How to Work German Short Rows (VIDEO)

When we were working on the Mrs Watson KAL earlier this year, many knitters were frustrated by the wrap-and-turn short rows commonly used in knitting patterns. While the pattern specifies that you don’t need to pick up the wraps (this was issued in an errata post—make sure you check the pattern page for all errata before starting Mrs Watson), some knitters felt this left a small space between the stitches.

In the course of our knit-along discussion, some knitters switched to using German short rows in place of the wrap and turn method. And of course, we encourage people to change things up to make the process of knitting more enjoyable! At the time, we didn’t haven much experience working German short rows, but since we’ve learned more about them, we thought it was worth sharing this clever technique.

German short rows are created simply by pulling the yarn from a just-worked stitch over the needle, until that stitch is elongated and the two “legs” of the stitch are both on the needle—the stitch count does not change, but it will look like it does. The two legs will be more closely spaced than the rest of the stitches, letting you know which are the legs of the short-row stitch. On the return pass, you just work together the two legs, either knitting two together or purling two together.

If you want to swap out German short rows for wrap and turn short rows, simply work the pattern as written until you get to the point where the instructions tell you to wrap the next stitch and turn. Rather than wrapping that stitch, simply knit it, then turn the work, pulling the working yarn over as described.

This is definitely easier to explain with visuals, so we do have a video demonstrating the movement. If you need more time to read the text, feel free to pause the video to read and then hit play to see the stitch in motion. It’s a very quick method of working short rows, and can be used almost everywhere are more conventional wrap-and-turn short-row method is used. Let us know if you try out this technique!

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. tutorial I am still trying to understand short rows and had decided to spend some time working on short rows now before proceeding to my next sweater project where short rows are used to shape the shoulders and sleeve caps. I watched this three times and am now ready to try it.

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