How to shape a cowl without casting off with short rows


Now that you know how to join and seam knitted pieces when making your WAK sweaters and how to pick up stitches around the neck, we want to teach you a new technique to make your sweaters come out even better. Did you know that you can shape necklines without having to cast off stitches in each row? And not only is it much easier, but the end result looks better and makes it easier to pick up stitches to add the collar later.

We used the Nolita Sweater as an example for this tutorial, but the instructions can be used for any garment, no matter the number of stitches.

We are going to use short rows to shape the neckline, but without actually knitting any decreases. In the end we will have a rounded neckline and a neat seam which makes it easier to pick up stitches.


In the Nolita pattern the first row to start shaping the neckline says: “knit 14, cast off the next 6 stitches, knit the rest of the stitches”. We would have 34 stitches total on our needles and we would cast off the 6 center stitches so that our garment would be divided in two. First we would work a series of decreases on one side, and then we would join the yarn to the part we left on hold and repeat the same for that side.
To use the short row method instead of doing the above, we would do this: “knit 14, slip the next stitch without knitting, bring the yarn to the front, and turn your work”. This way what we are doing is wrapping the last stitch and preparing to knit the first side of the neckline, and this way our garment is divided in two.

Our next row (on the wrong side) would be to slip the first stitch without knitting and knit all stitches to the end of the row.

You can see how to do it much clearer in the video below, where we show you how to work short rows on both sides and also what the neckline looks like when knitted this way:


Once the first two rows are knitted all you have to do is continue the same sequence until you have knitted the same number of rows as indicated in the original pattern and the same number of stitches:

  1. Knit all stitches until you are two stitches before the wrapped stitch from the previous row, slip the next stitch without knitting, bring the yarn to the front, and turn your work.
  2. Slip the first stitch and knit the rest.

When you are finished with the first side of the neckline you move the stitches to the right-hand needle until there are 14 stitches left on your left-hand needle, as shown in the video, then you proceed to work the same sequence on the other side of the neckline.
Then you cast off all stitches from your needles, without having made any decreases, and you will see that you have made a rounded neckline. Presto! It may seem like magic, but it’s not 😀

Have you used this technique for any of your WAK garments? If you have, remember to show us using the hashtag #weareknitters on social networks.

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