Method to the Short Row Madness


Yesterday’s WIP is today’s FO and today’s WIP will probably become tomorrow’s FO.  That’s the way hats work, the train just keeps rolling on.  I had fun with this one!  I kept the short rows going all the way to the top.  It’s got the perfect bit of asymmetric wonk happening.  If there’s anything I appreciate it’s intentional wonk.  Yeah, I meant to do that! :)

I kept the purple hat balanced, I keep my repeats regular.  For the next one, I’m going completely irregular.  It’s an experiment.  You know those ice breaker games where everyone says their name with an adjective beginning with the same letter and then you have to repeat the people’s names prior to you?  I was always Experimental Emily.

I’m still Experimental Emily.

So let’s see if I can explain what I did.  Once you allow yourself some wonk, the pressure of perfection is gone.  No need to match a pattern or even use one.  Whatever happens…happens.  and it’s okay.  And it’s easy!  You can do this, honest.


I drew a color coded picture, maybe it’ll help.  ha!

1 – Cast on & ribbing, starts the same as any hat.  There’s no reason you have to use ribbing.  Insert your favorite beginning.  Knitter’s choice!

now onto the body of the hat…

2 – The first wedge,  I start by knitting one round.  Next round won’t really be a round, it’s going to be a row.  At this point, I’m going to start knitting flat, back and forth for the short rows.  I’m starting with a long row, almost the entire round.  I decided to use 5 stitches as the number for my short rows.  Each row, I knit to 5 stitches before the last turn.

Find the red 2 on the picture, that’s the point I’m at.  I knit across that first red line.  I stop 5 stitches before the end of the row.  That’s the first wrap and turn.  By turning you’re now working the hat inside out.  Work almost all the way back to beginning, stopping 5 stitches short.  Wrap and turn.  Now you’re back on the outside of the hat, work to 5 stitches before the last wrap & turn.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Just keep going back & forth until you don’t have enough stitches left between your wrap & turns.

Why did I pick 5 stitches for my turns?  I dunno, seemed like a good number.   Higher numbers mean fewer rows.  Lower numbers mean more rows.  Higher numbers & fewer rows mean skinny stripes, lower numbers/more rows mean fatter stripes.  5 seemed like a nice mid-point.   On my current WIP, I’m not even keeping that number consistent.

3 – the next wedge.  At this point you’ve got options.  Wedge placement and maybe you don’t do a wedge at all.  In the purple hat, I worked a few rounds of straight stockinette between wedges.  In the current WIP, I’m working from one wedge to the next directly.

The diagram shows a regular wedge rotation, which is what I did in the purple sample.  I did the same wedge repeat each time rotating it 1/4 of the way around.  To do this, I simple cut the working yarn and slipped the first 1/4 of the stitches to the right needle unworked.  Essentially I just changed the place where the round begins.  Why not?

This is a liberating decision!  My row can begin anywhere!  So the purple hat is the regular, planned approach.  The current WIP is completely free form.  I’m just sort of plunking the beginning of round marker down where it seems like a good idea.

I didn’t draw wedges 4 & 5 but labeled their approximate starting positions.

and then closing the top?  Good luck explaining that.  I just did it.  I incorporated standard decreases in the stockinette sections.  K6, K2tog around, K5, K2tog around, etc.  But I kept my short rows going and did some decreasing in the short rows.  The whole point was asymmetric shapes, so I didn’t get to hung up on regularity.

Really, if you’ve read this far, my point is…just try it.  Forget ‘the rules’ and just try whatever you feel like.  We all know what shape a head is.  Hats can really be any shape.  Hats don’t really have to head shaped.   (<- the beginning of my rationalization for really weird shaped hats!)

Stay tuned…the hat binge is not over yet!



    1. FogKnits

      Maybe, let’s see how quickly I move on to the next shiny object! LOL! Maybe I’ll stick with this long enough to develop a clear concise method. It’s hard to write patterns because I’m constantly modifying things. It’s amazing how repetitive my knitting is, while being entirely non-repeating at the same time. :)

      Liked by 1 person

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