Short Row Calculations Made Easy

Crescents have been very popular shawl shapes for a few years and don’t seem to lose any popularity among knitters all over the world so far. Guess it’s time to devote some time to explain crescent shawls in detail: how do they look like, and how can they be constructed?

Please note: this is the third part of the Complete Guide to Crescent Shawls. You can find the first one (and links to all the other parts) here:

>> The Complete Guide to Crescent Shawls <<

Short Row Calculations

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the triangle section is shaped by working short rows. So how can we calculate the number and position of the short row turning points for a given width and height?

Short Row Crescent Shawls: Shaping, Part One

Let’s look closer at the triangle outlined in pink above. Yesterday, we calculated the number of stitches to cast on (the lower edge of the triangle is our cast on edge). We called this number C and our example used C = 135 stitches.

Assuming we want to end up with one live stitch between the last two turning points (it works for other numbers too, but we’ll deal with this later) we need to work short rows to get from 135 stitches to one single stitch.

We will work one short row turn per row – one on the right side, the other one at the wrong side of our knitting. That’s a constant.

The next thing we need to calculate is the number of rows to achieve our desired height. For a row gauge of 6 rows per inch and a desired height of 20 inches we need to work 120 rows in total.

Calculating Turning Points

We need to short row 135 stitches in 120 rows resulting in a theoretical value of 135/120 = 1.1 stitches between our turning points. Of course this is not achievable – we cannot work fractions of stitches!

We need to round this number.

We could work short row turning points every stitch, or every second stitch.

As one of these stitches is our turning point stitch itself, we need to leave no stitch (wrapping every stitch) or one stitch (wrapping every second stitch) between our turning points (wrapped stitches).

To achieve turning points at fractions (wrapping every 1.5 stitches, for instance) we need to alternate between two round numbers (for every 1.5th stitch leave 0,1,0,1,0,… stitches between wrapping.

German short rows

Trapezoids Instead of Triangles: Leaving More Stitches at the Top

You can leave any number of stitches between your last turning points at the upper edge. The only thing you need to change is the calculation of the amounts of stitches to short row decrease: C – (stitches at upper edge) is the amount of stitches to be short rowed (“decreased”).

Any questions so far? Feel free to ask by leaving a comment below!

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