German short row heel pattern

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 pattern which gives you the instructions of how to make an hourglass heel with german short rows for your toe-up sock (actually the pattern is exactly the same for cuff-down socks as well). Sometimes you hear people calling this type of heel also the boomerang, the yo yo heel or the double stitch heel.

If you would like to make a contrasting color short row heel without a stripe on the instep see this pattern instead.

All you need to know is the number 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.

On you can find also patterns for afterthought heel (toe up or cuff down), flap and gusset heel for toe up socks as well as dutch and french heel for cuff down socks.

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 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 (These middle rounds prevent a hole from forming between the needle 1 and needle 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 tutorial with images here.

p = Purl

rs = right side

st = stitch

ws = wrong side

Thank you so much for reading this far!

Thank you so much for reading this far!

This pattern is provided free of charge but you can support my work by spreading the word.

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Regards Ida

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13 Responses

  1. d’andrea says:

    Thank you for size amounts I was just doing trial and error.

  2. Nickan Leijonmarck says:

    Juuuust great! I’ll definitely bookmark your site 🙌🏻

  3. Pia says:

    I have been searching for written instructions for GSR heel. This one is excellent. Thank you!😊

  4. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for you clear interactive directions. Can your German short row heel be done TAAT, toe up, Magic Loop?

  5. Bern Simmons says:

    Just learning toe up socks. I am doing them 2 at a time on 2 circulars. This is great information. Thank you so much!

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