Toe-Up Socks Using German Short Rows

GSR Socks VP and Rav
After an overwhelmingly positive response to a short technique video I released on German Short Rows, I listened to your feedback and created a sock pattern with NO WRAPS AND TURNS! German Short Rows are a simple and exciting technique that allow you to create shaping in socks without the frustration of trying to pick up the tiny wraps around traditional short row stitches.

These socks are knit with either DK or Sport weight yarn (also called 8-ply). This weight of yarn allows you to learn the techniques quickly and complete the socks, and you get a nice weight of socks when you’re finished. Once you follow this tutorial and learn how to apply the German Short Row technique to socks, you can easily take that skill and apply them to other sock patterns you’d like to knit, in any weight of yarn.

This pattern includes bonus content – both in the written pattern, and a bonus video. The bonus content explains how to modify this pattern for both magic loop knitting, and two at-a-time magic loop knitting. The link to the bonus video is in the pattern.

Sizes: Women, Men, and Children; normal foot widths, any shoe size
Needles: Size US 3 (3.25mm) double-pointed needles (bonus video includes information on magic loop and two at-a-time magic loop knitting)
Yarn: 100 grams DK or Sport weight yarn (also called 8-ply yarn)
Additional Materials: Size G or H crochet hook, a few feet of worsted-weight scrap yarn in a contrasting color, tapestry needle for weaving ends
Gauge: 6.5 stitches per inch in stockinette

The yarn I used in my socks:
– Pink socks: Lion Brand LB Collection Superwash Merino, DK weight, 306 yards. This yarn gave me an 11 inch cuff in the womenโ€™s size sock (measuring from the last row of the heel to the bind-off at the cuff)
– Multi-colored gray/pink socks: Knit Picks Hawthorne Sport Multi in color Arbor Lodge, sport weight, 258 yards. This yarn gave me an 8 inch cuff in the womenโ€™s sized sock (measuring from the last row of the heel to the bind-off at the cuff)

Pattern, links to four-part video tutorial and bonus video – $8 US via PayPal. addtocart

Information on things you’ll see in this video:
The yarn I used in my pink socks is Lion Brand LB Collection Superwash Merino, in color Peony.
The yarn I used in my multi-color socks is Knit Picks Hawthorne Sport Multi in color Arbor Lodge.
The yarn I used for demonstration is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky.
The needles I used for demonstration are Knitter’s Pride Bamboo.
The little bamboo pins I use can be found here.
The nail polish I’m wearing is by Julep, and isn’t actually a color, but I like the way it looks. It’s a nail treatment, called Oxygen Nail Treatment. It seems to help my nails grow, and prevents chipping and peeling.

117 comments on “Toe-Up Socks Using German Short Rows

  1. Staci,
    I am working on my second sock and I came across a knot in my yarn and had to cut it out. Can I just continue knitting where I had to make a break or is there a way to hide the new round. I thought you did a video about this but I can’t find it. Let me know what works best or if you have any good tips for when this happens.

    PS: I like the German Short Row socks they are easier to knit and I find quicker to knit together too.

  2. Hi Staci, I have your pattern for the German short row toe-up socks and love it, however, my GSR’s are “unravelling” if I may use that term, and I do not notice it until I start knitting in the round a few rows past the short rows. I have these large loops that appear and that’s why I call it unravelling. What am I doing wrong? They are not dropped stitches. I take these large loops and somehow weave them up and place them back on the needle, looks weird, but what else can I do with it? Thank you for your help.

  3. Sorry, Ann – I can’t imagine what might be going awry. You can try sending me a photo of what you’re describing, or visit your local yarn shop with your sock and let someone there have a good look and give you advice. Unless you’re dropping stitches, I don’t know why you’re ending up with “big loops”.

    S t a c i

  4. I’m on my second pair of socks ever. I’ve tried every method of doing short rows I could find and always wound up with holes. I can’t believe the prettiest method is also the easiest! Thanks so much from saving me further frustration. I can’t wait to make more.

  5. Hi, Staci. I’ve learned how to knit toe-up two-at-a-time socks on two circular needles. I bought the pattern for German short row socks and I’d like to continue to use the method I’ve learned on two circular needles. I’ve watched the bonus video for two socks at a time and I’m thinking once the short rows are done on the toe, I could just use the second circular needle to slip the stitches off the provisional cast-on. Would this be correct?

  6. Staci, the same person with the calf tattoo models most of your socks. Two questions:
    1) Who is it?
    2) Is the tattoo a ball of yarn with flaming needles stuck through it?
    2.1) Does question 2 answer question 1?
    I love all your videos, especially when your dogs are featured.

  7. Dear Staci; I want to buy your pattern of the toe up socks with the germain short row but I’m from Canada and my card is in cdn dollards. It was a prepaid card. I’ve learned a lot with your videos on youtube and you are a great teacher

  8. Jackie – people from countries other than the US have no trouble using PayPal to purchase patterns from me. If you have any difficulty, you can contact PayPal customer service – they are very good.

    S t a c i

  9. Dear Staci, I have never knitted socks before and would love to try your pattern but wondered if I would be able to do in a round instead of with DPN??? For some reason I have a real problem with using those.
    Thanks so much. — Losa

  10. Losa – yes, if you are comfortable using a long circular needle (magic loop) instead of DPNs, this pattern gives advice for knitting these socks that way.

    S t a c i

  11. Thank you SO MUCH for the instruction on german short rows! I have always HATED doing short rows because I hate picking up the wraps. This makes it so easy!
    Thanks again!!


  12. OMG! Staci, I’m using German short rows on all my socks no matter the weight of yarn. It makes it solo easy. Even with the bulky sleep socks. Thank you soon much!

  13. I watched your tutorial for knitting toe-up socks using the German short rows. I would like to purchase the video on a DVD so I can play it on my TV and use pause when I need to pause. I purchased the pattern and I printed it up but the battery died in my mouse so I am not certain what the bonus items were and/or if I missed them. Your tutorial video was excellent.

  14. Laura – thank you for the note. I don’t sell DVDs, but you can watch the videos online as many times as you like, no limits (you can also pause, rewind, and fast-forward). The link to the bonus video is on the second-to-last page of the pattern, under the header “Modifications”.

    S t a c i

  15. Hello, I am a fairly new knitter and knit Continental. I have recently ventured to making socks and found I do not like the Kitchener stitch to close up the toe. I came across this video and tried to follow the German short row technique, to see if I could do it, before I purchased your pattern. I’m afraid the difference in the way I hold my thread and the way you hold and wrap the thread is rather confusing to me…do you have any suggestions that would or could make this easier to understand.

  16. Hi Sherry – thank you for the note. Don’t let the way we hold the yarn confuse you at all…if you’re comfortable with knitting and purling, the hand we use to hold the yarn really doesn’t change anything. This video will explain more – it’s called Lefties vs. Righties, but it’s really about the hand we use to hold the yarn, and doesn’t always correlate with being left or right handed:

    S t a c i

  17. KnitPick’s Hawthorne yarn is on sale this month starting today. And if you purchase by tomorrow, there is an additional 15% off of the entire site!

  18. Is there a way to fix a dropped GSR? Like if your on the 8th row and you look back and realize you dropped your 1st GSR and it had actually came loose/like apart somehow?

  19. Tammy – I haven’t encountered this problem myself, so I haven’t sat down to think of a way to explain it in video yet. But you’re not the first person to ask this! I’m going to see what I can do about getting a video out covering this topic.
    S t a c i

  20. Hi Staci! I’ve taken your suggestion to heart and purchased your pattern to make socks for my family this Christmas. My Dad has a foot size of 9 wide. Is the men’s size 9 stretchy enough to accommodate his width or should I go up a size?

    Thanks for all your great tutorials and patterns!

  21. Hi Erica – the sizing on these patterns is for normal food widths, B for women and D for men. If you are knitting for a foot much wider than D width, you probably want to go up a needle size to get a slightly bigger sock.

    S t a c i

  22. Hi Staci, I purchased your “Toe-Up Socks Using German Short Rows” pattern and love it ! I have been making toes
    to practice the technique. I think I’ve got it,so I’m going to try making the whole sock next !

    You are the greatest teacher!!! I love learning from you !

    i have a problem though… i cant seem to find the bonus video on “magic loop 2 at a time”. I’ve put the address in several times but the server can’t find it. Do u think u could email it to me? Maybe I’m misreading it!?! Just not sure!

    Thank you so much!!

    Your Faithful Student,


  23. Hi Staci,

    I have the same problem as Judith, because when I enter *any* of your links for the German short row socks, I get a message back saying that “Your search did not match any documents.”

    I copied and pasted the links directly from your pattern, so I’m not sure what is going on.

    As I really want to make magic loop two-at-a-time socks using the German short row technique, it would really help me to have links that work.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your videos, and all of the video links on your *other* patterns work like a charm.

  24. first i would like to say i just love your tuition you are amazing i just love the gsr
    heels and toes on the toe up socks am i able to get your tuition on dvd we do not have a video i am irene from england founnd your web on you tube its fab

  25. I’m so excited to try this pattern but I do have 2 questions. First, the pattern calls for 100 grams of DK or Sport yarn. However, in the yarn set-up instructions you state to “wind 100 gram hanks of yarn into equal size balls”. Does this mean that I need 200 grams of yarn to make the socks? 2nd question, I want to make these socks for my husband, he wears a man size 9 shoe– will the man size be too big for him?

    Thank you!!

  26. Kimberly – thank you for the note. Only 100 grams of yarn is needed for a pair of socks. When you wind the yarn into two equally-sized balls, they are 50 grams each.

    The pattern (in all sizes) is written for an average width foot. Shoe size doesn’t really matter.

    S t a c i

  27. Hi Staci,

    Thanks so much for this pattern and for all your wonderful tutorials. You’ve pretty much taught me how to knit! I purchased this pattern a couple of months ago and have made some great socks from it, but I’d like to adjust it to make some of the over-sized style Christmas stockings and I’m new enough to knitting that I’m not sure how to make that kind of adjustment to the pattern. I was wondering if you might have a suggestion about how many stitches to cast on for a large scale “sock” like that or how to scale it up for myself? I’ve tried a couple of times to just cast on a bunch more stitches and use bigger needles, but once I get past the toe I realize the foot is not going to be wide enough for what I’m trying to do.


  28. Hi Kathie – thank you for the note. I really don’t recommend trying to alter a sock pattern….when you do, you pretty much have to scrap the entire pattern you know, and start over from scratch. I have a Christmas Stocking pattern and tutorial here:, but it’s not toe-up. I suggest searching Ravelry for a toe-up Christmas stocking pattern, and substituting German Short Rows for the traditional wraps & turns.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

  29. Hi Staci:
    First of all thanks for all your wonderful tutorials, patterns and tips. I’ve purchased several of your sock patterns and because of them I’m hooked on socks. I love making them, either way……cuff down or toe up. I do have one slight problem and I know you have the answer. When I bind off at the cuff, it’s still not stretchy enough for the top of my calves and my calves are not thick. I’ve used both of your stretchy bind off methods, my favorite in this tutorial, but it is tight at the top. I have no problems of course with the cuff down socks. The cuffs fit fine on those socks.

    I’m wondering if I use one size larger needles only to work the cuffs if that would work. I would work the full sock in the needles size recommended in the pattern until I reach the cuff, then transfer the stitches to the next larger size to knit the cuff and stretchy bind off. What do you recommend?

  30. Hi Stacy,
    I purchased your Two Socks at a Time, Toe up, Magic loop pattern this week, and along with your videos have been working on them. I’m still on the short row, part two part and I’m a little confused. (Nothing new there. lol) You give the option of picking up either one wrap or two, and show picking up two. If I only wanted to pick up one at a time how would I do that? pick up, k2tg, pick up, k2tg, yarn forward, sl, yarn back, sl? or do I add more rows for the separate pick ups? It’s probably something really easy, but this is my first pair of socks and my first time doing short rows. Thanks so much. I LOVE your youtube videos!

  31. Afternoon, I knit a gauge swatch and got 7sts per inch but pattern says 6.5. Is 7 close enough do you think or should I try going up to a size needle? Wasn’t sure how close they have to be for this pattern Thanks. ;).

  32. Angela – 7 stitches per inch is pretty close. If your foot is an average width or narrower, I’m sure you’re fine. But if your foot is a bit wider than B width, you might want to swatch with a bigger needle. Regardless, the socks are really stretchy, so you have some “wiggle room” (literally).

    S t a c i

  33. Hi Staci,
    You are a wonderful teacher and I enjoy your patterns and tutorials so much! I have a question about the pattern. When beginning the heel you show how to rearrange the stitches among needles and put the heel stitches on one needle instead of two. Is this necessary or can I leave the stitches as they are (the top of the sock would now be the bottom). The reason I ask is because if I rearrange my stitches like you show then my working yarn is not in the correct spot and I have to knit an additional row on the front stitches before getting to the heel. Won’t this make my sock uneven? Having one extra row of stitches on the top of the foot? Hope that makes sense. Thanks so much!

  34. Kirsten – you can leave the stitches as they are, and work the heel across two needles, if you like. And/or you can knit across half of the stitches to get your working yarn in a better place…it will have no effect on the finished sock.

    S t a c i

  35. Hi Staci. How do I continue my education after finishing these socks? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have successfully completed a pair using your pattern and tutorial. Now I want to make a pair using size 2 needles and fingering weight sock yarn. I can’t find any ravelry patterns that are as simple as yours that utilize toe up german short rows. I have this vague feeling I should be able to use a pattern’s gauge and pattern but follow your instructions, but I’m not seasoned enough to feel totally comfortable with that. Or better yet you have such a pattern already? Both my feet and I thank you for sending me down this path.

  36. Hello Staci,
    I really like your video tutorials ๐Ÿ™‚ I learned to knit cuff down socks with your “Learn to knit Magic loop socks” video I find myself referring to it when working on other patterns. After I semi-mastered the cuff down sock I decided to try and make a “Toe up sock” so of course I turned to you and like always you made it possible for me to conquer a pair of lovely toe up socks.
    (Truth be told, I learned to knit by watching your videos)!!!
    Pretty much I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!

  37. Hi Staci,

    I am a competent (but amateur) knitter–more of a crochet guy. However, I recently became fascinated with knitting socks. After doing some research, I definitely like the concept of working a toe-up sock (for the several reasons you mention), and the GSR is a MUCH cooler and smoother process than picking up stitches along the finished heel flap. I was first working with another pattern that described a way that resulted in the yarn being wrapped around the slipped stitches, and I couldn’t figure it out. The method you show seems to be much better, but for some reason I’m having trouble getting it to work out right on the knitted rows (works perfectly on the purled rows). But the more I got to thinking about it, I started to wonder why its necessary to “pull up” and wrap around the yarn, making a “double stitch”… what would happen if you simply slipped the stitch to the other needle each time, and just carried it over, without the other step? Would it work out similarly, or does it cause a problem to do it that way? I plan to experiment a little to see what happens, but I’m a rather slow knitter, and hate taking the time to work a whole toe, just to unravel it! ha ha ha Thought you might have some insight.


  38. Clayton – thank you for the note. If you don’t “pull up” on the stitch, you’ll be left with a stitch and a yarn-over. Those two stitches use more yarn than the pulled-up stitch, and it is likely that your tension will be loose on the turns, creating gaps and holes.

    S t a c i

    • Got it. Woldn’t want gaps and holes around the toes and heels! Thanks so much for the response. I’ll have to figure out what I’m doing wrong on the knitted rows. Also, I notice that you prefer a stockinette cuff, with only a short ribbed band at the top, versus an entirely ribbed cuff. Is there a functional reason, or just a personal preference?


  39. I have ben looking for Your japanese short row sock pattern. Your Search Engineering can’find it Esther. Can You please Tel me Where i Can find it. Arlene

  40. Hi Staci, many thanks for all of your great videos, with your help I have learned to knit (I find continental much more comfortable) and have been happily learning to knit a few basic scarves and hats etc.
    Having learned from your magic loop technique, I decided to take the plunge and have a go at toe up, two at a time socks, but I seem to have got confused, I had thought it was showing GSR but mistakenly got the wrap and turn.
    I figured I would give it a go with wraps and turns, but unfortunately it was a disasater, I made such a mess trying to pick up the wraps, I was a bit disheartened.
    I am not sure what to do? Did I see somewhere a way to use GSR instead of wraps and turns? Or would it be better to purchase another pattern for GSR? I am trying to keep it relatively simple as it’s my first attempt, but really wanted to do the two at a time as I worry I would end up with just a single sock otherwise!

    Many many thanks

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