How to Knit Wraps and Turns

Wraps and turns are used in my sock knitting patterns to help make the rounded heel – the part at the very back and bottom of your heel where the part of your sock that goes under your foot transitions to the part that goes up the back of your heel. In sock knitting, that’s called turning the heel. The steps and a video demonstration are below. Detailed instructions for a sample swatch are below if you’d like to knit along with the video. This is probably the most complicated part of my sock pattern, so it’s a good idea to try it once or twice. After that, the rest of the sock is easy!

The Mechanics of the Wrap and Turn

The wrap and turn technique is slightly different on the knit side and purl side of the work:

  • Knit Side: When knitting and on the right side, slip the first stitch on the left needle to the right needle, purlwise. Bring the yarn to the front, then put the slipped stitch back on the left needle. Turn the work. Bring the yarn to the front to get ready to purl. 
  • Purl Side: When purling and on the wrong side, slip the first stitch on the left needle to the right needle, purlwise. Bring the yarn to the back, then put the slipped stitch back on the left needle. Turn the work. Bring the yarn to the back to get ready to knit.

Picking Up and Disguising the Stitches 

After you knit back and forth for several rows and complete the series of wraps and turns, the next step is to pick up the wraps and disguise them:

  • Knit Side: If you’re working on the right side (the knit side) of the work, when you come to a stitch that has a wrap, you slip the stitch onto the right needle, then lift the wrap up onto the right needle, insert the left needle into the front of both those loops and knit together.
  • Purl Side: If you’re knitting on the wrong side (the purl side) of the work, when you come to a stitch that has a wrap (which you may need to identify on the other side of the work), pick up the wrap with the right needle (from the right side of the work) and place it on the left needle, then purl those two stitches together.

That may be easier to understand by watching the video below. 

Knit a Test Heel Turn

Here are the full instructions if you want to follow along (and knit along) with the video below:

  • Setup: Create a 10 stitch swatch with a few rows of stockinette. Stop after a purl row.
  • Row 1: Knit 8, Wrap and Turn (W&T).
  • Row 2: Purl 6, W&T.
  • Row 3: Knit until the stitch right before the wrapped stitch (2 stitches before the gap), W&T.
  • Row 4: Purl until the stitch right before the wrapped stitch (2 stitches before the gap), W&T.
  • Repeat rows 3 and 4 until 2 unwrapped stitches remain between the wrapped stitches. 
  • Next row: Knit across the row, picking up and knitting the wraps together with the wrapped stitches as you come to them. Stop when you have picked up and disguised the last wrap on the knit side. Turn.
  • Next row: Slip 1, Purl across the row, picking up and purling the wraps with the wrapped stitches as you come to them. Stop when you’ve picked up and disguised the last wrap on the purl side.

Video Tutorial Knit-Along

The following video shows how to do the wrap and turn, and pick up and disguise the stitches to make the heel:

Want to Give it a Try?

The following lesson shows how to knit toe up socks using this wrap and turn method for the heel:

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