Shaping crescents

While there are other methods of doing this, so far I’ve always used the same one. So far. Whether knit from tip to tip with stitches picked up along the side, or lengthwise with the short rows growing out of the lace, all of my crescent designs have one thing in common: the lace is knit first, then the shaping is done with garter stitch short rows.

I occasionally get questions about working the short rows, so I’ll try to explain it further here, where I have more room than in a pattern.

First off, short rows aren’t necessarily rows that only have a few stitches in them, but rows that are not knit all the way across at first go (or even second go or third go). What you do is this: you knit for a while, stop at some point short of the end, turn around, and go the other way.

If you’ve ever knit a top-down sock with a standard short-row heel, you should be familiar the method I use. Once you get your brain around it, it’s actually quite simple. It’s getting your brain to cooperate that can sometimes throw you for a loop. Often people get confused about the same thing: the gap. The mechanics of knitting short rows this way creates a gap between where you were, and where you’re going. Sometimes this gap is wider and easier to see than others. It’s also easier to see the gap with some yarns, on some days, so depending on the texture and color of the yarn used, how you knit, comfort levels, lighting, how often you actually look at your knitting, etc. it might help you to use stitch markers to show you where to turn, instead of relying on actually seeing that gap.

The upcoming gap is clearly seen on the left needle between the 4th and 5th stitches.

The upcoming gap is on the left needle between the fourth and fifth stitches.

To use stitch markers from the start do this: knit the number of stitches stated in the pattern to get to a place somewhere near the center of the first row, k2tog, k3, turn, place marker on the right needle. When you slip the first stitch and start to knit in the other direction, you create a gap—a gap that is now filled with a pretty little stitch marker. To work the second startup row, you basically do the same thing: with yarn in back, slip the first stitch, then knit the indicated number of stitches, k2tog, k3, turn, and put a stitch marker on the right needle to easily show you where that gap is.

Place marker before starting the next row.

Place marker before starting the next row.

Every row from here on is worked exactly the same way, unless I have you do something special at the very end. It’s a tiny bit fussy, but I think it’s worth it. If you use the markers, and can knit without looking, then this truly turns into a nice mindless bit of knitting that you can take with you just about anywhere. Honestly, I’m always amazed at how fast the short row shaping portion goes, even when the rows are really long. That said, do this for every row: with marker already on right needle, slip 1, knit to 1 stitch before next marker, slip next stitch to right needle without twisting, remove marker, return stitch to left needle, again without twisting, k3, k2tog, turn. Before slipping the stitch to start the next row, put that marker on the right needle.

There you go. Easy, huh? Well, I hope so. If you still find it hard to wrap your brain around, I definitely suggest playing with some smooth waste yarn until your brain cooperates. You’ll know when it does. That light bulb will go off over your head, and you’ll suddenly understand. I know. That’s exactly what happened to me when I tried knitting my first sock, and had no one to help.

“Dust is not made up mainly of human skin. That is just a myth. It is actually composed of forgotten childhood dreams.”
Henri, le Chat Noir
Henri, le Chat Noir