I have been struggling conceptually with the short row for some time. I understood how to perform the act of short row shaping - how to make the wrap - and after a couple of tries I understood the methodology (I started out wrapping on the same stitch each row, and then understood that I had to make a stair step by moving in a stitch each row, so as to create a line, not a radiating point.)
But I was stuck on how you could make one in a garment that was patterned. A month or so ago I threw the question out here and the response made it clear that I was not alone in my confusion.
Sunday I struggled with it on the train back and forth to New York and suddenly received enlightenment in that miraculous way that sometimes happens when your hands and mind are working against each other and there is frustration and near-giving up and a decision to act on faith alone.... and then there is a semi-audible click and knowledge exists, full blown and beautiful in your head.
Short row shaping exists outside the structure of the sweater. I don't know how to say it better than that - but let us say you have reached row 70 of your main body and you are at the point where you are ready to add shaping. Stop a few stitches before the end of row 70, wrap and turn, then zero your row counter and make a note of where you are in your pattern repeat.
General advice seem to say that shaping is about 6 rows per bust size over C (12 for D, 18 for DD, etc) although I expect that yarn weights have a lot to do with it. I would add that if you are working with a textured stitch make your number of short rows a multiple of your stitch pattern.
Make your short rows in pattern. You are forming a cup that extends from your ribcage to your nipple line (more or less.). When you have completed them, return to your regular knitting as if you were now knitting row 71 - change your stitch counter back and keep going in pattern. Pick up the wraps with each stitch.
Make your knitting teacher really happy by picking them up wrong and needing her help (this step is optional). I think she thinks I don't get my money's worth because I usually just hang out and ask general knitting and design rather than project specific questions. I would like to go on record as saying that I definately get my money's worth out of this.
And here is the miracle - each end of each short row should meet the new regular pattern row, IN PATTERN, at an angle, one that forms the bust dart, but without messing with the structure of the texture.
Here is my poor attempt at an illustration, because the sweater I am working on is a) stockinette and b) dark brown. And I'm going to have to re-do it anyway, because the wrist brace isn't doing my gauge any favors. Ignore the bullets, couldn't get rid of them.
The top row of Xs is row 71, as are the Xs sloping down the right side.
I haven't actually tried this yet in pattern, but working the process with my hands made it clear to me for the first time that is possible and probably not all that hard. I may be talking out my butt right now - I could have missed some vital step, some basic concept, but I really think this will work unless you have a 25 or 30 row repeat. And even then, you could do it if you were willing to adjust how the pattern reaches the neckline. That might be too much trouble, though.
I spent a lot of time looking for information about this on line, and never found anything that mentioned patterns. If I've gotten anything wrong, or you think I'm right but my instructions make no sense, please comment.