How To Pick Up Wraps On The Purl Side: Wrap and Turn

Cedar Leaf Shawlette thumbnail
Cedar Leaf Shawlette - Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting
Do you know how to pick up wraps on the purl side of short-row projects?

It's not as hard as it sounds.

What if the trick you used to do so were so rare that none of your friends had even heard of it?

Undoubtedly that would be even cooler.

On my last short-row project, I discovered a new way to pick up and hide purl-side wraps that makes each wrap completely invisible - a heretofore very elusive skill!

This is the very trick you need in order to pick up wraps on the purl side of your short rows.

The Problem: Short-Row Patterns Create Wraps That Must Be Disguised

A short-row pattern, by its definition, requires you to knit or purl almost all the way across a row, and then turn around.

That's why its rows are called "short" - you stop short of the end.

Each time you get to the end of the row, the pattern will tell you to wrap the working yarn around the next stitch and then turn and go back the way you came.

If you keep doing this on each row, you'll get a shaped piece of knitting which is taller in the middle than it is on the ends, like this:

Swatch showing purl-side wraps, ready to be picked up
Pick these wraps up correctly and the whole project looks better

You can see here that every other stitch has a "wrap" pulling it close to the stitch next to it.

When you're done with the short rows, it's time to hide the wraps and keep knitting.

But Regular Instructions for Hiding Wraps Look Awful on the Purl Side

To pick up wraps on the knit side, you bring the wrap up and over the wrapped stitch, and then knit both stitches together.

Extrapolating logically, to hide a wrap on the purl side you would lift it onto the needle next to its wrapped stitch and then do a purl 2 together.

The problem is, that looks awful, as you can see by looking at the pink-tinted loops in the photo below.

Swatch of knitting with wrapped stitches hidden badly
If you use the same technique to hide purl wraps as you do to hide knit wraps, it doesn't look good on the right side of the work.

The problem with the "intuitive" way of picking up purl wraps is that it places the wrap in front of the stitch.

The challenge is to find an easy way to get that wrap in the back, which is exactly what our trick does.

Ready To Learn How To Pick Up Short-Row Purl Wraps The Invisible Way?

Before we start- if you need to brush up, please review Short Rows: Learn To Wrap-and-Turn. It will refresh your ability to follow the pattern below.

Make a swatch and follow along:

CO 20 sts.
Row 1: K 18, W&T (wrap and turn).
Row 2: P 16, W&T.
Row 3: K to 2 sts before next wrapped st, W&T.
Row 4: P to 2 sts before next wrapped st, W&T.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have 4 wrapped stitches along each needle. K2, W&T.

Here is the part of the pattern that comes next, where you will use our new trick:

Next row: P across, pick up and purl wraps as you come to them.

Now, join me for the elegant way to make this happen.

By the way, this technique comes from the pattern instructions of the Cedar-Leaf Shawlette (who knew? It's actually a good idea to read pattern instructions).

Video: How to Invisibly Pick Up Wraps on the Purl Side

Video Thumbnail
Short Rows: How To Pick Up And Knit Wraps On The Purl Side
Do you know how to pick up wraps on the purl side of short-row projects? It's not as hard as it sounds. What if the trick you used to do so were so rare that none of your friends had even heard of it? Undoubtedly that would be even cooler. On my last short-row project, I discovered a new way to pick

To sum up:

  • Knit to the wrapped purl stitch.
  • Using the right-hand needle, pick up the wrap from the right side of the work.
  • Place the wrap on the left-hand needle over and behind the stitch it was wrapping.
  • Purl those two stitches together.

You can use this technique on any pattern that calls for short rows.

See What It Looks Like On A Real Project

Below are the short rows on my own Cedar Leaf Shawlette - after the purl wraps have been picked up and knitted.

I've put arrows pointing to the stitches that were wrapped, because without them it's hard to tell!

Cedar Leaf Shawlette shown in purple Camelspin

So that's it! Thanks to Never Not Knitting for sharing this great trick. Be sure to show the knitters in your group how to do it - I think they will be amazed.

swirly divider

So, Liat... What Were You Doing In Israel?

Glad you asked! I love sharing my summer adventures with you.

I went to Tel Aviv, Israel, for the last three weeks in March (the perfect time of year to visit).

My grandma, dad, aunts and uncles, cousins, and childhood friends all live there, and I managed to visit almost all of them!

I stayed with my grandma, and she was overjoyed.

Like a good Jewish grandma, she expressed her joy by filling the house with cookies and baking almost continuously.

Liat's grandma smiling and baking cookies
My wonderful grandma making almond cookies.

Good thing for me, there was...

Bikram Yoga Israel sign with logo
How do you say "I'm all hot and sweaty" in Hebrew?

...every day. If anything, it kept me out of the house for two hours a day - two hours during which I could not eat cookies!

Now, my grandma may look all sweet and innocent, as if she just wants to feed me meatballs all day long...

Liat's grandma serving dinner and smiling

...but she's got a secret. She's a ninja with a ping-pong racket! We got the whole family playing the night they came over to celebrate Shavuot.

Liat's grandma playing ping pong in a mumu

Switching themes, here's a gratuitous photo that just serves to propagate a stereotype that all Israelis are young and buff, and that they sell electronics and have an affinity for gym bags.

Israeli man in a store in a shopping mall
A buffet of Israeli stereotypes, rolled into one muscly package

It just might be true!

And, lastly, I made sure my grandma was fully stocked with yarn for many months to come.

By the way, she saw mine and now she's knitting her own Cedar Leaf Shawlette! She's adding a crochet scalloped edge and skipping the more difficult lace bit.

Liat and her grandma in a yarn store in Tel Aviv, Israel
Yes, while I was here I did try to show the proprietor Magic Loop...

Love you, Safta. See you next year!

Liat kissing her grandma on the head

In KnitFreedom news, the whole month of June I've been in California with my mom, working hard on a complete website re-do and a real book contract (yes you read that right). Exciting!

And, coming next week: free mitten patterns for Magic Loop!

More Resources

If you liked this tutorial on picking up wrapped stitches on the purl side, please add a link to this post on your blog, tell people about it on your favorite knitting forum, leave me a comment.


40 thoughts on “How To Pick Up Wraps On The Purl Side: Wrap and Turn”

    1. Done! Thanks for the reminder. I wrote this post a long time ago when I wasn’t as aware of stuff like this. I appreciate you helping me give credit where credit is due (i.e. the entire post is thanks to her!).

  1. I would like to be involved in your knitfreedom forum as I would love to know how to do short rows, magic loops etc. Pat

  2. Thank you for the video on how to hide the wraps on the purl side. Am I correct that if I’m doing a 1×1 ribbed shawl collar, that I use your technique on the purl stiches and the other one for the knit stitches? I have ripped back this collar four times because when it is all finished and I do the row where I pick up the wraps – it looks terrible! I’m hoping your technique will solve my problem.

    1. Hey Kas, I’m sorry you’ve had to rip out your knitting :(

      I’m not sure where your wraps are but I would try that – use the purl technique for the purl stitches and the regular technique for the knit stitches and see how that looks. And if you are still stuck, please feel free to post in the KnitFreedom Forum so we can help you there. :)

  3. I have referred to this video and tried your hints. My confusion is about the double wrapped stitches. They look funny on the knit side. Why does your demo stop short, as if there are no directions to wrap the next stitch and turn, so that all future rows end with a double wrapped stitch. If the technique is the same, I wish it was shown. I must be missing something, because your videos are so thorough on everything else. Thanks for all your work.

  4. Thanks so much for the tip on picking up purl side wraps and for sharing your trip to Israel w/us. The picture of you & your Grandma at the yarn store is Priceless* Good Luck to you on all of your endeavors.

  5. I love the new tech I am into knitting socks and with the short rows I didn’t like how the purl wrap was looking I can’t wait to try your tip on my next pair of shoes. thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  6. I’m pretty sure this is a Cat Bordhi discovery and it has traveled fast thanks to the internet and U tube. Its her Sweet Tomato heel. It’s fun to watch her video and hear her sharing this discovery.

    1. No maybe not the Sweet Tomato heel. It’s the video that called something like La Link and La Rink. I get so confused because there are so many wonderful videos out there.

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