German Short Rows

German Short Rows are one of our favorite methods to add shaping and dimension to your knitted fabric.

Short rows are partial rows of knitting worked over a portion of your stitches to add extra height in a specific area. These partial rows require a little care to avoid forming holes in your knitted fabric at the point where you’ve turned your work – we find the slip & pull technique used in German Short Rows an easy and effective way to achieve this.

In this tutorial, we show you how to work German Short Rows for sock heels, bust darts, to raise the back neckline of a sweater for a better fit, to create a high-low hem, or wherever else you can imagine!

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Written Steps

The piece is turned at the end of the current short row. Slip & pull (S&P) is worked on the first stitch of the row following a turn. The first stitch on the L needle is slipped purlwise with yarn in front (wyif), then the yarn is pulled tightly over the needle so that the two legs of the stitch in the row below are pulled up and exposed on the R needle. Tension is held on the yarn while working the next stitch on the L needle to keep the stitch in this position. When the pulled stitch is encountered on the following row, it will appear as though two loops are linked at their centers, each loop has two legs, and each set of legs goes either in front or in back of the L needle. Insert the needle into the center of the linked loops and knit or purl as usual, thus concealing the turn point.

Slip & Pull (S&P):

After a knit/RS row (purl side facing; yarn at front of work): Slip 1 stitch purlwise from L to R needle, pull yarn over R needle to back (as if making a yarn over) and around to front again, pulling tightly; continue as directed in pattern.

After a purl/WS row (knit side facing; yarn at back of work): Bring yarn to front, slip 1 stitch purlwise from L to R needle, pull yarn over R needle to back (as if making a yarn over), pulling tightly; continue as directed in pattern.

To hide the pulled stitches in subsequent rows: Work to the pulled stitch, insert R needle into the center of the linked loops and knit or purl the stitch as usual.

Featured Pattern

First Raglan Sweater

BT by Brooklyn Tweed

We purposefully created this raglan pullover as a friendly introduction to garment knitting. Knitting that first sweater can feel intimidating, but this design will walk you through each step with helpful tips and tutorials along the way.

This approachable sweater is worked in the round, with no seams or assembly required. And even better, its top-down construction means you can try it on as you go to ensure it fits just right.

Practice this Technique





Featured Yarn

Arbor is a classic DK weight yarn with timeless versatility. American Targhee wool is worsted spun into a round and springy 3-ply yarn, perfect for crisp stitch definition and wear-everywhere knits. Skein-dyed in a painterly palette of solid colors.

Featured colors in this tutorial:

Rainer A glacial, shaded, serene blue, named for Washington’s tallest peak.

Tincture Grassy olive oil, greener and more vivid than Klimt.

Read our other Arbor color stories.

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