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Short Rows

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. Instead, you work part of the way across the row, do something called a "wrap and turn", and then work back the other way, sometimes to the end and sometimes to another wrap and turn.

Wrap and Turn on the Knit Side

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

Bring the yarn forward as if to purl.

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

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

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

Wrap and Turn on the Purl Side

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

Bring the yarn back as if to knit.

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

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

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

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

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

Knit the wrap and the stitch together.

Picking up the Wrapped Stitch on the Purl Side 

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

Place the wrap onto the left needle. 

Purl together the wrap and the stitch that is wrapped.

That's Short Rows! Not so scary! 

58 Responses to Short Rows


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  1. purl bee says:

    Hello Nancy,
    I was not familiar with Grace Akhrem's Olana Slouch, but I've looked it up on Ravelry and am trying to decipher what these instructions might mean. Could you write back in with the exact wording? I am assuming that rather than working past the previous wrap, you wrap the same stitch again and then turn your work. Would this make sense in the context of the pattern?
    Laura

  2. Natasza says:

    I think I am not understanding row 5. When I K42 I arrive at the point in the front and from your description is sounds like the wraps occur at the back. So what am I missing? The wraps are challenging and the instruction is great; but this has me totally stumped.

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Natasza,
    I am assuming you are talking about the Short Row Sweater pattern. Let's try and figure this out together. You are correct, in the pattern, when you are working 42 stitches up to the wrapped stitch, you should be purling across the wrong side. On the previous rows, did you work one stitch pasted the wrapped stitch and then wrap and turn? Have you double checked that you casted on the correct number and that you did your first wrap and turn in the right place?
    Please write back. Hopefully we can get this figured out.
    Laura

  4. mimma says:

    Fantastic tutorial,the only one really useful . You are great,thank uou so much.
    Hugs
    Mimma

  5. jane says:

    Excellent Clear pictures and instructions Thank you so much

  6. Nancy says:

    Just a little confused with short rows in garter stitch. I am making the Imagine When shawl by Toji as seen on Ravelry. Your tutorial is great!

  7. Nita says:

    I am totally confused about the instructions for making the ear flaps for the Garter Ear Flap Hat. Left flap: Once I execute the famous wrp-t on the correct stitch (in my case, 8 stitches before the second marker), what happens? Do I purl back to the beginning-of-the-round marker or to the first marker? And then what? Turn work so I am knitting again (right side) and go to instructions for “Next Row?” If I do that, the working yarn is on the left rather than the right needle, so that’s a problem. Can you offer some clarification? Many thanks.

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Nita.
      I am so sorry I did not see this comment until now!
      Are you still struggling with the short rows? I would love to help you figure this out.

      After you wrap and turn, you go to the next line of instructions and so you’ll be knitting back until you’re told to do another wrap and turn. And yes, your working yarn will be on the left needle, like at the beginning of a row, a short row.

      Please let me know if you have any questions and again, I apologize for the delayed response.
      Laura

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