Learn how to knit German short rows

Learn how to knit German short rows

Short rows are a technique in knitting that are used to shape and add dimension to your projects. One popular method of working short rows is the German short row technique. This method is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it ideal for beginners and experienced knitters alike.

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of knitting German short rows. We will cover everything from how to create the short rows to how to work them into your project seamlessly.

To begin, you’ll need a basic understanding of knitting and how to knit and purl stitches. With these skills in hand, you’re ready to dive into the world of German short rows.

The German short row technique involves wrapping the yarn around the stitch to create a temporary loop. This loop is then worked into the next row, creating a smooth and even transition. The technique can be used on both the right and wrong sides of the fabric, making it versatile for a variety of projects.

Tip: Before you begin, it’s a good idea to practice the German short row technique on a small swatch of fabric. This will help you get a feel for the technique and ensure that you’re comfortable using it.

Now that you have an overview of the German short row technique, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of working it into your knitting projects. Follow along and soon you’ll be an expert at creating beautiful shape and dimension with German short rows.

What are German short rows?

German short rows are a popular technique in knitting that allows you to create curves, shapes, and darts within your knitting project. They are a simple and effective way to add dimension and structure to your work.

Unlike traditional wrap and turn short rows, German short rows do not involve wrapping the yarn around the stitch. Instead, they use a double stitch technique to create a small gap within the fabric.

The advantages of German short rows include:

  • Ease of use: German short rows are relatively simple to learn and execute, making them suitable for knitters of all skill levels.
  • Invisible results: The small gaps created by the German short rows are virtually invisible, creating a seamless and professional finish.
  • Flexibility: German short rows can be used in a variety of knitting projects, including garments, accessories, and home decor items.
  • Versatility: German short rows can be used to shape curved edges, create darts, add bust shaping, or even create unique designs within your knitting.

To execute German short rows, you will need to follow a simple step-by-step process that involves knitting to a designated turning point, then working a double stitch to create a gap. This gap is then closed in subsequent rows, creating the desired shaping or curve.

Overall, German short rows are a valuable technique for any knitter looking to add depth, shape, and structure to their projects. With a little practice, you can master this technique and use it to enhance your knitting skills.

Benefits of learning German short rows

German short rows are a valuable technique in knitting that offer several benefits to knitters. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced knitter, learning German short rows can enhance your knitting projects and provide you with more options for shaping and creating unique designs.

1. Smooth shaping: German short rows allow for seamless shaping in your knitting projects. They create smooth curves and lines, making it easier to achieve a polished finish. With German short rows, you can shape garments such as sweaters, cardigans, and shawls without any visible gaps or holes.

2. Versatility: Once you learn how to knit German short rows, you can apply this technique to a wide range of knitting patterns. Whether you are working on a simple scarf or a complex lace design, German short rows can be used to shape various elements, such as neckline, sleeves, or hemlines.

3. Time-saving: Compared to other methods of short-row knitting, German short rows are quicker and more efficient. They eliminate the need for wrapping or picking up stitches, which can be time-consuming and may disrupt the flow of your project.

4. Neat and tidy finish: One of the advantages of German short rows is their neat appearance. The technique allows you to create a clean, professional-looking finish, even when working on projects with multiple short-row sections. The result is a polished garment with no telltale signs of shaping.

5. Easy to learn: Although German short rows may seem intimidating at first, they are relatively easy to learn and master. With practice, you will quickly become familiar with the technique and be able to incorporate it seamlessly into your knitting projects.

Learning German short rows opens up a world of possibilities in your knitting projects. Whether you want to add shaping to your garments or experiment with new patterns and designs, mastering this technique will give you the skills and confidence to take your knitting to the next level.

Step 1: Casting on

Before you begin knitting with German short rows, you need to cast on your stitches. The casting on process creates the foundation row of stitches on your knitting needles. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cast on using the long tail method:

  1. Begin by leaving a long tail of yarn, as this method requires a length of yarn for the cast on and your first row of knitting.
  2. Make a slipknot by folding the end of the yarn over itself to create a loop.
  3. Insert your knitting needle into the loop and tighten it by pulling the yarn tail.
  4. Hold the knitting needle with the slipknot in your right hand and the long tail in your left hand.
  5. With your left hand, grab the yarn tail and place it over your left thumb, creating a loop.
  6. Using your right hand, insert the knitting needle into the loop on your thumb from back to front.
  7. Slide the loop off your thumb and onto the knitting needle, tightening it gently.
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.

Once you have cast on all your stitches, you are ready to begin knitting your German short rows. Make sure to keep the tension of your yarn consistent as you cast on to ensure even stitches.

Choosing the right yarn and needles

Choosing the right yarn and needles

When it comes to knitting, choosing the right yarn and needles is essential to achieve the desired results. Here are some factors to consider before making your selection:

  • Yarn weight: Different projects require different weights of yarn. The weight is usually described on the yarn label, ranging from lace weight to super bulky. Determine the appropriate yarn weight for your project and choose accordingly.
  • Fiber content: Yarns are available in a variety of fibers, such as wool, cotton, acrylic, alpaca, and silk. Each fiber has its own characteristics, so consider factors like warmth, durability, and care instructions when choosing your yarn.
  • Needle size: The size of the needles will depend on the yarn weight and the desired tension. The recommended needle size is usually mentioned on the yarn label, but you can also refer to the pattern instructions for guidance.
  • Material: Needles can be made from different materials, such as metal, wood, or plastic. The material can affect the overall feel and performance of the needles, so choose one that you find comfortable to work with.
  • Gauge: Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch with a specific yarn and needle size. Checking your gauge is crucial to ensure that the final measurements of your project match the pattern. Make a gauge swatch before starting your project to ensure accuracy.

By considering these factors and making informed choices, you can set yourself up for a successful knitting experience. Experiment with different yarns and needles to find your preferred combination for each project.

Casting on using the long tail cast on method

The long tail cast on method is a versatile and commonly used technique for casting on stitches. It creates a neat and elastic edge, making it perfect for a variety of knitting projects. Follow these steps to learn how to cast on using the long tail cast on method.

  1. Begin by estimating the amount of yarn you will need for the cast on. To do this, measure a length of yarn equivalent to about three times the desired width of your knitting project.
  2. Create a slipknot near the end of the yarn, leaving a tail that is approximately six inches long.
  3. Hold the slipknot in your right hand, and place the tail end over your thumb and the working end of the yarn over your index finger.
  4. Insert the knitting needle into the slipknot from left to right, and with your right hand, bring the needle under the working yarn.
  5. Using your thumb, bring the working yarn over the needle, creating a loop.
  6. Bring the loop through the slipknot and slide it onto the needle.
  7. Tighten the stitch by gently pulling the tail end of the yarn.
  8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 for the desired number of stitches, keeping the tension even and consistent.
  9. Once all the stitches have been cast on, you are ready to begin knitting your project.

Remember to practice the long tail cast on method until you feel comfortable with the technique. It may take a few tries to achieve the desired tension, but with practice, you will be able to create a beautiful and professional-looking edge for your knitting projects.

Step 2: Knitting the base row

To start knitting the base row, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by holding your knitting needles with the cast-on stitches in your left hand.
  2. Insert the right needle into the first stitch from left to right, going under the left needle.
  3. Wrap the working yarn around the right needle counterclockwise.
  4. Draw the yarn through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the right needle.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each stitch on the left needle until all stitches have been transferred to the right needle.
  6. Once all stitches have been transferred, the right needle will now hold all of the stitches.
  7. Turn the right needle around and hold it in your left hand, while the empty left needle is now in your right hand.
  8. You have completed knitting the base row.

It’s important to keep your tension even while knitting the base row to ensure an even and balanced fabric. Take your time with each stitch and try to keep the same amount of tension throughout the row.

Congratulations! You are now ready to move on to the next step, which is to learn how to knit the German short rows.

Working in stockinette stitch

Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic and commonly used stitch patterns in knitting. It creates a smooth fabric with one side that has a “v” pattern of knit stitches and another side with a pattern of purl stitches.

To work in stockinette stitch, you will need to alternate between knitting and purling rows. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Begin by casting on the desired number of stitches. Make sure to choose an appropriate yarn and needle size for your project.
  2. Row 1: Knit all stitches across.
  3. Row 2: Purl all stitches across.
  4. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until your desired length is achieved.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while working in stockinette stitch:

  • Always knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches to maintain the stockinette pattern.
  • Pay attention to the pattern instructions, as sometimes it may require additional stitches or techniques.
  • Make sure to keep an even tension while knitting to prevent the fabric from becoming too loose or too tight.
  • Use stitch markers if needed to keep track of any pattern repeats or specific stitch placements.

Stockinette stitch is commonly used in a variety of knitting projects, such as sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets. It is a versatile and easy-to-learn stitch pattern that can be customized with different yarns, colors, and stitch combinations.

Creating the base row for German short rows

Before you can start knitting German short rows, you need to first create a base row. This base row will serve as the foundation for the short rows and will determine the shape of your project.

To create the base row, follow these steps:

  1. Cast on the required number of stitches for your project. This will depend on the pattern or design you are working on.
  2. Knit across the first row using your preferred knitting stitch. This will establish the width of your project.
  3. Once you reach the end of the row, turn your work as you would normally do when knitting.
  4. Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit, but do not actually knit the stitch.
  5. Instead, bring the working yarn to the front of the work between the needles.
  6. Slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle without knitting it.
  7. Turn your work and continue knitting across the row.

Repeat these steps for the required number of rows, as specified in your pattern, to create the desired shape using German short rows.

By creating the base row with these steps, you will be able to easily incorporate German short rows into your knitting project and achieve the desired shaping and design.

Step 3: Wrapping the stitches

Step 3: Wrapping the stitches

After you have turned your work on a German short row, the next step is to wrap the stitch that was just worked. Wrapping the stitch helps to close the gap and prevent any holes from forming.

Here’s how to wrap the stitch:

  1. With the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle.
  2. Bring the yarn to the front of the work, between the two needles.
  3. Slip the same stitch back to the left needle.
  4. Bring the yarn to the back of the work, between the two needles.

Here’s a summary of the steps:

Step Action
1 Slip the stitch purlwise to the right needle
2 Bring the yarn to the front of the work
3 Slip the stitch back to the left needle
4 Bring the yarn to the back of the work

Once you have wrapped the stitch, you can continue working your pattern as instructed. When you come back to the wrapped stitch, you will need to know how to work the wrap together with the stitch to close the gap. This will be covered in the next step.

Understanding how to wrap stitches

In knitting, wrapping stitches is a technique used to create short rows and add shaping to your work. When wrapping a stitch, you essentially bridge the gap between two stitches to prevent gaps or holes from forming.

The process of wrapping a stitch involves the following steps:

  1. Step 1: Knit to the specified stitch where the wrap should be made.
  2. Step 2: Slip the next stitch from the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle without knitting or purling it.
  3. Step 3: Bring the working yarn to the front of the work for a knit stitch, or to the back of the work for a purl stitch.
  4. Step 4: Slip the slipped stitch back to the left-hand needle.
  5. Step 5: Return the working yarn to the correct position for the next stitch.

By wrapping the stitch in this way, you create a little loop around the stitch, effectively securing it and preventing any holes or gaps from forming.

When working back across the wrapped stitch, there are different methods for handling the wrap depending on your pattern instructions. You may need to slip the wrap, knit it together with the wrapped stitch, or slip it separately.

It’s important to pay attention to your pattern instructions and follow them carefully to ensure you are wrapping and handling the stitches correctly.

Wrapping stitches can be a bit confusing at first, but with practice, it becomes easier to understand and execute. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries to get the hang of it.

Remember to take your time and take it one step at a time. Soon enough, you’ll be proficient in wrapping stitches and creating beautiful knit pieces with added shaping.


What are German short rows?

German short rows are a technique used in knitting to create curved or shaped pieces. They are similar to traditional short rows, but with a few differences in the method.

How do German short rows differ from traditional short rows?

German short rows differ from traditional short rows in the way they are worked. With German short rows, you turn the work and slip the last stitch instead of wrapping it, which creates a smoother and more invisible transition between the short row and the rest of the work.

When should I use German short rows?

German short rows can be used whenever you want to create shaping or curves in your knitting. They are commonly used in garments such as sweaters, shawls, and socks to create a more flattering fit.

Can I use German short rows in lace knitting?

Yes, you can use German short rows in lace knitting. They provide a smooth and seamless transition between the short rows and the lace pattern, creating a more polished and professional finish.

Are German short rows suitable for beginners?

While German short rows may be a bit more advanced than traditional short rows, they are still accessible for beginners. With a little practice and patience, you can easily learn how to knit German short rows and incorporate them into your projects.

What materials do I need to knit German short rows?

To knit German short rows, you will need your chosen yarn, knitting needles in the appropriate size for your yarn, stitch markers, and a tapestry needle for finishing.

Can I use German short rows in combination with other knitting techniques?

Absolutely! German short rows can be used in combination with other knitting techniques, such as increases, decreases, and different stitch patterns. They are a versatile technique that can be incorporated into various knitting projects.


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