Short Rows tend to strike fear into the hearts of the uninitiated, but, like all knitting, there’s really nothing so mysterious about it.

Short Rows are used to create triangles or wedges within your knitting. They shape everything from bust darts to ear flaps. Basically, a Short Row is just that: a row that you don’t knit to the end of the needle. There are lots of ways to turn your work partway through a row, but our favorite is called a Wrap + Turn (wrp-t). This simple method prevents holes along the Short Rows and works well with many different stitch patterns.

Note that there are a few stitch patterns, including Garter Stitch, that don’t require any sort of special technique when it’s time to work back the other way. For these stitch patterns, you just turn the piece and work back the other way. Easy!

For a demonstration of the Wrap + Turn, watch our new Short Rows: Wrap + Turn video…

Wrap and Turn on the Knit Side

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Keeping the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Bring the yarn forward as if to purl.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Slip the stitch from the right needle back to the left needle.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Bring the yarn to the back of the work as if to knit.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Turn the work so the purl side is facing you, ready to purl.

Wrap and Turn on the Purl Side

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Keeping the yarn in front, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Bring the yarn back as if to knit.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Slip the stitch from the right needle back to the left needle.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Bring the yarn to the front of the work as if to purl.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Turn the work so the knit side is facing you, ready to knit.

Once you’ve completed your Short Rows, you’ll notice gaps in the knitting where you wrapped the stitches. To rectify this, you work across the entire row, closing the gaps by “picking up the wrapped stitches”.

Picking up the Wrapped Stitch on the Knit Side

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Pick up the wrap with the right needle from front to back.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Then insert the right needle into the stitch that is wrapped.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Knit the wrap and the stitch together.

Picking up the Wrapped Stitch on the Purl Side

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Pick up the wrap with the right needle from back to front

.Short Rows | Purl Soho

Place the wrap onto the left needle, over and behind the stitch it was wrapping.

Short Rows | Purl Soho

Purl together the wrap and the stitch that is wrapped.

That’s Short Rows! Not so scary!