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German Short Rows

May 14, 2015
The Rocky joggers make use of short rows to create room for a diaper bum.

The Rocky joggers make use of short rows to create room for a diaper bum

Well, I think this tutorial is long overdue!  I have struggled with short rows, often having a little hole where I don’t want one, or uneven stitches that needed to be re-distributed.  It seemed nearly impossible to get a perfect tension on them.  But now I have found a method I love!  It is very easy once you get the rhythm and the stitches come out more even, creating a more seamless short row.

Creating Short Rows:

Step 1 (right side): work to the stitch specified in your pattern (for my swatch I worked to 5 sts from the end)

Step 2: turn the work so the wrong side is facing

Sept 3: slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with yarn in front

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: Bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles to begin purling.

Step 6: keeping a tighter tension than usual for the first few sts work to the stitch specified in your pattern (again I worked to 5 sts from the end)

Step 7: turn the work so the right side is facing

Step 8: bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles

Step 9: slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with the yarn in front

Step 10: 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’ sts.

step1

Step 1 (right side): work to the st specified in your pattern (for my swatch I worked to 5 sts from the end)

step2

Step 2: turn the work so the wrong side is facing

step3

Sept 3: slip the st from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with yarn in front. You can see that the yarn is in the front of the work. Insert your needle as if you were going to purl, then slip the stitch from the left needle to the right without working it.

step4

Step 4: 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 sts instead of 1.

step5

Step 5: Bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles to begin purling.

step6

Step 6: keeping a tighter tension than usual for the first few sts work to the st specified in your pattern (again I worked to 5 sts from the end)

step7

Step 7: turn the work so the right side is facing

step8

Step 8: bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles

step9

Step 9: slip the st from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with the yarn in front

step10

Step 10: 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 sts instead of 1.

This is how you work your short rows, back and forth, creating extra fabric.

Picking up the wraps / double stitches:

Step 1 (on the right side): Work to the doubled stitch

Step 2: work the the doubled stitch as if it were one (like a knit 2 together)

Step 3 (on the wrong side): work to the doubled stitch

Step 4: work the doubled stitch as if it were one (like  a purl 2 together)

Doubled St

Doubled St

k2tog

purl2tog

Voila! You have worked German Short Rows!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Debra Comer permalink
    May 21, 2017 6:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of German short rows. Your instructions are always so easy to understand.

  2. 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?
    Thanks!

    • April 13, 2017 9:44 am

      I would think you would knit that stitch, turn your work and then turn that stitch?

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Lynda Gross permalink
    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….

  6. Brenda permalink
    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!

  7. Patti permalink
    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

    • Deborah permalink
      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.

  8. Nina Radcliffe permalink
    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.

    Thank you.

    • 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.

  9. May 15, 2015 9:09 pm

    How handy. Thanks for sharing.

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