Skirts

Skirts, Skirts, Skirts!

I’ve decided to unofficially declare 2017 the year of the knitted skirt. To that end, I’m offering three of my skirt patterns (Lacy Pleats, Putting On The Pleats, and Take Two Skirt) for a combined discount of $12 (that’s more than 30% off the price of purchasing them separately). It’s a little-known fact that skirts are much easier to knit than a sweater (one piece, very little shaping, no seams, fewer fit issues) and takes about the same amount of yarn as three pairs of socks.

Each skirt features an elastic waistband, increases along four “darts” for a fitted silhouette from the waist to the high hip, then “pleats” separated by wedge-shaped “gores” to the hem. Because the skirts are knitted from the top down, it’s easy to adjust the length to your personal preference. For the best fit, choose a size that’s one to two inches smaller than your actual high-hip circumference.

Putting On The Pleats is my first skirt design in which stockinette-stitch pleats are separated by reverse stockinette stitch gores. It’s worked with sock (fingering weight) yarn at a gauge of 7.5 stitches/inch.

Sizes: 33 1/2 (35 1/2, 37 1/4, 39 1/4)” high-hip circumference (allow for 1″ to 2″ of negative ease).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the name implies, Take-Two Skirt is my second skirt design in which I added a slip-stitch pattern in each of the pleats for a more elongated look. Like Putting On The Pleats, Take-Two is worked with sock (fingering weight) yarn at a gauge of 7.5 stitches/inch.

Sizes: 34 (36, 38, 40)” high-hip circumference (allow for 1″ to 2″ of negative ease).

 

 

 

Lacy Pleats features a simple lace design in each of the pleats, which are separated by reverse stockinette stitch gores.  This design is worked with Spirit Trails Fiberworks Brigantia at a gauge of 6 stitches/inch.

Sizes: 33 1/4 (36 3/4, 40, 43 1/4, 46 3/4)” high-hip circumference (allow for 1″ to 2″ of negative ease).

 

 

 

 

And for the adventurous knitter, I’m teaming up with Jeane DeCoster of Elemental Affects: A U.S. Yarn Company to teach a workshop on designing your own custom-fit skirt at Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins in Boulder, Colorado, February 18, 2017. The workshop fee includes yarn, personal style assessment, custom skirt pattern, an eight-week knit-a-long hosted by yours truly, and a finishing celebration at Shuttles, where you can show off your skirt.

Space is limited. Call Shuttles at 303-494-1071 to secure your spot.

Lacy Pleats

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with knitted skirts, especially those with the traditional line of a tailored pleated skirt. Like Putting On the Pleats and Take-Two Skirt (both available on Ravelry), this design features reverse stockinette-stitch “gussets” between lace panels that form the “pleats.”
This version is worked in a DK-weight yarn at 6 stitches/inch for a sturdy, but flexible, fabric. To prevent potential color changes between skeins, alternate one round each from two skeins of yarn.
This skirt is designed to have about 2″ (5 cm) negative ease around the waist and upper hips for a slimming fit. Four darts shape the taper from waist to high hip, then purl stitches are added between 20-stitch lace “pleats” to provide flare for the lower edge.
The length of the skirt can be adjusted by working more or fewer inches after finishing the last pleat increase round. Plan on purchasing extra yarn if making a longer skirt.

On the Road Again

 

Suitcases, reduced

Tomorrow I head east to Maine, where I’ll teach Design Your Own Pleated Skirt at KnitWits in Portland on Saturday, August 27.  Then I’ll head to Bath, where I’ll teach at Halycon Yarn on Sunday, August 28 (Intro to Sweater Design; Fixing Mistakes), and Monday, August 29 (Socks At Any Gauge; Shadow Knitting). I believe there are still spots in some of the classes if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

After that, I’m going to head up the coast for a week of relaxation. Bring. It. On.

The Evolution of A Skirt

If you’ve taken a workshop from me in the past couple of years, chances are good that I’ve worn one of my knitted skirts. I can’t exaggerate the comfort and pack-ability of hand-knitted skirts. The knitted fabric grows (and shrinks) with you and it won’t wrinkle in a suitcase. Plus, it’s most satisfying to say “yes, I made it myself” when asked!

I currently have two pleated skirt patterns available on Ravelry–Putting on the Pleats and Take-Two Skirt. Both involve purl “gore” stitches between (mostly, in the case of Take-Two) stockinette-stitch “pleats.”

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Take-Two Skirt

Last November, I cast on for another version for Quince & Company. I knitted this version out of their fingering-weight Finch (100% North American wool) in a beautiful gray color called Kittywake.

Quince Skirt yarn

I measured my gauge at 7.5 stitches/inch, multiplied that by my waist circumference, allowing for 2″ of negative ease, then cast on while I was attending Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Stung-Along Retreat last November. I knitted in my hotel room, in cars, in airports, and on planes, increasing from my waist circumference to my high-hip circumference (again, allowing for 2″ of negative ease).

Progress on Quince Skirt 2

Progress on Quince Skirt 3

It wasn’t long before I got the fun part where the pleats began. For the next couple of months, I knitted while watching TV (yea Broncos and Downton Abbey!). For this skirt, I decided to work garter welts in the “gores” between the stockinette-stitch pleats. Somehow, I made it to the bind-off row before I took another photo.

Quince Skirt BO2

Ahh, binding off is exceedingly satisfying! Although you might think that a skirt requires endless knitting, it actually only takes as much yarn as three to four pairs of socks. And there are no heels to turn, gusset stitches to pick up, or Kitchener stitch! A pretty good trade off, if you ask me.

After blocking and adding an elastic waistband, I sent the skirt to Quince and Company last week. Depending on how much time it takes them to tech edit, photograph, and lay out the instructions, the pattern will be available in a few weeks or a few months. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Wouldn’t it be fun to appear at an event wearing the same skirt?

 

 

Another Skirt

I recently assigned myself Ambassador of Knitted Skirts because I spend so much time sharing the glories of my most impressively comfortable handknitted skirts. I have two skirt patterns already availaible on Ravelry . One is called Putting on the Pleats.

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The other is called Take-Two Skirt.

beauty photo from Joe Coca, cropped and enlarged

The difference between the two is the length and I added a slip-stitch pattern within the pleats of the Take-Two Skirt. Both were knitted with Wollmeise Pure (100% superwash wool), which, unfortunately, a little difficult to get.

I’m now working on my third version now to prove that any sock-weight yarn will work. For this version, I’m using Malabrigo Sock in #862 Piedras for a totally different look.

yarn choice

I’m knitting this version with plain stockinette-stitch pleats because the slip-stitch pattern would be distracting in the handdyed yarn. I’m planning it to be about the same length as the Take-Two Skirt. I wound each skein into two balls, then alternated two balls, round by round to help diffuse any color differences between the skeins.

Here’s a photo of me knitting on this third version while wearing the Take-Two Skirt and waiting for a flight to depart. The color is a bit off here — the skirt is a darker color overall.

about halfway

I’m now approaching the hem and hope to bind off in the next couple of days. It’s getting a little warm to wear right now, but I’ll be all set when autumn sets in!

approaching the hem

I know a lot of people worry about “butt bag” in knitted skirts, but that doesn’t happen if 100% wool is used, the skirt is knitted with negative ease from the waist to upper hips, and the pleats begin at the full hip circumference. If it were an issue, I’d simply add a lining.

Take-Two Skirt Winner

The winner of the Take-Two Skirt pattern is Shing who wrote:

This skirt looks so wonderful on you that I am motivated to knit it! Hope you are recovering well and that your trip (did you already return?) went well.

beauty photo from Joe Coca, cropped and enlarged

Congratulations Shing. I returned late yesterday after 27 hours in transit. I’m still reeling.

For the rest of you, you can still purchase the pattern for hip sizes of 34, 36, 38, and 40″ (keep in mind that you want at least 1″ of negative ease for a flattering fit) on Ravelry for a mere $6.50. Help me out — I have twins in college.

PS: The yardage for the skirt is mislabeled on the Ravelry page and I haven’t figured out how to correct it. It should be three skeins at 574 yd for all sizes. The smallest size will use just a bit of the third skein while the largest size will use more.

My New Favorite Skirt

Quite a while ago I posted a new pattern on my Ravelry site called Take-Two Skirt.

beauty photo from Joe Coca

Things were a little busy at the time so I never posted that the pattern was available. Still, an impressive 83 people have marked it as a “favorite.”

I named the skirt Take-Two because it was based on my first skirt pattern, Putting On The Pleats, which is also available through Ravelry.

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But this time, I wanted a longer skirt with a little texture in the pleats. It’s knitted with Wollmeise Pure (sock weight) yarn at a gauge of 7.5 stitches to the inch. I added slip-stitch panels within the pleats to add a little textural interest.

pleat detail

This has now become my favorite skirt. In fact I was wearing it the night I broke my arm and I remember yelling at the nurses *not* to cut off my skirt — unfortunately they had to cut off my favorite sweater, but that’s another story.

Recently a reader asked to see a photo of the skirt on a real person instead of a dress form. I agree that it’s best to evaluate the fit when a garment is on a human body. So, I asked a friend to take a photo of me in the skirt shortly after I broke my arm.

Ann wearing skirt 1Ann wearing skirt 2

These aren’t very good photos (taken with my iPhone), but they do show the skirt on a “real” body. My upper torso is covered up to hide the sling and brace on my arm (and the ice pack) around my neck.

If you think you’d like to try your hand at a knitted skirt (and I think you should) , respond to this post and I’ll send a free pattern to a luck winner on Thursday, April 9.

For those of you afraid of getting a “bucket butt” after one or two wearings, fear not. I’ve worn this skirt at least a dozen times without washing it and I can’t tell the front from the back. It’s all about the yarn and gauge — use 100% wool yarn at a reasonably tight gauge and you’ll be fine.

Take-Two Skirt

This skirt is a variation of the Putting on the Pleats skirt (available on Ravelry) that I designed a year ago. For this version, I used a fingering weight hand-dyed wool yarn at 7.5 stitches per inch for a firm, but lightweight, fabric.

Designed to have 1” to 2”(2.5 to 5 cm) negative ease around the waist and hips, this skirt stretches as necessary for a slimming fit. Choose a size 1” to 2” (2.5 to 5 cm) smaller than your actual measurements.

Four darts shape the hips, then purl stitches are added between 17 (18, 19, 20) fifteen-stitch panels. Purl stitches are inserted between the “pleat” panels; the flare at the lower edge is created by progressively increasing the number of purl stitches.

The stitches on each side of the “pleat” panels are worked through the back loop (tbl) to maintain crisp edges at the transitions between the knit and purl stitches.

The skirt length can be adjusted by working more or fewer inches after the last pleat increase round. You may need more yarn if you plan to make a longer skirt in the larger sizes.

Travel Knitting

Before I left for the Craft Cruise to Alaska in May, I fretted over what knitting project I’d bring. I wanted something relative simple that wouldn’t require a lot of close attention. I wanted something that would last through all the plane, train, and bus rides. And, based on painful experience,  I wanted something that could be knitted on a circular needle so I wouldn’t risk the chance of losing a needle.

I decided to knit another skirt! I love the short skirt I knitted from Wollemeise yarn that I got from The Loopy Ewe last year (I called the skirt Putting on the Pleats and you can purchase it on Ravelry).

ann-awesome-skirt-2

I happened to have three more skeins of the same glorious yarn in a deep red, which should be plenty for a knee-length version. I cast on 246 stitches (on size 3 needles) and joined (without twisting the stitches!) before I boarded the plane to Vancouver, British Columbia.

skirt cast-on

This turned out to be an excellent travel project. The knitting was simple enough to work on when the lighting was poor or the distractions were many. Here’s the progress I made by the time I returned home.

about halfway

I’m working the skirt from the waistband down, just as for Putting on the Pleats, but I’ve modified the pleats to include subtle vertical texture. I hope to make this one long enough to cover my not-so-attractive knees.

Skirt Pattern Winner

Thanks for all your kind comments about Putting on the Pleats.

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The random-number generator choose comment #7, which was posted on November 14 at 1:28 pm by MaryAnne, who said: “That is so pretty, and it looks fabulous on you. Great pattern. Thanks for the contest chance.”

Congratulations MaryAnne. Email me your email address and I’ll send the pdf to you!

The rest of you can get the pattern (for a fee) from my website or Ravelry.

FYI, I’m wearing the skirt with my Weekend Jacket today while I teach top-down raglan sweaters at Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins.