Almonds? Nipples? They are Short Rows!

Sock yarn, miles and miles of stockinette, short rows, pattern directions about 12 pages long, and an odd shaping of the garment are the hallmarks of this project, designed by the talented Atelier-alfa from Ravelry.  And, when you think you are finally getting somewhere, you hold up your beautiful project and notice OH, NOOO!  My sweater has nipples!

Let me go step by step and explain.  Sock yarn.  That means you use yarn that typically is used in knitting socks … gauge of 25 sts and 36 rows stockinette = 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm).

yarn bands

Well, this garment is 30 inches from side seam to side seam (meaning 60″ around total) and hangs fairly long in the back which leads me its odd shaping.  It’s almost more poncho-like in shape with something like 64 stitches at first around the neck with a continual increase along the shoulders to near 600 stitches in ONE round as you work towards the hemline.  And, then there are these skinny sleeves sticking out done in rib with an interesting detail along the side.  You would think you would die with all that stockinette, but the striping and the very fun short rows keep you engaged, or at the very least, entertained.  And, with the garment being so boxy, you don’t need to be so fussy with the gauge.  It is the technique of short rows that gives you the decorative color patterning of the stripes.  If you’ve ever researched or have taken on short rows, there are a myriad of different directions on the how-to.  This pattern gives a website with a variety of those ways and I must admit, contains the easiest way I’ve tried, yet.  Easy because you are accomplishing all of the steps of the short row in ONE row, rather than in two.  The technique worked beautifully and will be my way of short row from now on.   Website:

Interestingly, it was not the pattern that caught my attention to knit this.  My inspiration came  from Stacy, a fellow knitter whose project is below and I think is so pretty.

I fell so much in love with her color scheme that I knew I needed to use a bit of that neon in mine.

tipped in neon

When the body and sleeves were complete, I thought whew… done!  What is there to a neckline and hem?  So, I picked up the stitches for the recommended i-cord bind off…. neck way too loose.  Rip and repeat.  Too tight.  And, I also noticed that on both occasions, the neckline was not symmetrical.  Where the short row “almond” was, the knit fabric was pulling.  Problem.  And, when I think problem, that means shelf space  rather than wardrobe (not worn).  What could I do?

So, rather than i-cord, I picked up the number of stitches between the number of stitches that was too loose and the number that was too tight and believe it or not, continued in stockinette.  By doing this, when the knitted fabric came off the needles, it would curl naturally looking like the i-cord but would also naturally fill in and create the symmetrical neckline I so wanted.  Perfect.  The hem had the same issue so I resolved it in the same way… rolled stockinette and the knitted fabric now naturally flows where there might have been a gap making it hang and look symmetrical to the eye.

Certainly this piece needed to be photographed in a place to show off its coolness.  And, if you’ve seen my Fashionscape, you know that I am always looking for just-right places around town.  Staying in tune with local newspapers gives us location ideas.

Following such a tip, we scouted out this fabulous op-art wall alongside a coffee shop that we never knew existed in a nearby town.  Just look how the graphic lines in the sweater and hemline curve as do the lines in the mural.  Even hubby was excited during this photo shoot.

We loved the wall!
So perfect for this garment
So perfect for this garment.

I want a cup of coffee with the photographer!  OH, and the nipples?  When the sweater was finished, I laid it between two damp towels, flattened the knit carefully, and they blocked right out.


17 responses to “Almonds? Nipples? They are Short Rows!”

  1. Holly, I saw you wearing this sweater at tonight’s knitting guild meeting. 10 NOV 2016. It was so stunning, I had to look up the details. Despite the great photos and location, seeing this sweater in person has so much greater impact. Absolutely lovely and inspiring


    • Oh my goodness, what a kind compliment. This is actually quite a fun project and sock lovers would like to knit this as the fingering weight would be familiar to them. It is a perfect short row practice as there is that skill . . . the almond shapes are done in short rows. It’s easy regarding fit as it is more like a baggy sweatshirt than anything that needs to be fitted. If, by chance, you would like to take it on, I would be happy to meet with you before the Guild meetings to guide and help. Let me know either here or the guild’s contact page or the guild’e email if you would be interested. Thank you, again for your sentiment.


  2. Love the wall, and great job on the miles of fingering stockinette. It reminds me of Boxy, another fingering weight project with a boxy shape and tiny sleeves. Another great location for your Fashionscape.


    • Thank you, Agnes. It is a different knit; very comfortable. You know, it is funny. As I look at the photos, it was the wall that took us there, but I prefer all the other shots. Life is funny.


  3. Holly thanks for the tip about i-cord versus rolled stockinette edge – storing that in the brain for when I may need it on a future project – who would believe they would behave so differently? And you know you could always frog some of those “professional” items and make something new for this new retired phase you are in! Because if there is one thing I know about you, I know you do NOT want knitwear sitting around that you “knit” but never “wear”!! I love this piece, and the photographer did a wonderful job as always


    • Beth… had I kept the i-cord, I would have been very unhappy with the project. It was a scary moment after all that work thinking, oh, no… now what am I going to do? HUGE difference. Yes, regarding the professional projects… as I approach the ones that are clearly a bit more dressy, I will consider what you are saying. Good point. No project sitting around here! You know, that is funny because hubby is not happy that I don’t sit around more. hahahaha He’s mentioned he has a bit of a weight loss since I’ve been home. We think bec. he gets motivated watching me move here or there. hahaha Poor guy. I’ll let him know of your nice comments regarding photo shoot. And, thank you, Beth for your suggestions.


  4. wow – that is a project! It is such a unique garment, and looks fabulous on you. I am sure there were times when 600 stitch rows felt like they would never end. :-)


    • Thank you, Sarah. There were times when it seemed endless. It is unique. The designer has some other interesting pieces, as well. I get a bit torn with the Ravelry designers. Basically, go with them or stick with the tried and true VK designers, to me, that is the question…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do some of each! You have tim eto explore, and there are some great designers on Ravelry. Who may find themselves in VK in the near future. :-) (And you can always adapt them to small projects to check them out as techniques – like the almond/nipples on a scarf?)


        • well, that is what I have been doing, that is knitting from different sources. I do like your idea of experimentation with small projects, however. This year I am dedicating to my stash… projects I never got to and now I have time and thank goodness, I love them all still.

          Liked by 1 person

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