Sock Knitting: Shadow Wrap Short-Rows

Deuce, by Alice Yu, from
Spring 2013

There seem to be an endless number of ways to knit socks, and, as Martha says, that’s a good thing! We can choose our favorites and go from there. But there’s always more to learn, and leave it to sock knitting expert and Soctopus Yarn company founder Alice Yu to come up with a fantastic new way to work short-rows: shadow wraps.

Her sock pattern, Duece, shown at left and available in the new issue of Sockupied, is a fabulous pattern that uses the shadow-wrap technique. Isn’t that lattice stitch great? And the shadow-wrapped wedge heel looks like it would provide a really comfy fit.

Here’s how to work the shadow wrap short-rows. Please note that the directions written here for shadow wraps aren’t written for any specific sock or any specific stitch count; you can use whichever pattern you want to use, just follow the directions below.

Alice Yu’s shadow-wrap method uses the row below the needle to prepare for a gapless heel. Use it for a wedge heel or an hourglass heel.

Twin stitch (knit) (TWK):
With right needle, knit into the purl bump of stitch directly below stitch on left needle (Figs. 1, 2). Slip stitch from right needle to left needle without twisting it (Fig. 3)—2 stitches from 1 stitch. Turn work.

Twin stitch (purl) (TWP):
With yarn in from (wyf), slip 1 stitch purlwise to right needle, then insert left needle from back to front into purl bump of stitch below stitch on right needle and purl this stitch (Fig. 4 + 5)—2 stitches from 1 stitch. Slip both stitches of twin stitch from right needle to left needle without twisting. (Fig. 6). Turn work.

Narrowing Section
*Short-row 1 (RS): Knit to last stitch, TWK.
Short-row 2 (WS): Sl 1 pwise wyf, purl to last stitch, TWP.
Short-row 3: Knit to last st before twin stitch, TWK.
Short-row 4: Purl to last st before twin stitch, TWP.
Repeat Short-rows 3 and 4 until the desired number of stitches remain between stitches.


The wedge heel, worked with shadow wrapped short-rows


Widening Section, Wedge Heel Option
Round 1 (RS): Knit to end of heel, working twin stitches as 1 stitch when you come to them, work instep in pattern.
Round 2: Knit to end of round, working remaining twin stitches as 1 stitch when you come to them and working instep in pattern.
Repeat from * 1 or 2 more times to fit heel.

To learn how to work the hourglass heel with shadow wraps, get your issue of Sockupied today!


P.S. What’s your favorite way to knit socks? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

14 thoughts on “Sock Knitting: Shadow Wrap Short-Rows

  1. My favorite way to knit socks is toe-up. I like that you can try them on, and that you can make the leg portion as tall as you want within the limits of the amount of yarn you have left. I’ve never tried short rows in anything before, so this technique is intriguing.

  2. I am new to knitting socks, knitting anything really. But I want to make them all. I start on something and I see something else, so before I finish the first project, I start something else. Does anyone else do that??

  3. Hey, Kathleen. I’m getting ready to start Deuce. The pattern calls for two skeins of Socktopus Sokkusu for the medium sized sock. Is that correct? That’s 866 yards of yarn!

  4. I love knitting socks, and make them for myself and friends and family. I made the snowflower socks from the winter 2012 Interweave knits, and am now using double stitch short rows to shape the heels in other patterns too. This makes a really neat heel.

  5. I’ve only knit a few of pair in both ways, but I prefer toe-up with Judy’s Magic Cast On method and the Magic Loop technique rather than dpns.

  6. I might be reading it wrong, but it looks like the ‘Narrowing’ section and the ‘Widening’ section are misnamed. In the ‘Narrowing’ section, you are adding more stitches (making two stitches from one with the TWK and TWP technique), and in the ‘Widening’ section, you are taking away stitches (work twin stitches as one when you come to them).