How To Knit Shadow Wrap Short Rows

While exploring short rows for her blog, Alice of Socktopus fame came up with this version of short row shaping that she calls the shadow wrap. I think it is the best method I’ve come across. So tidy and easy to work – I am a convert, I think you will be too!

Right Side

Step 1

On the RS: knit to where you want to turn your short row.

Step 2

Work a KRL or “lifted increase” into the next st on your left needle;

  1. lift the right arm of the stitch directly below the one on your needle
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 2A
  2. Place it up on the left needle
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 2B
  3. and knit it
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 2C
  4. You will have a new st on your right needle, immediately pass that new stitch back to the left needle so it sits next to its “shadow”
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 2D

Step 3

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

Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 3

Step 4

When you work back to the shadow wrap on the RS and need to close your short row, all you do is knit the two shadow sts together.

Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Right Side – Step 4

That’s it, easy, clean and neat.

Wrong Side

Step 1

On the WS: purl to where you want to turn your short row.

Step 2

  1. slip the next st from left to right needle
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 2A
  2. insert left needle up through the head of that purl st
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 2B
  3. and purl it. See how you’ve made two little shadow sts that sit together?
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 2C
  4. slide them together back to the left needle.
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 2D

Step 3

  1. Turn and knit back.
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 3A
  2. As you do, you’ll see the twin “shadow” sts sitting right next to each other. You can’t miss them.
    Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 3B

Step 4

When you work back to the shadow wrap on the WS and need to close your short row all you do is purl the two shadow sts together.

Shadow Wrap Short Rows // Wrong Side – Step 4

That’s it. Easy, clean and neat.


  1. Beth Ann Adams

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Finally! I can do short rows!! I am not particularly dim, but I just couldn’t figure out short rows, wrap and turn makes no sense to me, I’ve looked at several different methods and finally came across this tutorial! This makes sense to me and is easy to execute, the fabric is perfect! No holes, no ridges, just the knitted material, I’ve even been asked to teach a class! Holy cow batman!

  2. Jane Shoop

    I am confused is the shadow wrap short row the same as bias bind off technique?? Thank u

    • No, they are completely different. You’d use short-row shaping when your pattern calls for it (usually for 3-d effect or extra drape). Bias BO is for Binding off. They are not related in any way.

  3. Carol Sierze

    Oh Julie… You don’t know how long I’ve waited for an easy, straight forward way to master short-rows! I’ve had 35+skeins of Noro Kureyon waiting to make the “Lizzard Ridge” blanket, but just couldn’t find those darn slanted stitches on the WS. It’s so easy to find the twin “shadow” stitch. I think I will finally have my beautiful blanket next winter. Thank You, Thank You!! I love all my Cokoknits patterns!

  4. Laura G

    Wow! Thank you so much for posting this easy to understand tutorial. I can do German short rows and the standard short rows used in cuff down, slip stitch heeled socks, but somehow wrap and turns still mystified me. Wonderful!


  5. Jsomrak

    I’m intrigued by this method, but am having trouble with “the right arm of the stitch directly below the one on your needle”? Also- could I substitute this method for the short row method you put in your Veronika swoncho pattern? Thanks!

  6. LuluManship

    I think I love you….thankyou so much for this tip, it is ingenious.

  7. Liz

    Hi and thank you for all the yummy things you have designed. I have bought three of them and am currently working on the largest size of your Leonie design.
    After looking through the comments on Ravelry and not finding an answer there I am writing with questions about the short rows on the back of this sweater. Actually I think I understand the short rowing. I knit or purl over to the last multiple of 4, do the SHSR and turn. A question here: I am counting the stitch and the “shadow” as two stitches when counting those multiples of four stitches from the edge. Am I right? On my needles there are groupings of shadow stitch pairs with two stitches between each pair.
    Second question: After completing all the necessary short rowing the pattern says “Work across all sts knitting or purling the shadow wraps together. Break yarn, place all sts on hold.” As I see it, after working all of the short rows, I should be facing the wrong side and be 40 stitches (counting the stitches with their shadows as 2 stitches) from the edge of the back and I am not sure how to proceed using those directions. I can stop there, break the yarn and place all the stitches on hold – which is what I think I should do. Or I can purl over to the edge working the stitches with their shadows (and thus leaving me with fewer than 40 stitches on that shoulder) Or I can purl over to the edge, turn and knit across the entire row to the other side working the stitches/shadows of the other shoulder together making both shoulders match.
    It seems to me that what I need to do is to break the yarn there, at the edge of the neck opening, and put the stitches on hold waiting to finish up the front, after which I can proceed to join one shoulder, BO across the back neck stitches and join the other shoulder. During the joining of shoulders I will do the knitting or purling of shoulder wraps with an equal number of stitches on each front shoulder. Except, by working the stitches together with their shadows that means I will have fewer than 40 stitches to work and the instructions on joining shoulders is saying to join 40 stitches.
    All of this seems to boil down to (please correct me if I am wrong): Although the pairs of SWSR stitches are counted as 2 when short rows are being worked, they are really counted as one stitch when joining shoulders. Right? So 40 stitches in each shoulder is actually 30.
    I hope my questions are clear enough to answer. Thanks for any help that’s coming! Liz

  8. Liz

    A change to what I said before is I just found that there should be 3 stitches between short row shadow stitches not 2. Still needing advice on the pattern wording after completion of short rows on back of sweater where I am ending up at the neck edge rather than the shoulder seam. Thanks!

  9. Christine

    Fantastic technique and tutorial. Have never been happy with the appearance of my short rows, and these looked perfect.

  10. jen

    omg that is BRILLIANT!!!! thank you!!

  11. Dsynr

    Will this method work when turning corners such as in the “10-St Afghan”?

    • I am not familiar with the 10-stitch afghan but it should work wherever short-rows are called for!

  12. Jen

    I do like this method, but I am wondering (as Liz asked more specifocally, I am asking more generally) about stitch count. In various short row methods, they caution that the stitch count may be slightly different by method (i.e. simple wrap and turn vs German short row vs Cat Bordhi method). Maybe in the end it doesn’t matter and one looks at the double stitches as 1 stitch???

    • Correct, you don’t count the shadow stitch. It’s pretty easy to see, it will simply be knit or purled together with its shadow in the next row so don’t count it as a separate stitch.

  13. Karen

    Wow – thanks so much for sharing this, it is easy to follow and easy to do and nice results. I just ripped back quite a bit of my Lightwave shawl due to the short rows looking wonky. This will be perfect.

  14. Dee

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I am actually about to knit a bottom up shawl similar to Annis that does no wrap short rows – there is turning but uses ssk, etc. I dont like the small jogs that happened when I used this for Annis. Can I follow the designers instructions and use this method instead?

  15. Arlene Agree

    I am knitting Veronika and want to use the shadow wrap technique rather than the yo method you originally included with the pattern. I get how to do the shadow wraps. My question is how do you know when to do them? In the pattern you do the yo wraps adding two sts each pass and then when you have worked a certain amount of sts you add only one st each pass. Is is the same with the shadow wrap? Thank you.

    • Hi,
      You work a shadow wrap where the instructions tell you to “turn…” First, you would do the “wrap” on the next stitch, THEN turn, and work back. When you come to that shadow stitch (the stitch nestled together with it’s twin) knit (on RS) or purl (on WS) them tog – this is STITCH ONE of your additional sts. So if you are to add two stitches, that would be stitch one, you would also knit or purl the following stitch, then work the next SWSR. Does that help?

    • Arlene agree

      Yes. Thanks so much.

  16. Sally McCappin

    Hi Julie,
    Like Liz above, I am stuck on your Leonie pattern at the “Work Short Rows for Back Shoulders” section. I understand that the shadow wraps are counted as one stitch and are knitted or purled together but I am stuck on a different issue.
    So- I have worked my SWSR 4 stitches fewer each knit & purl row 6 times, ending up with 24 unworked stitches for each shoulder and 28 stitches in the middle. This means I have finished two thirds of the way along a purl row.
    Do I now finish the purl row to close the short rows on one shoulder and then knit all the way back to close the short rows on the other shoulder?
    This means there is an extra row on one side but does this matter, or am I doing something wrong?

    • admin

      Hi Sally– Sorry you’re having difficulty with Leonie. We don’t answer pattern support questions on the Cocoknits website, but you can email Julie at for help or ask the Cocoknits group on Ravelry. Thanks.

  17. Mirjana

    This is sooooo well written tutorial even for me as a beginner! Thank you!

  18. emmyc

    I love this short row! My big question is whether there is any reason to use any other short row method?

    • The only other one I use is wrap and turn on Garter Stitch – and I leave the sts wrapped so they mimic the purl sts.

  19. Karen

    How well does this work on garter stitch?

    • The best technique for short rows on garter is a wrap and turn – and then leave the stitch wrapped. It mimics the bar across the stitch of a purl – and tends to blend in pretty well.

  20. Can shadow rows be done while knitting in the round when 4 stitches before the marker are worked back and forth on both knit rows and purl rows. I am a new knitter and can’t wait to finish this boy’s sweater so I can knit my granddaughter some of the patterns from your book. I love the wonderful way the shoulders fit. I’m sure my 14 year old granddaughter will love it too.

    • Hi,
      Yes, you’ll work back and forth until you’ve finished the short rows (knit and purl rows) and then resume knitting in the round once you’ve finished the short row shaping.

  21. Laurel lombardi

    I am working a brioche pattern with a wrap and turn on the purl side. Every wrap and turn creates a wavy pattern. Can you help to eliminate the curves ?

    • I have to admit…I really don’t like working brioche stitch – even though I know it’s very popular right now – so I have never studied how to best work short rows with it. I’d try Stephen West or Nancy Marchant, they are the Brioche queens;-)

  22. Mithril

    Isn’t this the same as “twin stitches” in the Fish lips kiss heel pattern?

  23. I know this is an old post, but I’d never even heard of this particular short-row technique until I came across your work! I’ve always struggled with wrap-and-turn, especially RS/WS, and while I’ve been experimenting with Japanese and German short rows, I’m also going to have to try this, as well! It looks like it might be the simplest.

    Thank you!

  24. Patricia Mary Wann

    I am confused, I have never heard of ‘short rows’ or ‘shadow wrap’ is it an american term?Is it just shaping decrease and increase???
    sorry for being stupid……

    • Hi,

      You can google or search to find out what a short-row is. It’s knitting part of a row, not the complete row, and it is used to get either 3D shaping or curves in your knitting.

  25. Edie

    hi,I need to know how to do short rowing so that it looks good on the purl side, as that is the right side of my knitting,Is there a way?

    • Hi,

      The best thing to try is a traditional wrap and turn – often on a public purl-side, this looks fine because it mimics the bar across the purl stitch. Give that a try!

  26. Krista Deer

    This makes short rows so easy I can’t imagine using any other method! Thank you south for making this tutorial….it is so enlightening!!

  27. Krista Deer

    Oops….that should say, “thank you so much…..”
    Sorry about that!

  28. Allison

    I learned this following the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” pattern. Love it!
    Love all your tutorials too Coco.

  29. Jill D

    Would this work on ribbing? (I’m working on a men’s cardigan with short rows in the ribbed shawl collar, and not happy with my wrap/turn short rows. Would I just need to follow instructions for knit and pearl rather than front/back? Thank you.for any advice on this! 🙂

    • Yes, it works GREAT on ribbing! Whatever stitch you come to when you need to turn, do the appropriate SW – (knit version if it’s a knit, purl version if a purl). When doing a shawl collar, I do the short rows first thing so they are close to the pick-up edge, not on the outer edge. Start at center and add more sts each side on every row…Should work fine!

  30. Janet G.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been struggling with short rows and ALMOST gave up on them altogether. This tutorial is life changing!

  31. Lepetit

    So sorry I discover your blog only to day… It is a marvellous “pépite” a golden stone !
    for a lot of my questions I read a reply and specialy for KRL,KLL and PRL,PLL…
    I asked you in a commentary about “ALLY” my problem with extra stitches but it was just a “short row” that I am able to do but you gave a very clear and efficient explanation just above ! Thanks so much for that !

  32. Bev

    I am just learning short row w/t and came across your instructions for the shadow wrap. I am using it on the shaping of the rib band 2×2 rib around the neck of a sweater for my husband. I made a practice swatch of both methods and I like your method so much better. It was a little confusing at first as I was doing 1 with the knitting stitch and the next with a purl stitch but I think I have it now. Thanks so much.

    • So glad it helped! We also have videos of the purl and knit versions of SWSR here -in case that’s easier for you;-)

  33. Annie

    Thanks for this. I have the fish lips kiss pattern, all 16 pages of it. While I could understand the shadow wrap (she has videos) I couldn’t figure out how to apply it to a short row heel. This helps a lot.

  34. Mary

    I recently purchased the cocoknits method book and love it. I am working on my third sweater, Molly Version B. The short rows are ingenious, but I have one question….I completed the short row shaping on right and wrong side, and am knitting the round where i am to knit the shadow stitches together. The shadow worked on the Rs (knit) are turning out beautifully, but when I knit the shadows worked on the Ws (purled) there is a big hole. Is there a workaround or am I doing something wrong?? Thanks!

    • There should be no holes…so you might want to go to the videos and double-check that you are working them correctly. They should be invisible on both knit/purl sides… Here’s the link.

  35. Carolyn

    I love shadow wraps for short rows. So much easier than traditional wrap and turn. I never remembered how to pickup the wrap. Thanks for this!!

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