How to Knit Shadow Wrap Short Rows

Short-row shaping is literally knitting a “short,” or partial, row before turning and working back in the other direction. It allows you to knit three-dimensional shapes or curved edges. I use it in these patterns to shape necklines and hemlines. There are many methods of knitting short rows, but the Shadow Wrap is by far my favorite. It is not only virtually invisible, but also quite easy to work, once you memorize the steps.

    SWSR on RS

    1

    Step 1

    On the right side: Knit to where you are instructed to turn a short row.

    2

    Step 2

    A

    Before you turn, work a KRL into the next stitch on your left needle by lifting the right arm of the stitch directly below the one on your needle.

    B

    Place this new loop on the left needle.

    C

    Knit the new loop so it becomes a stitch.

    D

    Immediately pass that new stitch back to the left needle so it sits next to its "shadow".

    3

    Step 3

    You'll see the twin shadow stitches sitting right next to each other. You can't miss them. Now turn your work and purl back.

    4

    Step 4

    When you work back to the shadow wrap on the right side and need to close your short row, all you do is knit the 2 shadow stitches together.

    SWSR on WS

    1

    Step 1

    On wrong side, purl as instructed in pattern to prepare to turn a short row.

    2

    Step 2

    A

    Before you turn, work a modified PLL into the next stitch on your left needle: Slip the next stitch from the left to the right needle.

    B

    Insert the left needle from the bottom up through the head of the purl stitch just below the needle. (This is similar to a PLL, but you are working directly under the needle rather than 2 stitches below.) 

    C

    Purl the head of the stitch that you just picked up. You’ve made 2 little “shadow” stitches that sit together.

    D

    Slide the “shadow” stitches together back to the left needle.

    3

    Step 3

    As you do, you’ll see the twin “shadow” stitches sitting right next to each other. You can’t miss them. Now turn your work and knit back. 

    4

    Step 4

    When you work back to the shadow wrap on the wrong side and need to close your short row, simply purl the 2 “shadow” stitches together.

    Comments

    Cocoknits

    We try to wrap the ‘shadow’ with the same tension as a regular stitch, but find that what makes a difference is how you knit it together with its main stitch. When you follow the pattern instructions, you will end up working the stitches together (either knit or purl) so that the pair of stitches turns and the shadow stitch sits on the wrong side of the piece. You might try wrapping the shadow stitch more firmly to make sure it is a tiny bit shorter, so it will want to tuck in on the wrong side, naturally. Also, the inconsistencies you see may block out—could be worth trying on a swatch.


    Knitter in need

    I usually use the German short rows but I’m never totally satisfied with them. Tried to master this shadow wrap method instead but the end result is very untidy. If afterwards I pull and adjust each affected stitch to take away unnecessary slack here and add extra yarn where the stitch came out too small it looks great, but it takes a long time to fix a row. Can you give any pointers on fine details? I understand the technique perfectly, I can perform the actions described. But I can’t work out if I should really tighten the working yarn or leave it very loose at each point to keep an even tension throughout. Practice doesn’t seem to improve the results so I’m hoping you can help!


    Cocoknits

    Hi Mary,

    We’re happy to help. Could you send us an email at knit@cocoknits.com for pattern support? Please also let us know what pattern you are knitting.

    Thanks!


    Mary

    I’m wondering when your pattern says, “continue in this way working 4 fewer sts each pass 7 times total until you have 28 unworked sts on each shoulder”, how do I count this? Is the shadow stitch with it’s neighbour considered one stitch? Does 7 times total mean a total of 7 turns? When counting 28 unworked stitches does that mean 28 from each end or 28 left in the middle between all your wraps. Help, I’m obviously confused here.


    Cocoknits

    Hi Krissi,

    Yes you can, we have directions in the Artemis Wrap pattern :)


    Krissi

    Can you do this in a pattern like in moss stitch or ribbing or seed stitch, etc?


    Cocoknits

    Hi NIna,

    You wouldn’t follow the directions above. Rather you would slip the st wyib. Turn. Now put yarn to back between sts and slip at back to right needle. This will make the purl look like it has two bars across it and is invisible.


    NIna

    What’s the proper way to use shadow wrap SR with garter stitch? Thanks.


    Cocoknits

    Hi Kathie, There are a few variations of knitting left-handed. If you’re continental there should be no difference in the instructions. If you’re a mirror knitter, you could watch the video with a mirror. At the moment we have so many video requests and know of so few mirror knitters that it’s not something we could do for the foreseeable future. Hope that helps!


    Kathie Sims

    It would be really helpful if these instructions could be done for us left-handed knitters too!!


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