The Easiest Way to do a Short Row Heel

May 28, 2007 at 9:18 pm | Posted in General Knitting | 105 Comments

I saw this method on some pattern somewhere, but I have since forgotten where. I don’t take credit for this Method of Short Rows,

So I was teaching my mom the way I do short row heels, and we both agreed that we have no idea why everyone doesn’t do them this way. In my opinion, it’s the fastest, easiest, and best looking way to do a short row heel. There is no wrapping or anything like that. So here’s a tutorial for ya’ll:

Start off with your heel stitches on one needle (I just cast on for the purpose of the tutorial, but these would be the heel stitches of your sock):

Slip the first stitch, knit to one before the end:

Turn, slip the first stitch, purl to one before the end:

Turn, slip the first stitch, knit to 2 before the end:

Turn, slip the first stictch, purl to two before the end:

Keep Going like this, turning, slipping the first stitch, and knitting to 3 before the end, than 4, than 5, and so on and so forth, each time you’ll be leaving a stitch behind and havin less and less stitches to knit. Keep going until you’ve got however many stitches you want to stop at (I did 6 or so, but a standard sock might be 10 or 12, whatever you want, really.)

Your work should look something like this:

(Click on the picture to see it better, to see the writing)

Ok, so.. You should be ready to do a knit row. Slip the first stitch, knit to one stitch before the gap:

Slip the stitch before the gap onto the right hand needle, pick up the bar running between the gap and put it on the right hand needle:

Knit the slipped stitch and the picked up bar together:

And thats how you close a gap on the right side. Now turn, slip the first stitch, and purl to one stitch before the gap:

Slip the stitch before the gap, pick up the bar running between the gap, and put it on the right hand needle:

Purl the slipped stitch and the picked-up bar together:

And that’s how you close the gap on the purl side. Here are videos to help you out.

On the Knit Side

On the Purl Side

Keep going like that, Turning, slipping the first stich, knitting to the stitch before the gap, slipping it, picking up the bar, and knitting them together, until you’ve closed all the gaps.

And you’ve finished your heel! Mine ended up a little pointy, but you get the idea. Here’s how it looks on the side:

And here’s how it looks knit on a real sock:

Viola! The easiest way to knit a short row heel. Any questions?


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  1. Great tutorial. I’ve been trying different short row heels to see how to avoid the holes at the joins. I gotta try this one next. Thanks!

  2. I just cast on my first sock EVER. I’m going to be saving the link to this page!

    Thank you Kaity.

  3. I think there was a tutorial fpre this method (which is the japanese method or something like that) in Nona Knits. The only difference is that she uses pins to keep track of what piece of yarn you should pick up, the bar, as you say. But it is pretty much the same.

  4. Easy! I think the wrap method was you-know-who’s attempt to make a difficult classs out of a simple project!.

  5. Great tutorial. I’m never see this method before, but I’m going to try it for my next pair!

  6. […] I had hoped to finish  my sock today, but stuff got in the way.  I’m going to knit on it tonight and try to get it finished.  I found a killer short row tutorial (thanks Lana) over at Kaity’s. […]

  7. Wow, even I get this. I swear I have tried almost every tutorial out there on short row heels. I had just about given up on figuring it out when you were recommended to me by Ms. Lana! What a blessing this is…I’m so using this method on my next sock (while will probably be Thursday!). Thanks so much!

  8. Thank you SOOO MUCH for this tutorial!! I wanted to learn how to do short-row heels but all the tutorials I had found so far were difficult and confuing. This one is REALLY GREAT! Thanks a lot 🙂

  9. dear katie. i must have searched over a hundred short row sock heel tutorials.i had tried many of them and then given up.but your explanation is simple, easy and very practical. ( no pins, no turns,no twists) in just two pictures of how to close the holes on the knit side and purl side you have finished the story of sock heels.thanks a i can sleep in peace.these short row sock heels were making me mad.thanks once again.bye taj

  10. Thanks kaity! This tutorial really helped me figure out the heel on socks. I was trying to help my roomie over the weekend on the heel part and neither one of us have done socks before. Glad you posted this.

  11. […] none, basic 56 stitch, toe up, short row heel (using Kaity’s method), done magic […]

  12. I’ll have to bookmark this page. I’ve been putting off learning a new method of knitting socks. Between your short rows and Roni’s socks on circulars, I’ll learn two new techniques!

  13. Finally I have found someone else that does short row toes and heels the same as I do. I have been doing them that way for the past 53 years (I can’t believe it has been that long !! !!). I started knitting socks when I was six while walking to and from school and my mom taught me to make the toes and heels the way you show. I have NEVER understood why ANYONE would ever wrap since it is so fiddly to mess with and time consuming. I short row until I have one third of the stitches in the center then start “closing the gaps” as you put it and it makes it less pointy.

    Sock on.

  14. This is brilliant… I’ve always hated wraps & picking up wraps… a few days ago I made a pair of baby socks & did not wrap the first half of the heel & wrapped the 2nd half and it came out fine…

    Today I cast on a pair of toddler socks (magic loop) & was trying to figure out a way to do the heel without wrapping at all & found this page… voila!

    I did come up with another way similar to doing a faux mini-cable, but that gave me a hole all the way along the side of the 2nd half on the knit side… this works better & was well worth the frog & tink… thanks! 🙂


  15. […] Another short row heel without yarnovers or wraps, said to be simliar to the Japanese short row method, but without the pins, from Kaity: The Easiest Way to do a Short Row Heel. […]

  16. […] US Size 4, knit Magic loop with my new KnitPicks Options. Pattern: Toe Up, Turkish Cast on, No Wrap Short-Row Heel. It’s not pictured, but I bought some Leather Soles to sew on the bottom, so he […]

  17. this is kinda neat and it certainly takes the stress off my hair…which i used to pull about the 3 time of redoing a missed pair etc. this doesnt use tight pairs, wraps, yarn overs or all the other irritating stuff. i tried it, it works, its comfortable and best…its gap free. keep up the good work.


    p.s. I just adore the title of this blog.

  18. What an elegant solution!

    I tried single wraps … and got holes.
    Double wraps … too much bulk.

    Wonderful alternative.

  19. I must be the only one having a problem with this. Short rowing down to 10 live stitches was no problem. But increasing, I keep knitting the same stitches over and over again. Help! Please! What am I doing wrong? Sure seems to leave a lot of big holes as well. Ugh.

  20. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

  21. Ok, now this is something I can get down and dirty with. I’m knitting a pair of toe-up socks whose sole reason to exist (pun- ha) is for me to learn new techniques. And I want to do this technique. So thank you for such an excellent tutorial.

    BUT! I have a question. Does this kind of heel need to be preceded by a gusset, if I’m knitting toe-up? Can I just use 50% of my circumference stitches to make this heel? Any idea?

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Too bad Lion Brand doesn’t have this method written in its Child’s Striped Socks pattern 70277A. I wouldn’t be on this site if their pattern had this information.
    Thanks so much!!!!!!

  23. That is such an awesome way to do short row heels, well any heel! I am working on my first short row sock and the double wraps on the toe about killed me and I was desperate to find a new way to do the heel and other sock-

    Thanks so much!!!!

  24. I have tried this several time and it is not working for me. I think the problem is in the slipping. When do you slip as if to knit vs slip as if to purl?

  25. I tried this and it seemed to work really well! Thanks for posting this! It’s so much easier than all the wrapping business. The only question I have is this – for the 2nd half, are you supposed to end a few stitches earlier? Because my sock doesn’t narrow a bit above the heel like I expected it to.

  26. I am having the same issue as a few others who have recently posted- I am ok until I need to increase- I seem to always wind up to the same gap and never pass one

    • Just be sure that when you knit the pick up and the stitch and turn back that you slip that one. There should not be a hole if you do this.

  27. Thank you! You have saved me untold hours of pattern translation. I only had to frog my heels once using your instructions–I had some huge holes going on), but they’re done now!

  28. Can this short row metheod be done for a sleeve cap. Instead of binding off each side.


  29. I’m having similar trouble to several other posters above. I do fine until I start increasing again. Any one have any suggestions? When I’m told to knit to “the gap” or purl to “the gap” on the increase, is where I get lost. A numeric direction (as in k5, p5, next time k6, p6…) would be helpful.

    I know it sounds dumb, but is there anyway to figure it out so I can just count instead of looking for “gaps” because I can’t quite get it!

    • Andrea,

      I, too, am experiencing the same problem with this heel. Did you ever find a numeric solition to the knit to and purl to the gap? If so, I would be ever so greatful for any suggestions that you have.

      Thanx, Jackie

      • The problem may be what the ‘gap’ is. it’s just the space between the previously slipped stitches. look at photo 7 above. the stitches on her left hand needle show the ‘gaps’. you pick up one stitch each time along with the pickup between then, turn, slip the one you just knit and work across. You wont’ have the same number of stitches as somebody with a different gauge but the ‘gaps’ are easy to see and you only knit one each time, You are working a revers of the increasing short rows you did before. Hummm. Maybe I ought to make s video!

  30. What a wonderful tutorial!! I, like all the coments above have been looking for something I could figure out. I can’t believe this from a 19 year old. You go girl!!!!I wish I had you’re brains.

  31. Hi! I *just* finished my first short row heel using this method. Thank you!! I started to have the same problem increasing that a couple of other commenters have mentioned, but then I figured it out — sometimes the “gap” falls in the wrong place or is vague. The surefire cue — the last stitch you knit/purl is the stitch with the bar stitched with it (in the row below). Slip the *next* stitch and pick up the next bar. Hope that helps somebody! It sure helped me!

    Thanks again for this awesome tutorial!!!

  32. […] The easiest way to do a short row heel […]

  33. I would like to give you a great big hug! I have tried so many ways of doing short row heels and this is the easiest I have come across. Tried it out yesterday and the result was fantastic – no holes, no difficult fiddling about, just perfect. Thanks a million!

  34. […] August 18, 2008 von strumpfbina ein Fototutorial von […]

  35. You haved saved yet another knitter from insanity, and ripping out over and over again!

  36. Thank you for your tutorial and great photos! I tried the wrap method on my first pair of toe up, and was sure there must be an easier, and less hole-y way! The gap-closing step is like the ‘make 1’ step on the magic cast on for toe ups, which has also worked well for me. I am no longer afraid of toe ups – though I will still be looking for a good stretchy and nice looking bind off. Thanks again!
    PS – I found the link on ravelry.

  37. I here the newcomer. Not absolutely I will understand with topic. Explain, please.

  38. What do you do with the last stitch during closing the gap on knit and purl sides? there is nothing to “pick up” And also, I cannot split my heels in thirds. and do this method. I have to do 1 less than wanted. The first “Gap closing” is not eliminating a stitch. its tapping into my stitches i wanted in the center. its not till the next round that you eliminate the stitch. so you wind up with a narrower heel than intended. so i want 10 in the center and 10 on the sides, i need to put 9 on the sides in order for this to turn out even. Unless im doing this wrong. but this sure takes away from the “easy” factor.

  39. […] found very nice directions for WRAP-LESS short rows!  It’s here on this blog.  I tried it out, finished the little toe, and here’s what it looks […]

  40. I, too, tried several methods of short row heels. This looked like the best solution. I ripped AGAIN and tried it, but had the problem described above in the increase section. I ripped for the 4th or 5th time, and this time I put a marker each time I turned, so I had a marker between each slipped stitch. Then as I went back and picked up the slipped stitch and the bar, I removed the marker, turned, and continued across the row to the stitch before the marker, etc. It worked beautifully! Thank you!

  41. […] ein Fototutorial von […]

  42. […] figured that I’d innovate with the heel. I used the marvelous Kaity’s clear and helpful tutorial to learn how to give my sock a short row heel. Success (mostly, but the error was mine, not hers)! […]

  43. […] ein Fototutorial von […]

  44. ok what do you do with the purlside gaps? Im doing what she says but they are NOT mirroring each other. LOVE this method but need to figure this out.

  45. […] I did like was how tidy looking the heel was. I used this tutorial to do the short rows without wrapping and turning, and I really liked it. Here’s the knit […]

  46. […] by The Easiest Way to do a Short Row Heel (link provided by Walrus) I finished the first sock last night. Due to car trouble, I was unable to […]

  47. […] sock is 54 stitches, the heel is done on 31 stitches, or about 60%. I short rowed until there were 11 stitches in the middle, and 10 left unworked on either side. 9 in the middle […]

  48. Thank you so much for this type of heel! I really appreciate it.

  49. […] zu machen, das man schon kennt, sind doch immer wieder interessant. Heute habe ich eine (engl.) Bilderanleitung gefunden, um auf einfache Weise verkürzte Reihen zu stricken. Kein wickeln, kein mühsames […]

  50. Is there a video for this anywhere? I am such a dunce when it comes to pics.

  51. I saw the video, but still not working. Ugh, such a mess.

  52. […] B got the no-wrap short row heel, this is where I first found directions for the no-wrap method 1. The first half of the heel is pretty straightforward, you basically do the same as a W&T […]

  53. My first ever sock now has a heel! I had ripped out so many attempts that I was afraid that the heel yarn was going to be worn out before I got to wear the sock. Thanks for the tutorial.

  54. When you say purl or knit the slipped stich and bar together, don’t you mean to slip them both back on the left hand needle first?

    • If you knit continental, yes, you’ll need to put them back on the left needle in order to knit them together.

  55. I don’t know what to do when I get to the last stitch to pick up, when you slip it, there is no stitch next to it from which to pick up the bar.

  56. […] short row method (my favorite, but I do it without the pins. This was my preferred tutorial, but her images her […]

  57. oh dear! what has happened to the photos?

  58. oh to bad i cant see any photos

  59. Love this idea! Can’t do a w&t short row heel to save my life…I want to try this now, but one clarification…when slipping stitches, whether knit or purl, how do you slip them? knitwise/purlwise or?

  60. Thank you for sharing your tech. It’s the clearest I’ve seen so far and your photos are beautiful. Thanks again, O-by-the-way, its hot as hell here in Florida, but I love knitting wool socks anyway!

  61. Here is a youtube for short rows for you more visual knitters 🙂

  62. educational (10000000)

  63. Thank you AGAIN. I’m finishing the second sock for my great-neice and I still can’t understand the pattern in the book I have. Your pictures and words help my finish my short the heels and finally the socks – each time!! After I see your example I then understand the pattern! Thank you so much – again and again – probably forever – THANK YOU!!

  64. I can’t figure out how you knit the slipped stitch and made stitch from the *right* hand needle! I’ve never done this in my life. I wondered if you, like Priscilla Wild in her directions, mistook right for left? (I only got her heel to work after I ignored her left and right directions) I can’t get your video to work — and I’m sure that would clear things up.


  65. i have tried somuch i end up with holes in the finished heel. everything is ok till i get to the live stitches, i slip the first knit to the stitch befor the gap slip and pick up stitch turn slip stitch and knit to stitch before gap somethin i am doing is not right i should not have holes thanks i thought this was going to be great i think it will someday

  66. […] Short Row Heel – A slightly different way to do a short row heel with no wraps.  Just found this one- I have to try it next time I do a short row heel!   Leave a Comment LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  67. This site is great, I really love music. Modest Mouse is fantastic. Party Powder

  68. hey! my heel came up a little narrow, but working with it. I knit socks on the subway and then find the foot that fits the sock…Great site!

  69. Wow, Thank you so much! I knit LOADS of socks so I like to do new techniques. I knit just regular stockinette socks for my family so I would like to try some new methods for heels. Thanks!

  70. Great tutorial! Thank you so much for putting it out there. The pictures and explanations really helped. I’ve been trying to learn this from books so that i can make my diest pair if socks but I just couldn’t get it until now. Thank you again! By the way, beautiful variegated yarn on the finished sock. Where did you get it? Best wishes!

  71. This is the simplest explanation I’ve seen for a no-fuss short row heel. Thank you for posting! I’m now carrying this in my sock bag for quick reference. :^)

  72. I am working on my first pair of socks. When you Knit the bar and stitch together, are you KBL and same with purling PBL? It looks that way and makes sense…to tighten up the stitch. This is the easiest method I have seen! Can’t wait to try it!

  73. Reblogged this on Rahymah Handworks.

  74. Reblogged this on OX KNIT and commented:
    My very favourite way of dealing with a heel

  75. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve so been wanting an easy way to do short-row heels without the bother of doing those weird yarn-overs!

  76. HI< Can I put a link from my blog on this to yours plz?
    my blog is

  77. Thank you, thank you! I usually knit heel flaps, but want a short-row heel on the pair I currently have on the needles. Great explanation and method!

  78. I am your first comment for 2013. Yes people are still struggling with short rows and I teach knitting!! Thanks for this it looks good and I plan to try it today!

  79. […] not the knitting the foot bit!) Then take a deep breath and we’ll begin. Follow this link here (it opens in a new window). The tutorial she’s written is excellent, very clear and with […]

  80. I wish to gain bodyweight!! I am 31 but nonetheless my weight is 90lbs.

    I’ll do these ideas.I hope I will gain bodyweight quickly.

  81. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?
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  82. I am so frustrated. I am doing exactly what it says to do here and am still ending up with huge holes. I have tried YouTube videos, followed picture tutorials, and nothing is working. I have tried wrapping the stitches and picking up the wrap from behind, knitting the knit sides from behind the stitch, I’ve tried not wrapping and picking up the bar in between… It all looks horrible. I feel so discouraged. I have no idea what I am doing wrong and I’m about to cry, since I’ve now frogged my entire heel for the third time.

    • what do your holes look like? Im not sure how to help , but if you can stick a pic somewhere and post the link.

    • Marisa– I’m on my 8th frogging, so I understand your frustration.
      Kaity — thanks for stripping down the short rows to the basics. I hope I can finally move on to the end of the sock

  83. Please tell me why my short row heel does not look the same on both sides, what can I be doing wrong?

  84. this is great…i am visully impaired sl have a difficult time picking up sts on the traditional heel flap…..knitting caps, mitts and booties is something thagt i can still do to pass the time….this was very easy to understand….

  85. Thank you so much for posting this information and the musical flashback!

  86. […] stitch of the heel half as this helps keep the heel and toe in line later on. There is already a really good no-wrap short row heel tutorial so I won’t go over the ground again here. You want to have about 1/3 of the stitches left […]

  87. I would love to see your video. The links say it has been removed. Is it posted somewhere else?

    • It seems to be working for me, give it the good old F5 and you should be good.

  88. This is so awesome

  89. This is a common method – it’s just that most people know it as the japanese short row and use pins to mark the part to lift.

    • Yep, that’s what’s nifty about this style heel, you can do it withbig and small socks. 26 Stitch’s should work, just keep going back and forth.

  90. My sock is 56 stitches total. Can I use this technique with 28 stitches for my heel and if so, how many live stitches that I need. Thank you!!

  91. Just to be clear, after knitting heel flap, I knit the short-row heel in place of turning heel and picking up stitches (my usual pattern:) Is that correct? I’ve never knit a short-row heel, but excited to try!

  92. is there a visual of top down socks with the easiest way to do a short row heel?

  93. Are there any tutorials for the no wrap no gap heels?

  94. Thank you for this tutorial. I have never knit a short row heel. When knitting this type of heel, do I NOT need to knit a heel flap first? In the picture, it looks as though the heel is formed immediately after knitting the leg portion of the sock, and the foot is knit right after the short row heel.

  95. The video links do not work? Can you repost them I need to see visuallly how you’re picking up the bar and knitting with the stitch

  96. I usually do a Dutch heel, but am doing a tiny baby sock with only 28 total stitches. I am not clear on how to divide the stitches between the 4 needles. Can you help?

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