Short Rows are one of my favorite knitting techniques. They are so versatile in their application. Short rows can be used for shawl collars, sock toes, hat brims, bust lines (instead of dart-like increases/decreases), sweater necklines and easing over hips in skirts. The list goes on but using short rows is a bit trickier than listing their applications (though knitting short rows is infinitely more fun than listing). To successfully knit short rows you sort-of need to get out of your head and forget most of what you know about knitting. This is different and, I'm not gonna lie, a little weird. Short rows are extra rows invisibly inserted into a knitted piece to add shape and extra ease, depending on pattern. Short rows can form the toe box of toe-up socks like my Free Autumn Stars Sock Pattern.
Short Rows are formed by wrapping certain stitches and then picking up and knitting those wraps. You start by knitting a number of stitches according to a pattern or, if you are designing your own, according to you stitch count, slip move your yarn in front, slip the next stitch knit wise and then turn your work. With your yarn still in back, slip the slipped stitch back to your right needle and bring your yarn to the front (this forms a wrap around your slipped stitch), then purl back according to pattern. When you have wrapped the needed number of stitches and you are knitting (or purling) back to pick up your wraps and knit the slipped stitches you want to pick up and knit (or purl) the wrap with the stitch making sure you are hiding the wrap on the back side.
Try practicing short rows on your own with some cotton yarn (it is the easiest to rip back)- I used Berroco Linsey. If you are thinking of adding short rows to an existing pattern or your own swatching with short rows will help you determine the best fit and shape for you. Plus it makes for good movie and car knitting.