Wrap and Turn Short Rows in Garter Stitch

Learn how to knit wrap and turn short rows in garter stitch! Short rows are a great tool to add smooth curves and shaping to your knitting. The “wrap & turn” method is one of the most commonly used short row techniques, and is particularly easy in garter stitch.

How to knit garter stitch wrap and turn short rows

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What are Short Rows?

Short rows are simply rows where you don’t knit all the stitches, so the row is literally “short” compared to a full row. You leave a few stitches unworked, then turn your work and go back the other way. By working only some of the stitches, you can create extra fabric in some areas compared to others.

This is a great way to add curves and shaping to your work and is commonly used for things like bust darts and sock heels. I used wrap and turn, garter stitch short rows to shape the opening of the Wild Winter Balaclava pattern.

Wild Winter Balaclava - knit pattern on Stitches n Scraps

Wrap and Turn Short Rows

When you leave stitches unworked and then turn, it creates a gap between the stitches you did work and the stitches you didn’t. There are many methods to close this gap, and wrap & turn is one of the most common ones.

The general idea is to wrap the working yarn around the first unworked stitch before you turn to start the next row. This wrap hugs the unworked stitch closer to the stitch before it, closing that gap. When working in garter stitch, there are 2 ways to wrap your stitch.

Wrap From the Back

In garter stitch, you knit every stitch, so your working yarn should already be at the back of your work. When you reach the end of the short row, slip the first unworked stitch purlwise, then bring the working yarn to the front.

Slip with yarn in back, then move yarn forward

Now slip the same stitch back to the other needle without twisting it. You should now see the working yarn wrapped around that stitch.

Slip back onto left needle, yarn is in front.

Turn your work and you’re ready to start the next row!

Turn after wrapping from behind, the yarn is in the back

Wrapping From the Front

If you prefer, you can wrap the stitch in the opposite direction. First bring your working yarn to the front, then slip the stitch.

Slip with yarn in front, then move yarn to the back.

Bring your working yarn to the back, and slip the stitch back onto the other needle.

Slip back to left needle, yarn is in back.

When you turn your work, the working yarn will be in front and you will need to move it to the back again.

Turn after wrapping from the front, the yarn is in the front.

Working Into a Wrapped Stitch

At some point, you will need to work back into those stitches that you wrapped. This is where garter stitch makes things really easy.

If you were working in stockinette, you would need to pick up the wrap and knit it along with the stitch to camouflage it. Otherwise, it would leave a bump.

wrap from wrapped stitch looks like a purl bump

In garter stitch though, that bump blends in perfectly with the purl bumps around it. So there’s no need to pick up the wrap or do anything special. Just ignore the wrap and work into the stitch like normal!

A Closer Look

Ready for more? Compare both wrapping options in the video tutorial. Plus, see how garter stitch wrap and turn short rows look on a chart, and how the different shapes come together over multiple rows.

Wrap and Turn Short Rows in Garter Stitch – Video Tutorial

Watch this video on YouTube

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How to knit garter stitch wrap and turn short rows

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