How to Use Short Rows for Shoulder and Neck Shaping

Sooo….my Fall Vest that I started knitting back in September? Yeah, well, I just recently finished it. I might have to to re-name it since it’s, you know, almost Spring now.

Tabard Vest knitting

The pattern is Tabard Vest, by Lion Brand Yarns. The front and back are worked, then seamed together at the shoulders. Collar and side button bands are then added at the end.

The pattern is beautiful and well-written, but of course, I had to make modifications. I changed up the collar, and worked and attached the pocket as I went (rather than seaming it onto the vest).  But let’s talk about how I shaped the shoulders and the back neck.

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Shaping with Stair Steps

For the shoulder shaping, the pattern calls for binding off stitches at the end of each row for a stair-step look. Once the shoulders are bound off, the pattern instructs to bind off stitches at each end of the neck to create a dip.

Stair step bind off

After the stitches are bound off, the front and back can be seamed together.

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Shaping with Short Rows Instead

Short rows can be used for So. Many. Things. Carol Feller’s book, Short Row Knits: A Master Workshop With 20 Learn-As-You-Knit Projects is an amazing resource for all things short rows.  Feller describes in great detail the different types of short rows as well as the many techniques they are used for.

Short rows are utilized for creating 3D shapes, turning a sock heel, and of course, for garment shaping.

Subbing short rows for stair steps in a pattern is easy. Instead of binding off stitches at the beginning of each row, instead, knit to the END of the row, stopping short of the number of stitches the pattern calls to bind off.

For example, if the pattern calls for binding off 3 stitches at the beginning of the row, instead, work to three stitches before the end of the row, and work a wrap & turn. Keep working this method until you end up with the same number of rows the pattern calls for.

My Tabard Vest Example

The following sample shows how I shaped the shoulders and neck of my Fall Vest, using the Small size of the Tabard Vest.

I started with 93 stitches, which is the number of stitches on your needles in the pattern before shoulder shaping. Before beginning, I marked off the center 57 stitches and the center 19 stitches. The center 57 stitches are for neck shaping and the outer 18 stitches on each side are for the shoulder shaping.

For shoulder shaping, the pattern instructs to bind off 3 stitches at the beginning of each row for 12 rows (6 right side rows and 6 wrong side rows).

My method:

Knit across to last 3 stitches, then wrap & turn.

Short Rows knitting

Work across the wrong side to last 3 stitches and wrap & turn.

Short Rows Wrap & Turn

On the next right side row, knit across the last 6 stitches; wrap & turn.

Short Rows Wrap & Turn

Continue in this manner until you have 10 short rows, with 15 stitches on each side with every 3rd stitch wrapped:

short rows

Rather than working the last 2 shoulder short rows, THEN working the neck short rows, I worked the neck shaping while I was in the middle of the last set of shoulder rows rows. Sort of like short rows within a short row. 🙂

Short Row Neck Shaping

The neck shaping is worked over the center 57 stitches. The center 19 stitches are the ones that are bound off in the pattern to make the dip in the neck.

There are 4 markers. From left to right on the right side, let’s call these markers A, B, C and D.

Short Rows
Neck shaping is worked between Markers A and D

Short rows are first made between Markers A and B, then between Markers C and D as follows:

Right side: Knit across to 3 stitches before Marker A, wrap & turn.

Short Rows

Wrong side: Purl across to 5 stitches before marker B (since the pattern called for binding off 5 stitches at neck edge); wrap & turn.

Right side:  Knit across to 6 stitches before marker A, wrap & turn.

This was for the left side of the neck. The right side was worked similarly as follows:

Wrong side: Purl to 3 stitches to Marker D, wrap & turn. (As you purl to the other side of the neck, pick up the wrap that is 5 stitches before Marker B and purl it with its stitch.)

Right side: Knit to 5 stitches before Marker C, wrap & turn.

Wrong side: Purl to 6 stitches before Marker D, wrap & turn.

Now that the neck shaping has been worked, the last set of shoulder short rows can be completed. Knit to Marker A (which is 18 stitches from the end), picking up wraps and working them with their stitches; wrap & turn (you can remove the marker also):

Purl back to Marker D, again picking up wraps; wrap & turn.

Finally, the last step is to knit back all the way to the end, while picking up all wraps on the left shoulder, then purl back to the other end, again picking up all wraps on the right shoulder.

What results is a smooth curve that can either be bound off or left with live stitches.

On my vest, I left my stitches live and used the 3 needle bind off to join the  front and back shoulders. I also used the live neck stitches to add the collar.

Tabard Vest

What do you think about this shaping method? It can be used on pretty much any pattern that calls for binding off stitches for shoulder and neck shaping. Try it out!

Happy short-rowing!

Serein Socks – A Free Knitting Pattern

Hey, how goes it, Crafters? As you may know, socks are my all-time favorite item to knit. Well, let me introduce you to my newest snugly feet wraps: Serein Socks.

Serein socks knitting

My usual method of madness for socks follows a cuff-to-toe pathway, with a heel flap and turn. But this time, I decided on the reverse. You know, to change it up a little. But mostly because I thought the stitch pattern would look better turned right-side-up.

Stitch pattern

Speaking of the stitch pattern, check it out.

I modified a stitch pattern that I found on the interwebs. The original was a video where the pattern was worked flat, and I had a to figure out how to convert it to the round. I had a few challenges. First, the video was in Russian. And the knitting itself was different than I’m used to because the style, stitch mount, and other things were different.

And, I really want to learn Russian. Seriously. I love how it sounds.

The pattern is a relatively simple 4-round repeat. The first two rounds consist of only knits and purls. The third round contains a stitch that takes 3 stitches and knits them through the back loop, while adding a Yarn Over and another stitch. Here are the pics:

Stitch 1
Knit 3 through the back loop, but leave stitches on needle.
Stitch 2
Yarn Over
Serein Socks Stitch 3
Knit first stitch on left needle through the back loop.
Serein Socks Stitch 4
Three new stitches after slipping original ones off left needle.

And a short vid:


Finally, the 4th round includes a simple right cross cable.

Heel Turn and Flap

This is my first toe-up design with a heel flap. If you don’t enjoy picking up stitches, this is the way to go.

Serein Socks Heel Flap
How pretty is this heel flap?

Other Stuff

I decided to incorporate a couple of other of my favorite techniques in this pattern.

Each Serein Sock begins with Judy’s Magic Cast-On. You certainly don’t have to begin with this; use whatever method you usually use for your socks. Maybe you prefer a Turkish Cast-On or a Short Row toe.

For the final cuff Bind-Off, I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. This method is great for keeping the top of your sock from cutting off circulation to your foot. Again, feel free to use your favorite method.

Download the pattern here: Serein Socks

I truly had a ton of fun designing these. While I think that the cuff-down construction will always be my favorite, this was an unique challenge and of course, increasing my knitting skills is always a bonus. I hope to do more toe-up socks soon.

Please, if you enjoy this pattern, share it or let me know! I haven’t had it tested, so let me know if you find any errors or contact me with any questions or comments.

Happy sock knitting!

Aeonian Cowl – A Free Knitting Pattern

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Color combination is my knitting jam. I also like interesting stitch patterns. Which is why I was so intrigued with this post from Fringe Association.

Aeonian Cowl knitting

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The FA post is several years old, but since I first came across it, I’ve wanted to recreate the pattern. After some trial and error, I came up with something that at least resembles it.

Aeonain cowl

Using the stitch pattern, I created Aeonian Cowl. I thought a cowl would be the perfect project, because have you looked outside lately here in the Seattle area?

Snowy trail
Seattle snow, you’re beautiful, but you can stop now.

The Two Stitch Patterns

Important: Before you start knitting, read the section after the second video below.

Aeonian Cowl uses two stitch patterns; a knit section and a purl section that incorporate two strands in two different ways.

Aeonian Cowl

Purl Sections

The purl sections form the space between the diamonds. The stitches are made with the Contrasting Color (blue) while the Main Color (white) is “anchored” in each purl stitch. Here’s how it’s done:

At the beginning of each purl section, the Contrasting Color will be in the front of the work. Leave it there.

purl section

Bring the Main Color to the front and to the left of the Contrasting Color.

purl section

purl section

The Main Color will stay in front for the purl section, but will be “caught” in each purl stitch to anchor it down, as follows:

While holding the Main Color out of the way, purl the first stitch.

purl section

purl section

For the second stitch (and every even stitch in the purl section), when you insert your needle into the stitch purlwise, place the Main Color over the right needle before purling the stitch.

purl section

Alternate these two steps. You can see that the Main Color is being trapped by the Contrasting Color purl stitches.

purl section

When you get to the end of the purl section, without twisting the yarns, place the Main Color to the back.

purl section



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Knit Sections

The knit sections form the diamond shapes.  The knit stitches are done with the Main Color (white) while weaving the Contrasting Color (blue) through. Here is how it’s done:

At the beginning of each knit section, the Contrasting Color will be in the front of the work, and the Main Color will be in the back.

Leave the Contrasting Color in front while knitting the first knit section stitch.

Aeonian Cowl knit section

Place the Contrasting Color in the back of the work, then knit the second stitch.

Aeonian Cowl knit section

Continue this method of weaving the Contrasting Color back and forth while knitting.

Note that the the Contrasting Color will be in the front for each first and last stitch of each knit section.



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This is extremely important. I mean it, read this before starting.

The weaving of the contrasting color in the knit sections creates almost non-existent horizontal stretch. That’s why it’s extremely important, when switching between knit and purl sections, to spread out your stitches on your right needle as much as you can. Kind of like this:

Aeonian Cowl

Seriously. Pull and stretch out those knit stitches while allowing the Contrasting Color strand to stretch between the knit stitches. If you don’t, you’ll get something like the bottom cowl in this picture:

Aeonian Cowl

You can see that the diamond shapes are distorted and the ends of the cowl sort of bow inward. I tried blocking it into shape, but of course a strand of yarn can only stretch so far (which is not very, in this case).

You may have a similar issue, but to a lesser extent, in the purl sections, so just believe me, take your time, and stretch out your stitches after completing each section. Especially the knit sections. I really can’t stress this enough. You’ve been warned, LOL.

Aeonian Cowl Pattern

Size and Gauge

Cowl is approximately 28 inches in circumference. Make it longer or shorter by adding or subtracting chart repeats.

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch


100 yards of Main Color. I used Quince & Co. Owl in Natural.

80 yards of Contrasting Color. I used Quince and Co. Owl in Barents Sea.

Size US7 and US9 24-inch length circular needles

Stitch marker


Using smaller needles, cast on 112 stitches. Work 4 rounds of 1×1 ribbing.

Switch to larger needles. Work chart one time with a total of eight chart repeats per round.

Switch to smaller needles. Work 4 rounds of 1×1 ribbing.

Cast off loosely, weave in ends and block.

Aeonian Cowl chart


Purl across with Contrasting Color, anchoring Main Color in stitches as shown above.

Knit with Main Color while holding Contrasting Color in front of work as shown above.

Knit with Main Color while holding Contrasting Color in back of work as shown above.

Another Version

Using Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, I created the green and brown  variation shown above.



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The pattern is similar to the other one. Cast on 110 stitches though, and work 5 repeats of each round of the chart.

Aeonian Cowl chart

Check out the “wrong” side:

Aeonian Cowl wrong side

Fun, right?

I haven’t decided which color combo I like better. More contrast or less contrast between the colors? What do you think?

UPDATE: Downloadable .pdf here: Aeonain Cowl 

Have a great day, and I’d be ever so grateful for your shares if you like it!

Pattern has only been tested by me. Please feel free to contact me here or at Ravelry with any questions or comments.

Pave the Way Shawl Pattern

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So, funny story. I had this idea for a shawl stuck in my head. It had been rattling around for a few months, and so, of course, I did the most logical thing and went yarn shopping. I found this beautiful wool from Abundant Earth Fibers, and knew it would be perfect.

I “knew” wrong. Not that the wool was wrong. The wool is beautiful and rustic and sheep-y and everything I love in a yarn. It just wasn’t right for the idea that was stuck in my head. Ah well, I’m not in charge of my creativity. What could I do? I had to let the yarn and the needles do what they want. I could either fight them or go with it.

Because I’m not fan of drama, I decided to go with it.

knit shawl pattern

Pave the Way is the result. The Twisted Purl stitch was entertaining and added an appealing texture.

After the relative complexity of Eira (which is still on sale for a couple of more days!), this shawl is a quick and satisfying project.

Once you complete the garter tab beginning and setup row, the pattern consists of two alternating stitch patterns, one them garter, the other the Purl Twist stitch.


Size US 7/4.5mm circular needle, at least 36 inches long

750 yards DK weight wool or wool blend. I used Abundant Earth Fiber, Verdant in Dark Grey.

2 stitch markers

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

yarn wool knitting fiber grey


K – Knit                                   P – Purl

RS – Right Side                      WS – Wrong Side

YO – Yarn Over

PM – Place Marker     SM – Slip Marker

St(s) – Stitch(es)

Sl1 wyif – Slip 1 with yarn in front

LRinc – Lifted Right Increase. Using your right needle, lift the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the left-hand needle onto the left-hand needle and knit it. 1 stitch increased.

LLinc – Lifted Left Increase. Using your left needle, lift the left leg of the stitch 2 rows below the stitch on right-hand needle onto left-hand needle and knit it through the back loop. 1 stitch increased.

April over at has a great tutorial on working the lifted increases in garter stitch.

PT – Purl Twist. Purl 2 stitches together, but don’t remove stitches from left needle. Purl the first stitch again, then slip both stitches off needle.



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Stitch Patterns

Garter Sections

Row 1 (RS): K2, YO, K to marker, LLinc, SM, K1, SM, LRinc, K to last 2 sts, YO, K2.

Row 2 (WS): K to marker, SM, SL1 wyif, SM, K to end.

Purl Twist Sections

Row 1 (RS): K2, YO, K to marker, LLinc, SM, K1, SM, LRinc, K to last 2 sts, YO, K2.

Row 2 (WS): K3, PT to 1 st before marker, K1, SM, Sl1 wyif, SM, K1, PT to last 3 sts, K3.

knitting yarn wool shawl


Using your favorite garter tab cast-on method, cast on a two-stitch wide garter tab with 9 total stitches. My favorite garter tab that uses short rows instead of picking up stitches to create the tab is here. This is the method I use for starting all top-down triangular or crescent shaped shawls.

Setup Row (WS): K4, PM, P1, PM, K4.

Now alternate Garter Sections and Purl Twist Sections however you like. Sample was done as follows:

Garter Section until you have 81 stitches, ending with a WS row.

Purl Twist Section: 10 times.

Garter Section: 5 times.

Purl Twist Section: 9 times.

Garter Section: 5 times.

Purl Twist Section: 8 times.

Garter Section: 5 times.

Purl Twist Section: 7 times.

Garter Section: 5 times.

Purl Twist Section: 6 times.

Garter Section: 2 times.

That’s it! I’m the only one to test this pattern, so if you find any mistakes or have any questions, please feel free to comment or send me a message.

knitting shawl wool yarn

If you prefer a .pdf of the pattern, you can download it here: Pave the Way

As far as that other idea I had floating around my head, it will have to wait until another time. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Pave the Way and have a beautiful weekend.

The Easiest Garter Tab in the Universe

So it seems like the looming of summer is slowing down my knitting. I’m not complaining. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of other activities that need to be done: gardening, shopping farmers markets, attempting to emotionally recover from Avengers: Endgame.

Speaking of Endgame, I loved it except for one single thing. I won’t spoil it, but it was pretty huge for me.

But I’m over it.

Let’s Talk About Knitting Instead

What do the Avengers have to do with knitting? Nothing, this time. I just needed to vent a little.

Knitting may be slowing, but it’s certainly not stopping. A brand new shawl pattern hot off the blocking table will be released soon. Like within a week.

For now, I’ll share a tiny part of it: my favorite garter tab cast on.

knitting garter tab wool yarn needles

A garter tab is a method used to begin a top-down triangular or crescent shaped shawl because it forms a nice, uninterrupted strip of garter at the top of the shawl. Most instructions call for casting on a few stitches, about 2 or 3 (the width of the garter strip), then working several rows of garter stitch to form a long, skinny strip. Stitches are then picked up along the long side of the strip in the ridges and the main pattern begins.

The method I use does not involve picking up stitches. Instead, the stitches along the long side are added as the garter tab is created. I didn’t invent this method, and there are probably several ways of working it, but I’ll demonstrate my favorite way.

This method works with any width garter tab, but I’m going to demonstrate with a 3-stitch wide one.


Step 1: Using a circular needle and Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on 3 stitches onto each needle.

There are plenty of videos available on YouTube demonstrating Judy’s Magic Cast-On, so I don’t go into detailed instructions. My favorite is Cat Bordhi’s method:

Step 2 (Swipe below for video): Turn needles so that they are pointing right and the purl side is towards you. Place the yarn tail to the front and left of the working yarn. Hold it with your thumb to anchor it. Once you start knitting, the yarn tail will be held in place. Place the working yarn between and behind the needles and pull the bottom needle out to begin knitting.


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Step 3: Knit across the 3 stitches on the left needle, turn the work, yarn over (the yarn will be in front already), knit back across the 3 stitches.

Step 4 (Swipe below for video): Pull the cable through the stitches to get all stitches on one needle.


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Step 5: *Knit 3, turn work, yarn over, knit 3. Repeat from * until you have the desired number of stitches. Swipe the video below to see my completed garter tab with 11 stitches.


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If your garter tab was 2 or 4 stitches wide, you would knit 2 or 4 respectively before turning the work and adding the yarn over.

What do you think? Have you used this method of creating a garter tab before? What is your favorite method?

Feel free to  contact me with any questions or comments. And Happy Spring.