About a Ball

(or my obsession with short row shaping)

Some beginner knitters will only knit square things or at least flat things. In fact I know one knitter who would rather knit cables into a blanket than knit a raglan sleeve. This is not the NattyKnitter way.

As soon as I’d knitted my first blanket and scarf, I was onto hats and cardigans and I couldn’t learn enough about knitting round corners. I borrowed lots of pattern books from the library and always found myself drawn to the ones which were funny shapes. A cork screw scarf and a 19th century pattern for a baby ball were what finally introduced me to short row shaping and I’ve (as yet) been unable to exhaust it’s potential.

Short row shaping works on the basic concept that if you turn a piece of knitting before you get to the end of the row then knit back, you can make a triangle which can eventually be used to create a 3-dimensional shape. 3d shaping always comes down to triangles, ask any 3d-rendering expert, or Isosceles. Of course, because yarn is so soft the triangular edges are not hard enough to make squares and rectangles, however they can make, spheres, rings, cones, spirals, fans, ovoids and things shaped like bunny ears. I also understand that it’s used as an advanced method of shaping raglan sleeve edges and putting darts into cardigans.

This isn’t a “how to” blog entry, there was one of those yesterday and it had some short row shaping in it. This is a celebration of such a versatile and often underused form of knitting. Everything I make for the Etsy store during 2009 uses short row shaping. I hope by the end of the year that I’ll know it inside out.


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3 responses to “About a Ball

  1. What I always find with short row knitting is I end up with a line of little holes at the turning place – what am I doing wrong?

    • nattyknitter

      You know, the line of holes is a problem you can get around in a few ways:
      1. Only use garter stitch (the holes are much less obvious)
      2. Use garter stitch and then felt the finished item (which is what I usually do)
      3. If you simply *must* use stocking stitch, try knitting into the loop made by the yarn over, like this http://www.vogueknitting.com/node/332 you still get holes but they’re much smaller.

      I’ve actually just started using the knitting into the loop method for garter stitch toys which is how I’m hoping to get washable items which won’t felt.

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