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German short row heel (the boomerang heel) pattern

Short row heel is the one used in most commercial socks. It is symmetrical and you make it exactly the same way regardless if you knit your sock from the toe up or cuff down. This heel is called also the boomerang, the double stitch or the yo yo heel.

This simple pattern gives you written instructions on how to make an hourglass heel with german short rows. If you are making your socks toe-up the pattern gives you also heel placement.

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.

A striped colorwork sock knitting pattern with german short row heel. Blue and white stripes with flowers on the cuff.
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).


Written instructions

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.

p = Purl

rs = right side

st = stitch

ws = wrong side

15 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial – it’s exactly what I was looking for since I only want to do German short rows on socks now!

  2. This is the best finish with a German short row heel ever!! And I have tried many. Was looking for a written version of one instead of a video one. And when I knitted it with the 2-3 rounds before closing back. It makes a perfect finish without holes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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

        1. The way I would do it: First, you work the first half (Rows 1-3) of both heels one at a time. Round 1-3 you need to make at the same time and then again work the last half (rows 4-6) one at a time.

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