the stitch you are supposed to wrap, this will help you get keep track of where you are in your short row pattern. For example, if the pattern says K11, w&t – then place you marker in between the 12th & 13th. This will let you just work to one stitch before the marker and then w&t. Just move your marker along with you as you progress forward. If you prefer to work without a marker, then go for it!!! So… lets get started!
Work up to the stitch in pattern, bring your yarn to the front of the work in between your needles and slip the next stitch as if to purl.
Bring the yarn to the back of the work in between your needles, and slip the stitch from your right hand needle back onto your left hand needle as if to purl. Turn your work. Work back in pattern on the WS row in the corresponding pattern row. For example, if your first short row happened to fall on row 5 that means that after you turn your work you will be on row 6. Make sure to start your pattern on the WS in the place where it would start if you were working a complete row. An easy way to figure out where you would be is to find the Yo nearest you on your left hand needle and work backwards. In the third photo above, you can see the Yo is the second stitch from the end of the needle. The Yo stitches and all the stitches above the Yo are always purled on the WS row so just work back from that.
At the end of your first half of the short row shaping your piece should look this. Don’t let those short row gaps freak you out, they will go away next week. If you had a hard time with this weeks tutorial and are still feeling a bit funny on short rows I recommend Carol Feller’s FREE class on Craftsy that is all about short rows, click here for more info.
I hope this blog post made sense to everyone…. sometimes I wonder if it just makes sense in my head and not on paper. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. My sister and I booked a last minute trip to Barcelona this week and I am not sure abut our hotel WiFi situation…. hopefully there will be WiFi. If not, I come back on the 30th and will answer every single question upon my return. Happy knitting!!!