Arroyo Shawl From Yarn Shop And More - Day 4 | Author Allie Pleiter

Arroyo Shawl from Yarn Shop and More - Day 4

The u-turn of knitting...

A well-shaped shawl is a thing of beauty.  Shaping is where the designer gets to strut her stuff.  Anyone can knit a rectangle--and I do have several lovely wraps that are simply that--but the crescents and triangles seem to be the foundations for the real “ahh” pieces.  
Arroyo Shawl from Yarn Shop and More - Day 4 6

All knitters who hope to shape their pieces must make friends with the short row.  It is exactly that--a row shorter than the full garment.  It’s the u-turn of knitting: you stop and go back the other way, often zig-zagging your way across the piece much like a sailboat tacking into the wind.  Short rows are a crucial element of that central magic of knitting that is the turned sock heel.  Short rows make curves out of straight lines.

One of the biggest drawbacks of u-turning mid-row is that it often leaves a hole.  Holes are nice, we like them; holes make lace lacey.  But no one wants holes popping up in your garter stitch like mushrooms.  The solution then, is a little trick known as the wrap-and-turn:  

  • Knit to the place where you need to turn
  • Keeping the yarn in back (if you’re knitting, which in this case we are) slip the next stitch to your right hand needle without knitting it.  
  • Turn your work and slip your yarn (which is now in front because you’ve turned around) to the back in between your needles.  
  • Slip the stitch (which is now on your left needle because you’ve turned around) to the right
  • Your working yarn will have done a little wrap around that slipped stitch, snuggling your short row up to the unknit stitches next to it and preventing a hole.
  • Knit away on your new row, going back the way you came

Go ahead, try it.  If my description befuddles you, there are a number of fine videos on the internet that may explain it--or a version of that technique--in a way that suits you better.
Arroyo Shawl from Yarn Shop and More - Day 4 7

This pattern uses progressive short rows to create the triangular shape.  The direction “knit to last stitch before turn” is the key here.  A dark yarn like this makes it hard to see that “last stitch before turn” in a sea of purple garter stitch.  In this case, I forgo my subtle stitch markers and use big, bright ones to guide my way.

So far, I’m really enjoying this shawl.  I’ve found myself plotting which yarn to use next--something dk or larger to see what the more substantial version looks like--and that’s always the sign of a great pattern. 
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