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Short Row Startle: Fun & Pretty! 
This week's exciting development: a change of heart about crochet short rows! What happened? Well, I tried short rows for a toasty plush slip stitch rib cowl I’m crocheting (see top right column) and THEY REALLY WORK: I enjoy crocheting them, they’re easy, and they look and feel great. AND Oh, the new design possibilities! 
A short row is just a partial row. (It’s a common shaping technique in knitting.) Instead of crocheting a whole row across, you crochet part of the way, then stop and turn, leaving the rest of the row unworked. Crochet to the end of the new row, turn. Now you can either crochet a even shorter row, or you can do a full row by crocheting into each stitch of the short row as well as into into each unworked stitch of the previous row.
When I think about it, slip stitch short rows make sense. They fly low enough to the ground that the short rows look COOL. Still, I didn’t expected them to be easy or fun. 
In the past I tried short rows with single crochet and taller stitches. I felt like I needed to taper the stitch heights to make a gentle slope. No matter what I tried, I wasn't charmed enough by the look or feel of the fabric (a bit stiff and lumpy) to be worth the effort of coordinating taller and shorter stitches on a regular basis for me. (Or to try to explain it clearly in a pattern.)
No need to taper rows of slip stitches or basic Tunisian crochet stitches. Doris Chan notes that shell stitches work well too, mainly because they’re self-tapering (see her book Everyday Crochet and her article in the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Crochet). 

Give slip stitches a second chance if you’re thinking, “Ewww. Slip stitches? Tedious!” Try the right hook size, yarn choice, and working into the back loop only (see issue #9 If you’ve already given slip stitches a second chance, then consider this: short rowing adds just enough spice to the making, with new creative avenues!

What do others say about crochet short rows? Not a lot.
How-to books: So far, I’m seeing items shaped with short rows in older books. They tend to be sculptural 3-D items, but the term “short row” is not used and there's no how-to. It seems like a designerly maneuver in newer books. Perhaps it's mainly a knitting term, so I’ve started looking for "shaping" and "sculpture" in the indexes in additin to "short rows."
Internet: Links to online information are isted in the right column.
Crystal Jubilee Vest Tunisian short rows
Pictured: Short rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch help to shape the armhole of this vest.
If you’ve never crocheted short rows, you're welcome to try my experiment/ free-pattern-in-progress below. It’s slip stitch rib with a larger crochet hook. See if you settle into a slip stitchin’ groove and enjoy the ride.

Slip Slope Scarf Pattern Experiment 
Check here for uploaded photos:

Crochet hook: K/US10.5/6.5mm hook 
Yarn: Worsted weight (a.k.a. #4 Medium, or heavy DK/Aran, or one that lists G7/4.5mm-I/5.5mm needles/hook sizes on the label). Choose smooth soft yarn with enough wool or acrylic to give it bounce. The self-striping kind is great! A full-length scarf will probably need 250-350 yards. (The slip stitch rib Eva scarf used 300 yds.
Gauge: 21 sl sts = approx. 6.5"

See pattern abbreviations below.
Ch 22. If you are newer to sl st crochet, please start out using the stitch markers to mark the first stitch of each new row. (I used to think they were annoying and avoided using them. Now I’m kinder to myself.) After a little while you won’t need them and can stop using them.
Row 1: Sl st in the 2nd ch from hook and mark (place a st marker in) it, sl st in each remaining ch: 21 sl sts. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Sl st in the BLO of first sl st, mark it, sl st in BLO of each of next 17 sts. Ch 1, turn, leaving rem 3 sts unworked. 18 sts.
Row 3: Sl st in the BLO of first sl st and mark new st with new marker, sl st in the BLO of each remaining sl st: 18 sts. Ch 1, turn.
Row 4: Repeat Row 2, leaving 3 more sts unworked: 15 sts. 
Row 5: Repeat Row 3: 15 sts.
Rows 6-13: Repeat Rows 4 & 5 four times; Row 13 will have 3 sts.
Row 14: Sl st in the BLO of first sl st, mark it, sl st in BLO of each of next 2 sts, sl st in the BLO of each unworked sl st of each previous row, ch 1, turn: 21 sl sts.
Repeat Rows 2-14 for pattern. Repeat at least two sets of Rows 2-14 for a good swatch; or to the length you wish for a scarf.

Any questions? Errors? Please email me!
Abbrev's: BLO=back loop only, ch=chain, rem=remaining, sl st=slip stitch, st(s)=stitch(es).

If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks! -Vashti
My Short Row Fun

Thaxton Cowl (pattern being written)

early slst short rowing
I love this early swatch of slip stitch short rows but it doesn't have quite enough drape. Nowadays I'd use a slightly larger hook.

Early swatch that mixes Slip Stitch and Tunisian Crochet. Odd how the slip stitches resemble Tunisian Purls and vice versa.

Links I Enjoyed This Week
More short row inspirations:

searched Ravelry patterns for short row crochet I’m seeing slip stitch short rows used nicely for hats. Several Tunisian short row projects are round dish cloths. Here's a video how-to for a popular Tunisian round (hexagonal) dishcloth:
I haven't found a short row slip stitch rib scarf, so I’ll add my pattern experiment (below, left) to Ravelry as a free pattern PDF when it's edited and formatted. For a similar version in Tunisian, see Kim Guzman’s Geo Scarf For a similar knit version, see “Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf”
Amy Shelton posted a how-to video for back-loop slip stitch in Crochetville: 
Stitchdiva's photo how-to for Tunisian short rows :

Quote about short rows from Robyn Chachula’s article in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2011:
(link goes to a blog i enjoy, Crochet Concupiscence)
Halloween Short rowing: the wrinkled forehead of this Gollum Hat is short rows of single crochet, by Regina Rioux of MonsterCrochet
Maggie Weldon's wall of dishcloths! I enjoyed meeting Maggie at the CGOA conference in Greensboro last month.

DesigningVashti News
Much of this week was spend preparing winter crochet classes for my local yarn shop, and submitting class proposals for next year's conferences....when I wasn't short rowing my slip stitches.

The new 
Thaxton Cowl design (name commemorates my newly-married cousin) is being written now. Updates here: I've been planning on a cowl like this for myself since last winter: stretchy, snug, toasty, dense, supple, luxurious, and generous enough to wear as a hood. Yarn pictured is a deep raspberry Misti Alpaca Tonos (does your monitor show some other shade of red? mine does).

Thaxton Cowl
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