I’m typing this up as a reminder to myself for the next time I have to do a short row heel or toe.
I kept having difficulty having more stitches than I was supposed to after the toe was I could live with. It wouldn’t be 100% perfect, but after a certain point I didn’t care. I finally figured out a way to do it that keeps me on track with the needles.
First of all, if you decide to do this and you knit as badly as I do, I highly recommend taking some yarn finer than the yarn you’re knitting with in a highly contrasting color and string it through the stitches on the needle. This is called a lifeline, and you should do it at least twice. Once before you start the toe, and again before you start knitting the second half of the short row. This way, if you screw up and have to frog it, you don’t have as much stress trying to pick the stitches back up and put them on the needle correctly. Don’t take them out until the toe is completely done.
The yarnover increases (circled in yellow) are made of yarn overs at the beginning of each row after the toe is begun.
short row pic
Say you start out with 32 stitches on the needles to make the toe. As you make the first row, you do a yarnover increase at the beginning which makes a doubled-looking stitch on the needle. Count each yarnover doubled stitch as one stitch, and count the stitches in between as you go. These should equal 32 stitches throughout the knitting of the toe.
The goal of the first half of the short rows is to decrease the stitches down to the number specified in the pattern you’re using, usually from 10-14 stitches. The fewer the stitches, the pointier the toe.
1. Do a yarnover increase on the first stitch at the beginning of the row; knit or purl the remaining 31 stitches.
2. Turn work. Do a yarnover increase on the first stitch; knit or purl the next 30 stitches, avoiding working the stitches of the previous yarnover increase.
3. Continue these two steps until you have the required number of stitches in the middle as pictured above.
4. If you’re on a knit row, knit together the two stitches of the yarnover increase. If you’re on a purl row, purl the two stitches together (do this the same way throughout).
5. Pick up the bar closest to the next yarnover increase. Knit or purl it like you did the previous stitch. Turn.
6. Knit the picked up stitch and the yarnover increase together to make one stitch. Knit across to the next yarnover.
7. Knit the two stitches of the yarnover together. Pick up and knit the bar closest to the next yarnover stitch. Turn.
Continue steps 4 through 7 until all the yarnover increases have been knit up and you have 32 stitches on the needle. This ends the short row toe or heel with a little pocket. At this point, you can kitchener the toe to the bottom of the foot, or continue the foot part of the sock you’re making.