Boost Your Knitting Skills: Conquer How to Wrap and Turn

The wrap and turn (w&t) is a knitting technique used to create short rows, which add depth and shaping to your project. It’s a simple technique that can be confusing if you’re just starting out. In this photo guide, we’ll break it down into easy steps and show you how to wrap and turn in your knitting projects like a pro.

how to wrap and turn

What are short rows in knitting?

Short rows are a knitting technique that involve working on a partial section of stitches, rather than the full width of your project. They are used to create subtle curves or dramtic angles in your work, giving it more shape and depth.

By knitting only part of a row or round, then turning the work around before completing the entire sequence, you can build up areas with more stitches and avoid creating unwanted gaps or holes.

How are short rows used in knitting?

Short rows can be used in a variety of projects in a variety of ways.

In shawls, short rows are often used to create interesting angles and shapes. Short rows can be used to turn a heel in socks.

For top down sweaters, short row shaping is used to add a stitches along the back of the neck to drop the front of the neck. And in set-in sleeve sweaters, short rows can be used to turn the cap of the sleeve. And in all sweaters, it can be used for under bust shaping.

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Types of Short Rows in Knitting

There are two main types of short rows in knitting: wrap and turn, which we’ll be covering today, and German Short Rows.

The German short row method involves slipping stitches and working double stitches to create smooth curves without gaps or holes. Both techniques have their own advantages and can be used depending on your knitting project’s needs.

My favorite method is the wrap and turn, but you should experiment with both methods to determine which works best for you!

What is a Wrap and Turn in Knitting?

Wrap and turn is an essential knitting technique that allows you to create short rows by wrapping the yarn around the stitch in order to change directions, then turning your work and continuing in the opposite direction.

This short row method secures the turn without creating a large gap or hole. Later, when you encounter the wrapped stitch, you will “knit the stitch together with its wrap” or “pick up the wrap”, which is a method of tucking the wrap behind the stitch to make it secure and invisible.

Confused? No worries! With practice, you can master this technique and take your knitting to the next level!

wrap and turn in knitting

Helpful Tip: Use Stitch Markers to Flag Wrap and Turns (w&t) in Your Knits

When practicing the w&t technique in knitting, it’s a HUGE help to place an interlocking stitch marker beneath the stitch where you’re wrapping and turning. It helps you keep track of where you need to start the next row or the next wrap and turn.

Trust me, it saves tons of time and hassle! No more checking and double checking where that wrap is. And the markers make it easier to ensure that you’ve picked them all up at the end.

How to Wrap and Turn in Knitting

To learn how to wrap and turn grab a knitting project or swatch in stockinette stitch. Start on the right side (RS) of your work, with a knit row.

If you’re working on your project, follow step one of each how-to below. If you’re practicing on a swatch, knit to two stitches from the edge and work the wrap and turn. On the WS side, purl to 2 stitches from the edge and work the next wrap and turn. Continue to work each w&t to 2 stitches before the previous w&t until you have about 4 sts left in the center.  

How to W&T on the Knit Side

1. Knit up to where your pattern indicates you’ll work the first (or next) wrap and turn.

2. Bring the yarn forward, between the two needles.

wrap and turn (w&t) on knit side

3. Slip the first stitch on your left needle over to your right needle as if to purl.

wrap and turn (w&t) on knit side

4. Bring the yarn to the back, between the two needles.

wrap and turn (w&t) on knit side

5. Slip the first stitch on your right needle over to your left needle as if to purl.

wrap and turn (w&t) on knit side

6. Turn your work. (So now your left needle becomes your right needle and vice-versa.) Give the wrap a tug to tighten before beginning to purl.

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How to W&T on the Purl Side

1. Purl up to where your pattern indicates you’ll work the first (or next) wrap and turn.

2. Bring the yarn to the back, between the two needles.

wrap and turn (w&t) on purl side

3. Slip the first stitch on your left needle over to your right needle as if to purl.

wrap and turn (w&t) on purl side

4. Bring the yarn forward, between the two needles.

wrap and turn (w&t) on purl side

5. Slip the first stitch on your right needle over to your left needle as if to purl.

wrap and turn (w&t) on purl side

6. Turn your work. (So now your left needle becomes your right needle and vice-versa.) Give the wrap a tug to tighten before beginning to knit.

Continue creating wrap and turns as the instructed* or until you run out of stitches on your swatch! If you pull the stitches out onto your cord, you’ll see that you’ve created a trapezoid.

*If your pattern says “knit to 2 stitches past the last w&t” you’ll need to pick up the wraps as you work the wrap and turns.

Want the Video on How to Wrap and Turn in Knitting?

See how to wrap and turn in action in my awesome video tutorial! Sign up below to access this and ALL the video tutorials in the vault along with free patterns and more!

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How to Pick Up Wraps to Complete Wrap and Turn Short Rows

After completing a short row with the wrap and turn method, you must pick up the wrapped stitch together with its wrap on the next row/ round. This will prevent any holes from forming in your work. It also keeps the wrap from forming a bar across the top of your stitch.  

The instructions might tell you to “pick up wraps” or “knit the wrap together with its stitch.” Both mean the same thing.

How to Pick Up Wrap and Turn Stitches on the Knit Side

1. Knit to the wrapped stitch.

2. Insert your right needle underneath the wrap from front to back and lift it onto the left needle, over and behind the stitch it was wrapped around, taking care not to twist it.

how to knit the purl together with its wrap (knit side)

3. Insert righthand needle knitwise into the front leg of the stitch and the back leg of the wrap.

how to knit the purl together with its wrap (knit side)

4. Knit both strands of the stitch and the wrap together. (The wrap will now be settled behind the knit stitch.)

how to knit the purl together with its wrap (knit side)

Repeat Steps 1-3 until all wrap and turns have been worked and you have reached the edge or end of round. If you are working in the round, continue around until you have reached the next set of wrapped stitches and repeat steps 1-3 again.

If you are working flat, proceed learn how to pick up wrap and turn purl stitches below.

How to Pick Up Wrap and Turn Stitches on the Purl Side

1. Purl to the wrapped stitch.

2. Pick the stitch up from the RS by inserting the right needle into the back leg of your wrap stitch from back to front, lifting it onto the left needle, over and in front of the stitch it was wrapped around, taking care not to twist it.

how to knit the purl together with its wrap (purl side)

3. Purl both strands of the stitch and the wrap together through the front leg of both the stitch and its wrap. (The wrap will now appear completely on the purl side.)

how to knit the purl together with its wrap (purl side)

Dance Party Time! A Short Row Celebration

Woo hoo! You did it! Imagine me crazy-hair dancing in the living room to Firework by Katie Perry. Yep. You did that good!

And I believe this 100%, whether or not it looks perfect. Because a new technique is always tricky at first, no matter how long you’ve been knitting.

So even if you think you hate it right now, try it 3 more times before writing it off for good. (This is how I fell in love with cables and socks after a horrible first go.)

And don’t forget to sign up to grab the Wrap and Turn in Knitting video tutorial below to help you find short row success even faster!

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