Carol: I had been thinking about doing another knit book with a publisher a couple of years ago. I self-publish smaller pattern books myself but this time I wanted to do something bigger. I envisioned a book that combined a technique workshop with patterns. If a knitter invests in a knitting book I wanted it to be one that they would refer to for years to come, even after they had knit the patterns. I had been tossing different ideas around and it was the editor at Potter Craft that suggested short rows. This actually make perfect sense, I had already done a free mini short row class on Craftsy and almost every pattern I write uses short rows in some way! From here I started thinking about what information was missing about short rows; there are lots of different techniques out there, how do you decide which one to use? How can you control the slope of your knitting with short rows? What happens when you don’t have stockinette stitch? You don’t see short rows detailed in reverse stockinette stitch, ribbing or even lace very often. But we knit with all these stitches!
So the book was designed to answer these questions, with patterns that knitters really wanted to knit. From here I put the basic structure of the book together, dividing it into 3 sections. First the technique section with patterns to practice on. The next section is all about creating shapes; sloping shawls, short row heels and the crown of hats. The final section is all about garments and how to use short rows to shape different parts of the garment body. As the tutorials developed the patterns grew up around them. The initial work was finished by last summer; written, knit and technically edited. Then over the summer we did all the photography, a few of the knits needed a few tries! Then from last September on the publisher was working on layout and illustrations. The photos of the technical swatches needed to be redone, which was a steep learning curve for us! And here we are in September 2015 with an actual finished book :-)
L: So, exactly how many different ways are there to short row? I know you go over this in the book, but can you give a short synopsis here?
Carol: I show 4 different methods in to book, the traditional wrap & turn (plus my variation for improving it), Japanese, yarnover and German. There are of course other ways of working short rows but the basic idea of how they work remains the same.
With wrap & turn, when you turn your work you wrap the yarn around the next stitch. This wrapped yarn is later used to close the gap. Traditionally you just work the stitch and the wrap together, when I work it I dismantle it and put the wrap behind to ensure that it is hidden.
Japanese short rows use holder for that yarn loop. This holder can be a stitch marker, safety pin or even a strip of waste yarn. I even detail in the book how you can use a single strip of yarn to hold several closely spaced short rows. When you join a Japanese short row the method you use is exactly the same as for the wrap & turn method.
The third method shown is the yarnover method. As before you use a loop of yarn when you turn to join the short row. The only difference is that you use a yarn over (effectively holding the yarn loop on the needle) to join the short row gap.
The final method is German short rows. This one is interesting as it doesn’t use a yarn loop but instead turns the work and then effectively pulls the stitch from the row below up. This reduces the visibility of the gap between the different rows. This method is very useful when your work is viewed from both sides.
Other variations of short rows that I’ve seen use other ways of pulling up the row below to join the gap, once you know what you’re trying to achieve I’d suggest knitters experiment to see what they can create!
|Diamante from Short Row Knits|
Carol: Short rows at their most basic are just rows you don’t knit to the end; you knit to the point you want to turn, turn your work and then work in the other direction. What changes with each method is HOW you join that turn. This is where knitters often get confused; everyone claims to have the best method! I think it’s most important to understand what you’re trying to do then you can pick the best method to use in different situations.
Carol: That’s like asking who your favorite kid is :-)! I do however know what one’s I’d most like to wear; Riyito and Jiminez . I’m currently very in to loose, oversized, flowing sweaters so these two would fit right into my wardrobe!
Carol: Well it’s not really much of a story but my quest for well-fitted short row sock heel took a bit of time! I loved the idea of short row heels in socks, the basics seemed so simple. However every time I’ve tried to knit a short row heel pattern I ran into a problem – I can’t fit it over my heel! I’ve got a very high instep and without a gusset a hand knit sock really doesn’t fit. This meant that I did an awful lot of sock experimenting. It resulted in two sock patterns; Arenal a ribbed cable sock that is knit from the toe up and Claro a plain vanilla cuff down sock.
L: The photos in your books are stunning... and they all have a very similar style. I always know when a photo is of one of your designs as your look is iconic. Tell us more about your photographer? (Hint: Does he also cook dinner?)
Carol: Well occasional dinner! It is indeed my husband, Joseph, who does my photography. As I’ve been learning to design he’s been learning to photograph, he is primarily a university professor and photography is something he does in his free time. He’s got a great eye and is very good at getting models to relax (the kids particularly like him!).
L: How long have you been knitting? Do you have any other craft you do on the side?
Carol: I learned to knit as a small child, I don’t remember actually learning! When I was in primary school I knit a lot for my dolls and a few garments for myself but once I hit my teens I stopped. It was after my fourth son was born that I picked up needles again. I was very quickly obsessed and within a few months I was designing.
At the moment time is my most precious commodity, there’s never enough of it! Certain things have been getting easier as the boys get older but from 2 until 5 or 6 every day I’m driving them around in circles to activities. We live in the country so there are no school buses, which means I spend far too much time on the road. I long to devote time to learn sewing but I just don’t have the hours or mental bandwidth to do that at the moment. It’s on my bucket list though!
L: If a knitter walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Carol: Have fun and don’t be afraid of mistakes! Experimenting and pushing your own boundaries are so important. Don’t get too hung up on getting things perfect as it makes it harder to try new things.
L: Ok... totally off topic... you got a PUPPY? He's adorable! Tell us more?
Carol: Well you see I though I had too much spare time on my hands so obviously I needed a puppy! We’ve got a wonderful older dog (he’s almost 11) that needed some company and when the local adoption agency tweeted a photo of Lizzie I completely fell in love. She’s super cute, bitey and doesn’t like to sleep very much at night but we just adore her!
|Lizzie and Kenny snoozing together!|
Time for a giveaway...
Potter Craft has generously donated a copy of Short Row Knits to giveaway to one of you! Have you worked short rows before? Were you successful? Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Sept 29th, don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I randomly choose a winner next week and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post!
Last week's winners...
Congrats to SleekyMom and BadJeanne!!! Get in touch to claim your yarn for Phi For YOU!!!!