There are many ways to work short rows, but this method is by far my favourite! I find the stitches come out more evenly than other methods I’ve tried, creating a more seamless short row. I hope you love it as much as I do!
- How to turn your stitches
- How to pick up turned stitches
- How to substitute German Short rows for regular wrap and turns
The steps for turning your stitches
- (Right side) Work to the stitch specified in your pattern
- Turn the work so the wrong side is facing
- (Wrong side) Slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with yarn in front
- Pull the yarn to the back of the work over top of the right needle. This will distort the stitch, making it look as if there are 2 stitches instead of 1.
- Bring the yarn to the front between the needles to begin purling, or leave at the back if the next stitch is knit
- Keeping a tighter tension than usual for the first few stitches work to the stitch specified in your pattern
- Turn the work so the right side is facing
- (Right side) Bring the yarn to the front between the needles
- Slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with the yarn in front
- Pull the yarn to the back of the work over top of the right needle. This will distort the stitch making it look as if there are 2 stitches instead of 1.
Continue in this fashion as specified in your pattern, creating your ‘wrapped’ or ‘doubled’ stitches.
This is how you work your short rows, back and forth, creating extra fabric.
Picking up the turned/doubled stitches
- Work to the doubled stitch
- Work the the doubled stitch as if it were one (like a knit 2 together, or purl 2 together, depending on the stitch)
Voila! You have worked German Short Rows!
Substituting German Short Rows for wrap & turn instructions
When substituting German short rows for a classic wrap & turn (w&t) you just want to remember that a wrapped stitch in the w&t version is the same as the ‘turned’ or ‘doubled’ stitch in German short rows.
Instruction: knit to 3 sts before wrapped st, w&t
What you want to do for German short rows is to knit to 3 sts before the last turned stitch, work 1 more stitch and turn your work etc.
January 30, 2022 @ 2:08 pm
I am having trouble counting the stitches in the German short row. Directions say to knit to 3 sets before marker, work GSR. When I come back to that spot , it says nit to 4 stitches before last worked stitch, work GSR. Is the previous GSR counted as the irked stitch.
January 30, 2022 @ 10:30 pm
I’m not sure if you’re reading from one of our patterns, so I can’t be certain about the designer’s intent. However, I’d personally count the GSR turn prior (the doubled stitch) as the ‘last worked stitch’ and knit until I had that GSR(doubled st), then 3 more regular sts on the LH needle, then I’d work the next GSR on the next stitch (stitch 3 of those 3 regular sts).
That said, in many patterns short rows just add a little extra fabric, so their PRECISE placement isn’t too critical, as long as it’s symmetrical! Hope this helps ~ Em
November 4, 2021 @ 7:06 am
I am a long-time knitter and always hated doing wrap-and-turn short rows, even avoiding projects with short rows. However, I do appreciate that sweaters will look and fit better with this technique. Then I started using German short rows. I was surprised how simple it is to execute and how good-looking the results are. Much better!
September 1, 2021 @ 6:31 pm
I’m having some trouble with the short rows in the Spotlight pattern (1st time doing short rows). My understanding is that you are not completing full rounds with short rows, but rather going back and forth over a certain set of fabric, but it seems as though my turns aren’t resulting in that! Also, I’m knitting for a child; in the flax short row tutorial it notes that for kids, having a reversible sweater can be a benefit! Is there a way to avoid short rows in Spotlight? Thanks!
September 6, 2021 @ 6:58 am
You can skip the short rows if you like :)
June 23, 2021 @ 5:14 am
I just came across this pattern and it’s adorable. Thank you for the written and visual pictures of learning how to do an icord and short rows. i’m a visual learner so this is extremely helpful. Now off to buy some great yarn to make this hat for my granddaughter.
June 4, 2021 @ 8:42 am
FINALLY! I have been looking everywhere (online, books, magazines, sites) and you were the ONLY ONE I could find that did a clear photo step by step. I can’t thank you enough!
April 24, 2021 @ 1:48 pm
I’m trying to knit the GSR together on the Love Note Sweater and find that one side it looks like the GSR stitch creates a small hole. Is there a way to prevent this when knitting the GSR together?
April 26, 2021 @ 1:53 am
There’s a bit more detail on how I like to work the ‘doubled stitches’ here: https://blog.tincanknits.com/2020/09/24/adding-short-rows-to-flax/ – scroll down to under the title that says “An alternative method for resolving the doubled stitches” and try that method to see if it works any better for you. ~ Em
April 13, 2021 @ 8:44 am
I am trying to knit Rainbow Kippah. (I made a similar one where I used the W & T and figured out that method, but it was with a finer sock yarn. ) I don’t understand the instruction that indicates on even rows GSR -but at what point? At the beginning of the row?
April 13, 2021 @ 12:21 pm
Hi Deborah – Sorry, that pattern isn’t one of ours so I can’t really say. You might want to try contacting the designer.
January 16, 2021 @ 8:09 am
So you do the turn and have the double-stitch on the R needle. Pattern says “P 11” and turn again. Does the double stitch count as one of the 11?
January 17, 2021 @ 10:08 pm
Hi Jill – Nope, it doesn’t count.
September 15, 2020 @ 12:17 pm
Starting Love Notes sweater next week . . . Thanks Patricia . . . your question answers mine.
July 27, 2020 @ 3:25 pm
Hi, I’m working the Lovenote sweater and I’m new to short rows. Do I work the rows with the count as specified (54 stitches for my size for row 1) or do I work one more? Confused by the tutorial on German short rows and the “w&t” instruction in the pattern. And can you clarify “the gap?”
July 28, 2020 @ 11:34 am
Hi Patricia – When substituting German short rows for wrap & turn instructions the ‘wrapped stitch’ become the ‘turned stitch’, so you are going to knit 1 more and then ‘turn’ that stitch
July 28, 2020 @ 12:48 pm
Thanks Alexa! One more question–I assume “gap” refers to the previous w&t?
July 29, 2020 @ 1:26 pm
Hi Patricia – Yep, you have it just right!
June 10, 2020 @ 10:34 am
Your German Short Row tutorial is absolutely the BEST! I’ve been struggling with this technique for ages. I just used it on your Almanac pullover and it’s perfect – thank you!
June 7, 2020 @ 12:04 pm
After knitting 2 short rows, my pattern for the next row says to knit until 11 stitches remain. Do the double stitches created in the previous short rows count as 1 or 2 stitches when counting the remaining stitches?
June 8, 2020 @ 10:47 am
Hi Marcia – I would count them as 1.
January 7, 2020 @ 3:03 pm
How do you do German short rows on ribbing for the gramps sweater?
January 8, 2020 @ 4:38 pm
Hi Colleen – You can definitely use German short rows on the gramps, you will use knit or purl instructions depending on which stitch you land on for your wrap and turn.
December 6, 2019 @ 11:33 am
Hi, newbie here, i’ve never knitted pants and am attempting the Rocky joggers
(GAHH!!! so cute!!!!). Anyway, after knitting “Short row 1, Short row 2” (im doing german short rows), the “Next row” says to “knit to end of round…bla bla bla …together with the st it wraps.” I think that just means k2tog right? The word ‘it’ at the end is confusing me. That’s not an abbreviation right?
December 6, 2019 @ 9:43 pm
Hi Crissy – you want to knit that double st as one if you are subbing in german short rows for the wrap and turn, does that help?
November 30, 2019 @ 6:50 pm
Help! I’m knitting the dogstar pattern for 2-4 yr old, as I am reading the pattern, the BOR is placed mid center back. Then k30, w & p 30. It seems I am wrapping and purling to go back and forth on the side of the back shoulder, not mid neck and back?
December 2, 2019 @ 1:21 pm
It’s purl to marker, THEN purl 30, does that help?
Sandra Purdy Gilhuly
September 30, 2019 @ 9:20 pm
I am working the love note sweater, what are the gaps for and when do you pick up the six stitches between the gaps in the short row section?
October 1, 2019 @ 11:41 am
Hi Sandra – the short rows ‘wraps’ are all picked up at the end. Give the short row section a read through to the end and I think it’ll be a little clearer
March 17, 2019 @ 6:02 pm
I’m having a problem with a Strange Brew sweater. After doing German short rows I have to complete the entire row to continue knitting. I am on the knit side. the two legs of the stitches in the right side I can knit together but when I come to the stitches doubled in the purl side should I knit the two legs there too?
March 21, 2019 @ 10:43 am
Hi Sheri – You have it right, you are going to knit the ‘turned’ stitch as if it were one stitch all the way around.
June 13, 2018 @ 1:50 pm
Hi – I am having trouble understanding the short row instructions on page 7 of the Strange Brew pattern. Would you provide clarification under:
“To work short row shaping after yoke join, paragraph 4 – ‘Leaving BOR marker …’ to paragraph 5 (Short row 1 to 4)”
Q #1: After placing a marker for working short rows at centre back do I continue to knit the row ending at the BOR marker at right sleeve and back BEFORE following instructions under Short Row 1?
Q#2: On Short row 2 my understanding is that you purl to the centre back marker and then purl another xx sts before wrapping and turning which can’t be right.
On another note – I would be thrilled if there were plans to write a German Short Row (GSR) version of this section. I find it is a much easier and neater method than the traditional wrap and turn.
April 21, 2018 @ 3:15 pm
Hi, I’m knitting short rows for Dogstar. Instructions for short rows 3 and 4 say to work until 6 stitches before the gap. Is the gap the armpit? Thanks.
April 21, 2018 @ 11:08 pm
Hi Lucy – the gap comes between the wrapped stitch and the stitch after, but if you are working German short rows the ‘gap’ doesn’t really show up as much. It would be between the turned stitch and the one after it.
March 11, 2018 @ 1:39 pm
This may be a silly question: I’m knitting the Rocky Joggers, and I’ve just placed my SR marker. The first instruction for “Short Row 1” says to knit to last 8 stitches, then w&t. Does this mean to knit to the last 8 stitches before my lovely new SR marker, or the last 8 stitches of the entire round? I have a feeling it’s the latter but I don’t fancy frogging this project!
March 13, 2018 @ 11:05 am
Hi Pamela – that’s 8 sts before the end of the round.
March 6, 2018 @ 1:05 pm
Delighted to discover this at just the right time. Worked perfectly for shoulder shaping in cotton yarn that hides nothing.
December 15, 2017 @ 7:38 am
I have just ripped out my short rows on a sweater I’m knitting for the FOURTH time! I too have gaps and holes that look awful! Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial, it’s SO very helpful. Maybe I will get this sweater done this winter! xo
October 21, 2017 @ 7:52 am
Great tutorial found link at Knit Stars 2.0 –
May 21, 2017 @ 6:34 pm
Thank you for sharing your knowledge of German short rows. Your instructions are always so easy to understand.
April 11, 2017 @ 8:45 pm
Thanks for the tutorial! My pattern has me starting with the M-DS or German Short Row as the first Stitch. Since I have no stitch in the left needle when turned, how should i proceed? Should I knit one first?
April 13, 2017 @ 9:44 am
I would think you would knit that stitch, turn your work and then turn that stitch?
November 5, 2016 @ 6:04 pm
Hi, I have a question regarding the “Rocky” joggers. I just want to be clear that I work 3 full rounds of regular knitting from BOR to BOR after I have performed “Short row 1,Short row 2 and Next Row (first paragraph of the pattern under the heading “short row ?”
Is that correct? In other words, I DON’T perform “Short row 1, Short row 2 and Next row” 3 times in total. Thiss is where I got confused. Could you please confirm. Thanks! I’m eager to get back to my project :)
November 7, 2016 @ 10:02 am
Hi – you’ve got it right! You will work short row 1, short row 2, knit 1 round, knit 1 round, knit 1 round.
April 21, 2016 @ 2:14 pm
Thank you! Do I need to knit one extra stitch if the pattern is written for “standard” short rows and I’m converting to German Short Rows? That is, if it says knit to 5 stitches before end, I actually knit 6. The stitch count seems to be off.
April 24, 2016 @ 10:19 am
If you are converting from regular wrap and turn short rows the extra stitch for German short rows is substituted for the ‘wrap’. So if the pattern says to knit to 3 sts before the wrapped stitch, wrap and turn, you would knit to 3 sts before the ‘turned’ stitch and then knit 1 extra
November 11, 2015 @ 5:54 pm
How do you do the second stitch if the pattern says: w&t, w&t
November 17, 2015 @ 10:31 am
I don’t really know, you would be wrapping and turning, then wrapping the very next stitch. it should really be a problem, but it is kind of an odd instruction….
August 2, 2015 @ 4:31 pm
Love German short rows. But do you know how (or another website that shows how) to retrieve one if you have to rip stitches out involving one of them? Thanks.
August 3, 2015 @ 9:57 am
Hi Brenda – I don’t know of any (great question), but I’ve ripped before and when you get to that stitch I would just take it out by slipping your needle into the stitch below, then taking out the stitch. Hope that helps!
August 3, 2018 @ 12:04 pm
Staci of Verypinkknits just released a video on this exact thing. https://youtu.be/U9Q8iazUq94
July 31, 2015 @ 11:59 am
In the Rocky Joggers the pattern indicates to knit 3 rounds after each of the short rows. Since you’re knitting in the round, (k only) how are you to pick up the wrap or the extra stitch that was created on the purl side?
July 31, 2015 @ 9:59 pm
Hi Patti – you are knitting the ‘pulled’ stitch as one
August 1, 2016 @ 4:44 pm
I love these little joggers but I too am having a problem picking up the turn/wrap (I’m doing the German short rows) that is created from the purl side but picked up on the first of the three knit rounds after the short row as indicated in the pattern. I do treat it as one stitch and do a k2 tog but keep ending up with an ugly long stitch only on the right side of the bum of the joggers. I’ve frogged the short rows sections back three times now and can’t seem to solve the problem. When I do a test by knitting back and forth on straights it looks beautiful but when I knit in the round that second ‘wrap’ is always very noticeable. Can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.
August 2, 2016 @ 9:29 am
Hi Deborah – it probably isn’t something that is ‘wrong’ so much as a tension issue. Try working the next couple of sts after the turned stitch a little tighter than usual. Also, try re-distributing the long stitch, it is most likely just a loose stitch that needs a little tightening up.
July 26, 2015 @ 9:59 am
Sorry to be bothering you again, but what is the purpose of German short rows or w&t? To me it’s not obvious.
July 27, 2015 @ 12:06 pm
Hi Nina: The purpose of short rows are to make added fabric only at a certain point. So, for example, in the Rocky Joggers you need a little extra fabric in the bum to accommodate a diaper. In a lot of sweater patterns you will want the back of the neck to be a little higher than the front, so you will need a little extra fabric only at the back. Things like that.
Andrea @ This Knitted Life
May 15, 2015 @ 9:09 pm
How handy. Thanks for sharing.