I am so excited. I think I finally have short rows figured out. Now, I've always (by "always" I mean "for a couple of months") known how to do them when they are included in a pattern, but I was always surprised by the sort of shape they would make...knitting along, trusting the pattern, and always in suspense until the garment was done. Sophy is always working short rows into her projects -- and every time she would tell me, "Oh, I'm just going to use short rows to shape such-and-such," or "Hey, you could totally use short rows to do that," I smiled and nodded, but really had no idea how the heck she had figured out how it would work.
Until last week. Enter my semi-secret baby sweater.
When I had finished the body of this little guy and had done up all the seams, I simply picked up all the stitches around the front, back, and arms, and did a few rows of 1x1 rib. When I had bound off, I realized I had a major problem -- there was no way a baby's head was going to fit through that tiny neck opening. Maybe a fetus', but not a baby's. I sat there and stared for awhile, thinking, "What if I pulled out a few rows and made a little u-neck, with the front and back both dipping down...that would certainly make the neck opening bigger...but how would I do that??......" That's when it hit me. SHORT ROWS!!! In less than a millisecond, it all became clear.
After placing the sleeve stitches on holders, I started with the front. I figured out how far down I wanted the lowest part of the collar to be, and figured it was five rows down. I ripped out those five rows. I then counted out seven stitches on each side (one stitch for seaming, one just because, and five to equal the number of rows I was going to rebuild, for an even slope up to the shoulder) and placed markers. Working each side separately, I did short rows (!), wrapping and turning closer and closer until my five rows had been worked. On the back, I did the same thing, only ripping down three rows and marking five stitches in. When all short-rowing was done, I knit all the way around the neck opening, picking up all front, arm, and back stitches, knit a few more rows, purled a row (for turning), knit a few more, and sewed down the live stitches a la Hourglass Sweater.
The result? A sweater with a neck opening that is both large enough and stretchy enough to fit an infant's head, and one very excited and newly-enlightened knitter.
P.S. Hooray for Barry Bonds!!!!!!