German Short Rows

Plenty of knitters don’t like working wraps & turns when knitting short rows. German short rows are an alternative to w&ts that actually do their job and look good! In this video, I show you how to work them, and how to substitute German Short Rows for w&ts in patterns.

Here is a link that I mention in the video to a list of my sock tutorials. The “toe-up” patterns use wrap and turns (including my Bulky Sleep Socks Tutorial), and German Short Rows can be substituted.

Information on things you’ll see in this video:
The sweater I’m wearing is a free pattern + video tutorial, which can be found here.

The yarn I’m using for demonstration is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky.

The needles I’m using are Knitter’s Pride Bamboo double-pointed needles.

The nail polish I’m wearing is by Julep, color “Malala”.

41 comments on “German Short Rows

  1. Oh how nice! Really reduces the bulk and less gaps! Love it and love your videos…you’re a natural teacher! Thanks Staci!

  2. Watch your videos and love them all. Have your last sock pattern worked and ready for short rows at the heel wondering if I could go one less stitch rather than one more to do the German short rows? Thank You

  3. Thanks Staci!
    I am making my second pair of your toe-up socks now and would love to try this on the heels as the toes are done!

  4. I have to agree with Mary Hartwick- I can’t figure out how to make this substitution in your toe-up pattern. Can you offer an alternative set of instructions by any chance? I researched it a bit and learned that the German short row slipped stitch equates to the wrapped stitch in a W&T ( I think I’m dense because I can’t figure out what to do with that info. Do I continue with all the slipping? Do I cast on a couple of extra stitches so I can knit one more for the German short row? I have a feeling I am complicating matters however I really dislike short rows as a rule so am very excited to have this alternative. Thanks again Staci!

  5. Sally – it is worked just as I demonstrate it in the video…if the pattern says “K 10, w&t”, to work German Short Rows instead of the w&t, you would K11, work the GSR technique on the last stitch you knit.

    S t a c i

  6. Is it normal, when working these for socks, that it feels a little more “open”/spacey at certain areas of the toe or heel than what a traditional w&t would leave, or is this just a tension issue I’m having?

  7. German short rows rock!!! Thanks, Staci.

    P.S. For some reason the sound isn’t working anymore for me on your Website.

  8. Just finished a pair of socks with the w&t
    Now I have to start another pair to try the German short row
    Haha. Great video !!

  9. Hello,

    I’m not sure if someone has already asked this, but how would you handle doing German short rows in the round? It works great on the Knit side, but how do you finagle it so when you come back around to knit the short rows you made on the purl side, it looks just as nice? Thanks!

  10. one of the reasons you are getting requests for german short rows is because of the wingspan shawl that everyone is doing. instead of just turning this suggests the german short row. your video like all of your videos is the best. thanks

  11. Looking at a cape pattern made with GSR. It is done in garter stitch. Is it done the same as you showed on the purl side? Don’t know why this is confusing me .. maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  12. Many people are knitting the Dreambird Kal that is on Ravelry. That might be the reason for the demand.

  13. Luke, I was wondering if anyone made a suggestion or answered your question about German short rows in the round. I have very unsightly holes on below (or maybe above) where I turned on the purl side. Thanks for your or anyone’s help, Margaret Gibson

  14. Luke and Margaret – I don’t think I understand the question…if you’re using the GSR technique for short rows, you have to turn the work (since the “row” is shortened, and you’re not knitting to the end of the round), which essentially makes the knitting flat, and not in-the-round. Otherwise, the only reason I can think of holes appearing in the work is if your gauge is quite loose (large needle with thinner yarn combo).

    S t a c i

    • Hi Staci,
      I have the same question as Luke & Margaret. I’m encountering this issue with the Mystik Spiral sock pattern. When you’re done making short rows, after a WS side row you simply begin knitting in the round again. Therefore you’re encountering all double stitches while knitting, instead of some while knitting and some while purling. When you’re working “downhill” (on DS’s made after turning at the end of a RS row), they look great, and almost invisible! But when you come back around to work “uphill” (on the DS’s made after turning at the end of a WS row), mine look as Luke described: messy and with a small hole or loose stitch.

      It seems like so many people use this technique successfully with these socks that the author actually changed his pattern to incorporate it in updated versions. So someone out there must have some secret tips on making it work!
      Thanks for any help you can give!

  15. GSR short rows really aren’t necessary in garter stitch (knitting every row). You can use GSRs, but there really isn’t any reason to. The awesome thing about GSRs is that they eliminate the need to pick up the wraps, which can be difficult in traditional wraps and turns. But in garter stitch picking up the wraps is not necessary. If you prefer to use GSRs you certainly can, they won’t hurt anything in the pattern.

    S t a c i

  16. I absolutely loved learning how to do the German Short Rows. As soon as I watched this video, I immediately went to my WIP 10-Stitch blanket that I had been working on (I used your tutorial for that as well). I am now using these German Short Rows in place of the wraps and turns in the corners of that blanket and it is working BEAUTIFULLY. I actually like the corners better with this technique than the original, and it is so much easier to see what you are doing and where you are in the pattern. Thanks so much for making all these great tutorials!

  17. I’m having the same issue as Luke, Margaret and and Nicole. I love this method and it works beautifully when knitting back and forth. But when resuming knitting in the round the last turn is not picked up until the next round. It seems that for the stitch to be invisible it must be worked from the same side that it was originally done and this isn’t possible for that second turn when working in the round. The second turn is picked up from the opposite side and leaves a long, ugly stitch. There must be a trick but I’ve given up trying to solve it… for the moment anyway. Your tutorial is, as usual, fabulous Staci.

  18. Deborah – the side the stitch is worked shouldn’t be an issue, it’s a tension issue. Any time you see a single stitch that is appearing larger than any other stitch (in knitting, in general), take special care to pull that stitch tighter. This applies to short rows, the last stitch in a cable twist, knit stitches after big decreases in lace, etc.

    S t a c i

  19. Stacy, please help me. I am trying to make a hat called Friend of the Forest and have come to the short row part. I can do the wrap and turn ok, but am confused as to the directions. I sent a request to the girl’s website but she sent me somewhere else. Could you please look at the pattern on Balls to the wall website and explain how knitting all the short rows on one side can possibility be correct. please help me. I am a grandmother trying to make this for a toddler. Vi Sliman

  20. Vi – sorry…I provide 100% support on my own patterns, but I really can’t help with another designer’s pattern. I encourage you to contact the designer again to get the answer you need.
    S t a c i

  21. Can you do German Short Rows in the round? I want to try to replace the W&T in the Dead Fish Hats pattern with them. A little unsure how to make it work in the round. Any help is appreciated.

  22. Tina – short rows are “rows” because the work is turned before you get to the end of the round. I have a couple of patterns that use them in socks, which are knit in the round – German Short Rows can be used as a substitute any time traditional wraps & turns are called for in a pattern.
    S t a c i

  23. Hi Staci, just a quick question if you don’t mind! I always use GSR (learnt from you, of course) when doing stockinette but I’m currently working on a pattern in moss (seed) stitch which uses short rows. Is it easier to just do w&t or would GSR work in this stitch please? I’m thinking that the constant change from k to p may make it confusing.

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