Profile of a Gradient Skirt

As many of you know, I’m somewhat obsessed with knitted skirts. There are currently 11 of them hanging in my closet, knitted from fingering, sport, DK, and worsted yarns. So far, I’ve uploaded patterns for six designs (Lacy Pleats, Putting On The Pleats, Putting On The Worsted Pleats, Take-Two Skirt, Tavia, Traveling Pleats, and Velvety Pleats) on Ravelry. There seems to be no end to the stitch patterns and yarns I want to try, which brings me to the topic of this post.

When I was teaching at a retreat hosted by The Bazaar Girls yarn shop in Port Townsend, Washington, this past March, I purchased a gradient kit from Schmutzerella Yarns. Talented owner and dyer Nancy Torrence has managed to dye gradients that circumvent the entire color wheel. A bit of a self-proclaimed geek, Nancy also has colors and gradients based on characters in Harry Potter and the board game Clue.

I was so enamored with the Sweet (fingering weight; 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) gradient kit named Professor Plum’s Demise (six 20-gram/92-yard mini skeins that shift from purple to black) that I decided to knit yet another skirt, based on my basic Putting On The Pleats pattern (but I made the waistband only 1 1/2″ wide instead of 2″ as stated in the pattern). I used size U.S. 2 needles for a gauge of about 7.5 stitches/inch.


To ensure that I’d have enough yarn, I purchased two packs of the gradients (184 yards total of each shade) plus a 100-gram skein of basic black (colorway Nox) for the waistband and upper portion of the skirt.

Somewhere before the beginning of the pleats, when I had at least 7 grams of Nox remaining, I switched to the mini skeins, beginning with the darkest shade and grading to the pure purple. To soften the color transitions, I alternated one round each of the darkest mini skein with Nox until I had used up about one-third (about 60 yards/12 grams) of the darkest mini-skein color. Then I worked the mini skein alone for another one-third of the yardage (12 grams), then alternated one round each of that color with the next darkest shade until I finished the first mini-skein color. I continued in this manner, alternating one-third (about 12 grams) with the previous color, one-third (about 12 grams) alone, then one-third (about 12 grams) with the next color, ending with pure purple.

The result is a beautiful skirt with a subtle gradation from darkest at the waist to lightest at the hem. To ensure that the “pleats” stretched out fully, I used blocking wires to stretch the width aggressively when I wet-blocked the finished skirt.

If you’d like to knit a skirt for yourself, use the code SKIRT! to get 20% off the Ravelry price of Lacy Pleats, Putting On The Pleats, Putting On The Worsted Pleats, Take-Two Skirt, Traveling Pleats, and Velvety Pleats between now and midnight Friday July 12.

2 thoughts on “Profile of a Gradient Skirt”

  1. Do you have a book on knitting skirts? I have your sock book and it is my go to authority and how I learned to knit socks. I’d love a similar tome on skirts.

  2. Hi Debbie.
    You’re not the first to ask about a book on knitted skirts. Sadly, the book proposal I submitted to Interweave Press a number of years ago was rejected. I think I may have been ahead of the curve on this idea. A couple of years later Candice Eisner Strict came out with Knit My Skirt, and my publisher was convinced that there was only need for one skirt book. So, to answer your question, no, I don’t have book on knitting skirts. For now, I’m just publishing my patterns individually and selling them through Ravelry.

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