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I work at the National Museum of Roller Skating (I'm not making this up -- there actually is such a place), and over the time that I have worked there, I have found myself drawn to the photographs of the skaters from the 1940s, and especially to the pleated wool skirts worn by some of the female skaters. This pattern is the product of my attempt to recreate one of those skirts (although it's a slightly sportier version, with a drawstring waist).

The skirt is knit in the round from the top down. The pleats are made up of panels of knit stitches, which increase in size, alternating with panels of purl stitches, which remain the same size throughout.

The result is a nice, cozy skirt for fall days that calls to mind an era when the roller rink was the place to meet guys and every year, a young woman was crowned the Roller Skating Queen of America (no, I'm not making that up, either).

model: Emily Dust-Nimsakont photos: Tanee Nimsakont

XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL)

Waist: 27.5 (30, 32.5, 35, 37.5, 40) inches when flat (with drawstring relaxed)
Drawstring adjusts to fit waist: 25-27 (28-30, 30-32, 33-35, 35-37, 38-40) inches
Hem circumference: 42.5 (45, 47.5, 50, 52.5, 55) inches
Length: 19.25 (19.25, 20.25, 20.25, 21.25, 21.25)inches



Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb Single Ply Sport [100% wool; 154yd/138m per 50g skein]; color: 200 (Russet); 5 (6, 6, 7, 7, 8) skeins

29-inch US #4/3 1/4 mm circular needle
2 US #3/3mm double-pointed needles
tapestry needle
safety pin (optional)

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations can be found here]


24 sts/35 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch


With circular needle, CO 165 (180, 195, 210, 225, 240) sts.
Place marker and join to beg working in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.

Create drawstring casing
Work in St st (k every round) for 1 1/2".

Next round:
Sizes XS, M, XL: k 80 (95, 110), yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k 80 (95, 110).
Sizes S, L, XXL: k 88 (103, 118), yo, k2tog, k2tog, yo, k88 (103, 118).

Cont in st st until work measures 2".

Start pleated panels
Next round: P2, k10, [p5, k10] to last 3 sts, p3.
Rep this round until panels measure 3" (total length is 5").
Next round: P2, k2, m1, k6, m1, k2, [p5, k2, m1, k6, m1, k2] to last 3 sts, p3.
Next round: P2, k12, [p5, k12] to last 3 sts, p 3.
Rep this round until panels measure 6" (total length is 8").
Next round: P2, k2, m1, k8, m1, k2, [p5, k2, m1, k8, m1, k2] to last 3 sts, p 3.
Next round: P2, k14, [p5, k14] to last 3 sts, p3.
Rep this round until panels measure 9" (total length is 11").
Cont in this manner, inc two stitches in each panel every 3" until each panel has 22 knit sts. 297[324, 351, 378, 405, 432] sts; panels measure 18" (total length is 20").
Next round: P2, k22, [p5, k22] to last 3 sts, p3.
Rep this round for 0[0, 1, 1, 2, 2] inches.
Work four rounds of garter stitch.
BO all stitches loosely.

With dpns, CO 3 sts. Knit I-cord for 37[39.5, 42, 44.5, 47, 49.5] inches, or desired length.


Fold top inch of work to inside and sew in place to form drawstring casing.
Attach safety pin to end of drawstring and thread through casing, drawing ends through holes formed by yarnovers.

[Another option: I chose to slip one end of the drawstring through each hole and fold the casing over the drawstring as I sewed the edge of the casing to the inside of the skirt.]

Weave in ends. Block to measurements. [Blocking tip: Wet block piece with ribs collapsed.]



Emily Dust Nimsakont lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her husband and her cat. She is the assistant curator at the National Museum of Roller Skating.

In the rare moments when she is not knitting, she enjoys reading, running, and attempting to learn to golf.