Wrap and Turn Knitting With Short Rows

Wrap and Turn on the Knit Side

Sarah E. White / The Spruce

Overview
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Short rows are partial rows, rows where only some of the stitches are knit, and the piece is turned mid-row and worked back in the other direction. Short rows allow you to add length or width to just one part of your knitting, shaping it to create darts or gussets in garments, the turn of a heel in socks. Knitting instructions sometimes will tell you to "wrap and turn" in the middle of a row when you are knitting short rows. Correctly done, the wrap and turn prevents a hole from appearing at the points where you turned the piece to work in the other direction. 

The methods below describe working wrap and turn short rows on both the knit and purl sides of the fabric. Sock heels are usually in stockinette stitch, so you need to know how to handle both situations. The overall concept is always the same—work to the stitch to be wrapped, wrap the stitch, go back the other way—but the specifics of getting the wrap around the stitch are slightly different, as is working the wrap and the stitch together on a subsequent row.

Ready to try your hand at wrapping and turning in a basic sock pattern? While most sock patterns do not explicitly call for wrapping and turning on their short row heels, all you have to do is read "wrap and turn" where the instructions say "turn." Make your heel turn sleeker with just a little wrap and turn.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Knitting needles in size appropriate for yarn

Materials

  • Smooth yarn in light or bright color

Instructions

  1. Wrap and Turn While Knitting

    To accomplish a wrap and turn while while knitting, work to the stitch to be wrapped. The yarn is at the back.

    • Slip the next stitch as if to purl ("purlwise").
    • Bring the working yarn between the needles to the front.
    • Slip the stitch back to the left needle.
    • Turn the work.

    If purling the next stitch, bring the yarn between the needles to the front.

    Close up of Wrap and Turn on the Knit Side
    Sarah E. White
  2. Wrap and Turn While Purling

    To accomplish a wrap and turn while purling, work to the stitch to be wrapped. The yarn is at the front.To knit the wrap and stitch together, rolling the wrap to the purl side of the fabric:

    • Slip the stitch purlwise.
    • Bring the working yarn between the needles to the back.
    • Slip the stitch back to the left needle.
    • Turn the work.

    If knitting the next stitch, take the yarn between the needles to the back.

    Close up of Wrap and Turn a Purl Stitch
    Sarah E. White
  3. Knitting Up Wraps

    At some point in your short row knitting, you will knit across all the stitches of the row again, which means you will come to the stitches you wrapped.

    • From the front, insert the right needle tip under the wrap, then into the wrapped stitch; both wrap and stitch are on the right needle.
    • As when working a knit two together, work wrap and stitch together.

    The wrap should be on the purl (WS) of the fabric.

    Close up of Working the Stitch Wrap
    Sarah E. White
  4. Purling Up Wraps

    At some point in your short row purling, you will purl across all the stitches of the row again, which means you will come to the stitches you wrapped. To purl the wrap and stitch together, rolling the wrap to the purl side of the fabric:

    • From the back, insert the right needle tip under the wrap and lift it onto the left needle and over the wrapped stitch; the wrap now sits to the left of the stitch.
    • Insert the right needle through the stitch and wrap, and as when working a purl two together, work stitch and wrap together.

    The wrap should be on the purl (WS) of the fabric.