German Short Rows in Garter Stitch

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This method of short rows has grown in popularity in recent years, and many knitters prefer this method over others. As with all approaches to a particular construction technique, not everyone achieves the same results, and short rows are no exception.

It’s worthwhile to explore a few methods and see which ones give you the best results. Gauge is very much an issue when it comes to short row methods, and whether or not you are working flat, whether the short row is on a purl or knit row, or whether the short rows are being worked in the round – and in this last case, often a combination of short methods works best.

In this example of German Short Rows, I’m working in Garter Stitch, which seems to be a perfect pairing. I’ve also written a tutorial for how to graft this method, should you wish to try it for your sideways Hats!

This method will also work for a stocking stitch sideways knit Hat where the short rows all appear on the knit side of the work (such as the Abalone or Dryad).

1) Work the number of stitches specified in the pattern, and then you will be performing the short row on the next stitch.
2) Knit the short row stitch. With this method, the stitch I refer to as the ‘short row stitch’ is the same as the stitch that would be wrapped in the wrap and turn method.
3) Turn your work, so that the short row stitch is the first stitch on the left hand needle.
4) Slip this stitch to the right hand needle (this action can also be performed before you turn the work).
5) Take your yarn up and across the back, and pull it very tightly – you will then see two ‘legs’ of the short row stitch on the needle. What you have done here is stretch the stitch underneath the short row stitch right around the needle.
6) Continue pulling the yarn until the ‘legs’ wrap all the way around the needle, and the yarn is in the correct place to work a knit stitch.
7) It’s important to maintain the tightness of this manoeuvre before knitting back across the stitches to the end of the row.
8) Once all the short rows have been worked, they will look like this – each short row stitch has two ‘legs’.

Working across the short row

Once you’ve created your short rows, you’ll need to work across them all to close them and give your work a neat finish. Compared to working the wrap and turn method this part is much quicker and easier than picking up the wrap.

9) Knit as instructed until you reach your first short row stitch.
10) Insert your needle under both legs of the short row stitch as shown – you will knit these together.
11) Continue to do this with all the short row stitches.
12) This is how all of the short rows look from the front.
13) And this is how all the short rows look from the back.
Compared to the wrap and turn method, the front of the work is very neat with tightly worked stitches, and there’s a more visible ridge across the back.

If you are working your short rows consecutively, i.e. such as the crown on a sideways knit Hat, then your short rows will consistently be on the same side of your work.

However, if you also have short rows at the brim of a sideways knit Hat, or are working short rows at either end of a piece of flat knitting, then the back side of this method will appear on the right side of your work.

For one or two stitches this will likely not be noticeable, especially in garter stitch, but it’s important to be aware of this difference.

With the wrap and turn method you have more flexibility, as you would pick up the wrap from whichever side is the right side and your short rows would then be consistent in appearance from the front of your work.


As always, if you have a question about this technique or need some help with it, leave a comment below! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


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Woolly Wormhead


  1. S Rowland

    Great instructions for a neater and easier option to wrap and turn

    • Woolly Wormhead

      thank you, glad it’s helpful!

      I find German short rows so much neater than wrap and turn in a lot of projects, yet the wrap and turn method is more adaptable. Having a few methods under your belt is always a good thing.