When you see that a pattern includes “short rows” do you just want to pass it over? I have long had a fear of short rows. In fact, the first shawl I ever attempted, had wrap and turn short rows. At the time, I didn’t understand the purpose of short rows or how to execute them. I eventually frogged the shawl. I have yet to go back and knit that pattern. Over time, I have gained a better understanding of the purpose of short rows and how to knit them.
My latest project was a shawlette with a design that was new to me. You cast on all the stitches for the lace border. After completing the border, you knit to the middle 50 stitches or so, then do longer and longer short rows until you are knitting across the whole shawl. The purpose, is to have the shawl be wider in the middle (mid-back), and thinner at the edges (the ties of the shawl).
The wrap and turn is really quite easy to perform. I find the biggest challenge is to identify the wrapped stitch when you knit back toward it. Adding a stitch marker at the wrapped stitch has made all the difference. So, to perform a wrap and turn, follow these steps.
1. Knit to the stitch that will be wrapped
2. Slip the stitch you wish to wrap purlwise to the right hand needle
3. Bring the yarn forward
4. Place a stitch marker after the last stitch on the left hand needle
5. Slide the slipped stitch back to the left hand needle. The stitch marker should be just to the left of this stitch
6. Now turn your work and start knitting. If you are doing Garter stitch, the yarn is already in the back from when you brought it forward with the wrap and turn.
When you come to the wrapped stitch, you can camouflage the wrap by knitting it together with the wrapped stitch. In the second picture from the bottom, I am holding up the wrap with my needle tip. In the bottom picture, I am knitting the wrap and the wrapped stitch together. The wrapped stitch disappears into your garter rows.
What happens if you just turn your work and don’t wrap your stitch? A hole will appear in your work. If you’re knitting lace, you can incorporate the hole into your pattern. Otherwise, the wrap prevents the hole.