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April 06, 2005

Yarn Over Short Row

Today is the day to talk about the Yarn Over short row technique.  To those not hip to what's been going around here the last few days, let me fill you in.  Last week, nona decided to conduct a Short Row Experiment.  In this experiment, I knit 3 swatches using 3 different short row techniques -- the wrapped stitch short row, the yarn over short row, and the Japanese short row.  You can find the results of the experiment and directions for the swatch here and details about the wrapped stitch short row here.

Now back to the Yarn Over short row technique.  I first discovered a variation on this technique when knitting footlet socks from the toe to cuff.  This technique is easy to execute and produces a nice result.  Let's take a look at how the Yarn Over technique handles the turning point and closing the gap.   

Yarn Over Technique - Front and Back

Turning Point
Each short row has a turning point, where the knitting is turned without completing the row. 

On the knit side:

  • Knit to the turning point in the row
  • Turn - you're now on the purl side with the yarn in front
  • Backward Yarn Over - take the yarn to the back between the needles and then over the right needle to bring the yarn to the front.
  • Continue

On the purl side:

  • Purl  to the turning point in the row
  • Turn - you're now on the knit side with the yarn in back
  • Yarn Over - take the yarn to the front between the needles and then over the right needle to bring the yarn to the back
  • Continue

Knit and purl turning points -- notice the yarn overs

Closing the Gap
A gap is formed at each turning point, which is closed when the gap is next encountered.  With the Yarn Over technique the gap is quite noticeable due to the yarn over sitting there.  When you encounter a yarn over, close the gap by working the yarn over with the next stitch.

On the knit side:

  • Knit until you reach a yarn over.
  • Correct the mount of the yarn over.  If you're wondering what the hell, "correct the mount" means, let nona fill you in.  A stitch is properly mounted if its right leg is in the front of the needle and its left leg in in back.  Look at your yarn over -- see how its left leg is in front of the needle?  Simple turn the yarn over around so its right leg is in front.  Easy!
  • Knit the yarn over together with the next stitch.

On the purl side:

  • Purl until you reach a yarn over.
  • Slip the yarn over, knitwise, to the right needles
  • Slip the next stitch, knitwise, to the right needles
  • Return both stitches, purlwise, to the left needles
  • Purl these 2 stitches together through the back loop.

Knit and purl gaps closed

April 6, 2005 in Tips and Techniques | Permalink


Thanks Nona! I'll be bookmarking this for reference - there is a sweater I've been eyeing for fall that uses them. I would never have the patience to swatch all of these so you may have saved me a lot of ripping at some point in the near future.

Posted by: Vicki | Apr 6, 2005 11:28:54 AM

OK--so could correcting the mount help eliminate my little yarn-over holes, do you think? I don't believe I've done this in past y-o short row attempts, so I'll give it a try next time. In fact, I think I'm going to go start a pair of socks right now to test it out!

Posted by: Ashley | Apr 6, 2005 1:20:52 PM

Hey Nona,

Great tips for that sweater I've been thinking about making for months now.

I was wondering, why there are no pictures of you on the site? It sure would be great to know what the master knitter looked like. Gee, if only someone out there had a picture of you...
It would be so, uh, informative.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 6, 2005 3:30:14 PM

Thanks for the tutorial. I have always used the wrapped method and very occasionally the yarn over method. And I have been searching for details on the Japanese method for months, to no avail, until now. I can't wait for the next installment.

Posted by: Hope | Apr 6, 2005 5:06:19 PM

such great tips. thanks so much for this! its just what i needed!

Posted by: froggy | Apr 7, 2005 6:29:56 AM

I've seen some YO methods that have you do additional yarn-overs as you're knitting "out" of the short rows, as well as when you start them. In other words, every time you turn your work, you do a yarn-over, regardless of where you are in the short-row process. So that, as you knit your way out of the short rows, working back toward full rows again, you end up knitting three stitches together--the original yarn-over from when you started the short row, and then the newer one from your most recent turn. Personally, I think that's kind of unnecessary, and when I tried it, I ended up with "holes" in my sock heels. Have you ever tried it that way? Do you have an opinion? Or do you not care any more, now that you've discovered the Japanese version? (Which I'm very much looking forward to!)

Posted by: Deb | Apr 7, 2005 7:27:23 AM

NONA! I just saw the new knitty, and your Tie One On wrap pattern in there... CONGRATS!

Posted by: Leisel | Apr 7, 2005 10:02:03 AM

nona, do you have a sock pattern for the yo method of doing the toe and heel on 2 circulars (or dpn's 2nd choice) from the toe up? I would appreciate it if you could share it (or I could buy it). Your footlets are very cute. Thanks, Brenda

Posted by: Brenda | May 10, 2005 4:26:58 PM

Nona, thank you. I have been frustrated for weeks getting my short rows to sit flat without holes until the day I found your site. My fav is now the yarn over method. After practicing a few times on scrap yarn, tonite I was able to finish the back of my sweater perfectly with the yarn over short rows. It looks stunning. There is not one gap and every stitch on the RS is totally lying flat. You are my guru. Enjoy your vacation. Thanks again, Sue

Posted by: Sue | Aug 5, 2005 7:27:18 PM

I had an invaluable lesson in short rows thanks to you and my best friend Sue (who lives in New Jersey). I am a new grandma who has been anxious to learn how to knit with short rows so I can make stuffed animals - starting with a very handsome penguin. Sue wouldn't let me quit until she knew I had perfected your technique. I now have multiple copies of the directions printed every where - home and office. Thanks again and keep publishing your excellent instructions.

Posted by: Karen Jenkins | Oct 31, 2005 12:15:03 PM


Thank you for sharing your short row experiment! I tried all three methods to compare them as well. I really like the Japanese short row method.

Question: when closing the gap on the YO method, do you correct the mount of the YO on the purl side before SSP? I'd love to know. Thanks!

Posted by: Jackie | Mar 4, 2006 10:49:27 PM

I was stumped by a Schachenmayr sweater pattern I am making that calls for short rows with 'turning over on a yarn-over each time'. Imagine my pleasure when Google returned these instructions to complete my sweater. Thanks!

Posted by: Debby Rech | Jun 4, 2006 3:58:01 PM

Thankyou,thankyou, thankyou! this has helped me work out what I need to do on a pattern with wraps that was driving me mad!

(found you via a link on ravelry)

Posted by: Josie P | Aug 1, 2008 4:48:01 AM

I frogged a short row section of a sweater several times trying to get the wrap just right, but this tutorial has saved me! The YO technique is working perfectly on the garter stitch short rows. Thank you!!

Posted by: melanie | Jan 17, 2009 8:06:12 AM

Thank you for these instructions, Nona. I found them when searching for short row instructions because I'm not fond of heel flaps/gussets on socks. I also dislike wrapped stitch short rows because, to me, they're a PITA.

The only change I make in this is to add an extra YO when I knit back the other way to close the gaps, this compensates for the slightly larger gaps that occur after the first gap is closed when knitting back.

That's what works for me anyway.

Posted by: Chatty | May 14, 2009 5:25:48 AM

Thank you so much for this post!! I am working on this sweater: http://www.interweavestore.com/Knitting/Patterns/Flutter-Sleeve-Cardigan.html

The short rows are within ribbing and doing wrap and turn was really messy and difficult to work with. The YO method you explain here makes it easy to see exactly where the turning points are and to knit the yarn over with the stitches. (I always struggled with knitting wraps with the stitches and making it look nice.) So, again, thank you for posting this! :)

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