Monday, August 30, 2010

back to school skirt

My 5-year-old is an incredibly reluctant model. It took a lot of coaxing to get photos of her new skirt, but there is one thing I don't have to convince her of: a deep love for school. The thought of school starting next week has Sadie in a constant state of glee, and when I asked her what we should name her new skirt the answer was immediate. Meet the Back to School Skirt.

This is a simple pattern and it makes for a very wearable wool skirt (note the dancing shot above). Noro is such a unique yarn, and this skirt allows the inherent striping to really show off. It is so fun to watch the colours appear and reappear in different widths - something you just couldn't plan with individual yarns. As for garment details - the waist is folded inside to create a casing for elastic and there is a true hem to help weight the skirt properly. Blocking would make the hem behave, but Sadie started wearing the skirt before I had a chance to whisk it away. I figure it's a small price to pay for knitting something Sadie loves. Of course, the skirt is small potatoes compared to starting Grade One next Tuesday.

You will need:
3 balls Noro Kureyon
5mm 16”-20” circular needle
1 stitch marker

Gauge 18.5 stitches over 26 rows = 4” square
Size is roughly for a 4-6 year old. Sadie’s waist is 20”, so using negative ease I ended up with a finished waist that is roughly 18” (smaller once the elastic is in). From waist to hem the length is 13”. Overall the pattern is basic enough to adjust to other sizes – simply increase or decrease the number of CO stitches to an amount divisible by 4.

CO 76, join in the round. Place marker to mark the beginning of the round.
Knit for 7 rows.
Purl 1 row (this makes an edge which folds over neatly).
Knit for 11 rows.
INCREASE ROW 1: [K19, M1] 4 times. (80 stitches total)
Knit for 3 rows.
INCREASE ROW 2: [K20, M1] 4 times. (84 stitches total)
Knit for 3 rows.
INCREASE ROW 3: [K21, M1] 4 times. (88 stitches total)
Knit for 3 rows.
INCREASE ROW 4: [K22, M1] 4 times. (92 stitches total)
Knit for 3 rows.
GATHERED ROW: [K1, KFB] to end of row.
Continue knitting until desired skirt length is reached.
Purl 1 row (again, this makes an edge which folds over neatly to create the skirt hem.
Knit for 7 rows and bind off.

To finish, using lengths of Noro yarn (or other, stronger yarn) sew the hem in place using a whip stitch. Do the same for the waist until you have 2-3” left open. Cut a piece of elastic and feed through the waist casing. Join the elastic and finish stitching the waist closed. Weave in ends and block if desired.

(Pattern is for personal use only. Please do not use for commercial purposes.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

lucky boy

The quickest sewing jobs are always for Milo. And since he's a boy - a 14 month old boy to be exact - he gets his clothes dirty. Instead of doing laundry, I just make him more shirts. Seriously.

This shirt was made during another Friday afternoon nap sewing bonanza. The fabric came from Nature's Fabrics and it is wonderfully soft. The green ribbing is from an old maternity shirt of mine (which I have now completely used every scrap of). I went back to the tried-and-true 90 Minute Shirt pattern because I am always inspired by Sascha's garments (not to mention her lovely blog has taught me a trick or two). I still have 3/4 yard of this fabric, so I guess Milo will get some matching pants, or maybe a hoodie like this awesome one? We'll see what next Friday brings.

But first some leggings or Sadie. Girls need clothes too.

Friday, August 13, 2010


It is surprisingly hard to live without a sewing machine. Or maybe hard is the wrong word - let's say it is somewhat disheartening. I was feeling lost without a work space set up, but finally I have a temporary desk in our bedroom. It's not ideal, but it's something. And while Milo napped today I sewed him a new t-shirt and the whole world felt right again.

I don't work on Fridays, but so far it has been hard to stay away from emails and general contact. Today I actually checked out though, and while Milo napped for a whopping 3 1/2 hours, I watched 2 Mad Men episodes, sewed a t-shirt and finished knitting (and weaving in all the ends!) another toddler vest. Accomplishment and entertainment - it was heavenly.

The vest is knit with Manos Cotton Stria. It's soft and light - perfect for the fall. I'm not wild about the colour and it turns out there is a noticeable difference between the two balls I had, so I may dye the whole thing anyway. And on a recent trip to Cambridge I picked up the little blue hanger above which is a great improvement on my usual plastic white number. It makes for a better photo for sure, handy when you're knitting in the summer and don't feel like torturing your son by forcing him to wear wool.

Fingers crossed next Friday is as productive.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Four years ago I knit Sadie a Swing Thing cardigan using colourful Noro wool. She wasn't even two, and the sweater turned out ginormous so I put it away thinking she could probably wear it when she was five (which, of course, seemed far, far away). In what seems to have been a minute or two, Sadie is now almost to six but the sweater was close to forgotten. Luckily I'm moving things around these days as we get Milo's bedroom ready, and I came across the unworn Swing Thing. Unfortunately it doesn't fit any better with the extra years, and Sadie thinks it's scratchy to boot.

I guess Noro was too stiff a yarn choice because the shoulders resemble those of a football jersey (see center photo for proof). The colours are wonderful though, and even Sadie could see that. So after some brainstorming we decided a skirt would be a nice garment choice - the striping should be similar and it will never be right next to her skin. Win-win all around. I'm currently without my sewing machine, or even a work space, so unravelling a project is about as creative as I get. And winding balls of Noro is more than pleasant - it's like watching a moving mosaic on your lap. I can't wait to start her skirt.

Speaking of skirts, my renewed love for Noro had me poking through Ravelry patterns today and I came across this new skirt pattern from the current Knitty issue. It is downright awesome, and I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from grabbing some more Noro this weekend. I'll call it my treat for having no work space, or more like, something to distract myself from dwelling too much on Milo moving down the hall.

Knitting therapy strikes again.