Published On: March 30, 2024

Ya know how I’m always saying my brain loves to find something fun and then just keep exploring it for as long as I can? Yeah, I suspect Woolly Wormhead’s brain might work like that too! They’ve been playing with short row colorwork for quite some time, and now it’s your turn!

Their new book, Short-Row Colorwork Knitting: the Definitive Step-by-Step Guide is out coming out in April. Projects like this are exactly what happen when you let brains like ours run off and play for a while, and I’m delighted to have had a chance to look at an early copy of this one!

The book starts with a quick introduction to short rows (a row or a round that doesn’t go all the way across your fabric), which are most commonly used to shape fabric (like to add bust darts to a sweater).  But shaping fabric isn’t the primary goal here, instead, we’re playing with color. And short rows offer a whole host of interesting ways to do that.

Woolly’s put a tremendous amount of time and thought into developing a system for creating and working with this sort of fabric, and they’ve broken that system down for you here. If you take the time to follow along, you’ll be making things of your own in no time.

You’ll start by learning a bit about the special charts this fabric uses. Short row fabric isn’t quite as grid-shaped as most knitting tends to be, so the charts can look a little wild at first. But once you work through them a time or two, you’ll see exactly how they behave and how well they represent the fabric they create. Once you’ve got the hang of reading the charts, you’ll spend a little time brushing up on the techniques best suited to making this kind of fabric. Crochet provisional cast ons and German short rows both come in handy, as does grafting in garter stitch, so Woolly walks you through all of that in detail. With that taken care of, you’re ready to dive in!

The bulk of the book is a collection of 50 different stitch patterns, all both charted and written out, and many given both flat and in the round. They include both the leafy, sinuous shapes short rows so often seem to lend themselves to and a delightful scattering of crisper, more geometric shapes that feel delightfully new. They’re broken down into adjustable motifs (that you can make longer or shorter), stackable motifs (that you can stack up like building blocks), and repeatable motifs (that you can tile and repeat in multiple directions).

All those stitch patterns are sure to have your head buzzing with ideas, and you can totally dive in and create something of your own right away! But just in case you want a little inspiration (or something to work on while you plan your masterpiece),  the book finishes up with ten accessory patterns to get you started and show off what short-row colorwork can do (four shawls, two scarves, two hats, a cowl, and a pair of mitts).

All the pieces come together to make one of those books you’ll be delighted to have on your shelf. Whether you want to make one of the lovely finished patterns or use one of the stitch motifs as inspiration for a project of your own or use the techniques to create something entirely new, you’ll have the tools you need to do it. Plus I suspect you’ll have tremendous fun while you do. Because really…taking something new and exploring it is always a treat!

The book comes out on April 16, you can preorder it now, and you can find more about it on Woolly’s site here!

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