German short row heel pattern for any stitch count and gauge

When I first began making toe up socks the hardest part for me was to figure out when to start making the heel. The math itself is not difficult but still it takes some time. I have saved you some trouble and I made this simple patternator which gives you the instructions of how to make a german short row heel for your toe up sock (actually the pattern is exactly the same for cuff down socks as well). All you need to know is the amount of stitches you have per sock and your row gauge. You can easily measure the row gauge after you have finished the toe or leg so there is no need to make a swatch. See also patterns for afterthought heel and gusset heel.

Stripes'n'Flowers sock pattern
The pair of socks in the image is the Stripes’n’Flowers. The pattern is available on my Ravelry store.

The pattern is written for magic loop method, but can be adjusted for dpn’s.

 sts on my needles  rows / 4” (10cm).


Beginning your sock from toe work until your foot measures 1.10” (2.75cm) less than desired length or if you are making cuff down socks begin the heel when your leg measures 1.10” (2.75cm) less than than desired length. You should now have a total of 56 sts divided evenly on two needles.

You should now be at the end of needle 2. The following rows 1-3 are worked on needle 2 only. Turn your work.

Row 1 (ws): mds, p to end, turn.

Row 2 (rs): mds, k to double st, turn.

Row 3 (ws): mds, p to double st, turn.

Repeat rows 2 & 3 until the last row you worked was mds, k 10. You should now have 9 double sts at each end of the needle 2 and 10 regular sts in the middle. 

Continue working the row without turning and k the 9 double sts (knit through both legs of the double st). You should be now at the end of needle 2.

Round 1:

Needle 1: k all

Needle 2: k  9 double sts, k 19

Round 2:

Needle 1: k all

Needle 2: k all

Round 3:

Needle 1: k all

Needle 2: k 20

Heel continues. The following rows 4-6 are worked on needle 2 only. Turn your work.

Row 4 (ws): mds, p 11, turn.

Row 5 (rs): mds, k to double st. K the double st and 1 st after it, turn.

Row 6 (ws): mds, p to double st. P the double st and 1 st after it, turn.

Repeat rows 5 & 6 until you are on the right side and the last st of the needle 2 is double st. Knit the st.

The heel is now finished. Continue working in the round.


k = Knit

mds = Make double stitch. Slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in front. Bring yarn up, over and back to pull on the slipped stitch until it slides around to show two legs. If you are unfamiliar with the technique see a great tutorial with images here.

p = Purl

rs = right side

st = stitch

ws = wrong side

Is there something else you are tired of calculating every time? Let me know and I’ll try to make a patternator for you. See all published patternators here.

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