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Knit Picks Swish

Mickey is a simple pleated skirt whose birth was a complete accident. As I toiled to finish last year's Christmas gifts I completely goofed on a ribbing section I was doing for a cardigan, but quite liked the look of my mistake. With a few modifications it made a fun skirt for my daughter. It was my first taste of short rows though I didn't realize it until months later when I sat down to write the pattern.

It is written in two versions; a two-tone version that creates a very Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey! cheerleader style skirt, or a solid more understated version that looks fabulous with printed tights. There are also finishing options. The skirt can be finished with an elastic waistband, drawstring, or belt loops, and it knits up quickly. From casting on to finishing I was done in three evenings.

Even with my limited math skills this pattern is as easy to customize as it was to create. Once the desired length is determined (I recommend above the knee,) waist sizing is mindless because the skirt is worked side to side over a six row repeat until it fits.

I made the pattern with my four year old daughter in mind, but it isn't just limited to little girls. The beauty of the pattern is that it is customizable to any size so it can be made to fit anyone from infant to adult (for those of us who actually remember and loved the original Hey Mickey complete with the cheesy cheerleaders.)

The options for this pattern are limitless. In a cotton blend for summertime it would be great over a swimsuit as a flirty little cover-up or with a tank and a pair of flip-flops.

It would also be very easy to do in scrappy vertical stripes by changing yarn every row which is also a great way to use up odds and ends from your stash.

The two-tone cheerleader version can be made using one MC and as many CCs as you'd like. Just keep track of how often you repeat which colors.

model: Sloan photos: Jacque Landry

This is a formula pattern; all dimensions are calculated to fit.

The two-tone model fits my four-year-old daughter. It is 9.5 inches long, and the waist circumference is 20 inches.

The fuchsia model was knit to fit my daughter at age 3. It is 8 inches long, and the waist circumference measures 18 inches.


Two-Tone Skirt [see below]
Caron Simply Soft Brites [100% acrylic; 315 yd/288m per 170g skein]; less than 1 skein of each color
[MC] Grape
[CC] Limelight

Solid-Color Skirt
Lion Brand Wool-Ease [80% acrylic, 20% wool; 197 yd/180m per 85g skein]; color: Fuchsia; 1 skein

Notes: It is advisable to use needles which are 1 or 2 sizes smaller than the size recommended on the ball band. This will yield a firmer fabric, which will be more durable and less inclined to droop.
For a short child's skirt, a pair of straight needles will suffice, but if you are knitting a longer skirt (such as an adult skirt), you may prefer to use a longer circular needle.

To work I-Cord belt loops, two double-point needles are required.
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle
Waistband elastic (optional)
Sewing needle and thread (if using waistband elastic)
Ribbon for lacing (optional; see Pattern Notes)

Your gauge will depend on the yarn and needles you choose. It is absolutely essential to work a gauge swatch and take an accurate gauge measurement, as your stitch gauge per inch is an important variable in the pattern formula.

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

This is a formula pattern, which means that you are asked to provide several numbers and perform a few basic calculations, which will give you the numbers required for the pattern. Print the pattern out, fill in the spaces with the necessary numbers, and your pattern will be ready to use.

One option for this skirt is to omit the "wrap" part of the "wrap and turn" when turning the short rows at the top of the pleats. If the short rows are turned without wrapping, small holes will be created, through which ribbon or a drawstring may be laced. The fuchsia skirt shown was knit in this way, and 0.25-inch grosgrain ribbon was laced through the holes.

Next Row: Instead of turning work around to work back on the WS, slide all sts to other end of needle, switch needle back to your left hand, bring yarn around back of work, and start knitting the sts again. I-Cord is worked with the RS facing at all times.
Repeat this row to form I-cord. After a few rows, work will begin to form a tube.
Three numbers are required to complete the formula for this pattern:

[A] The width, in inches, of the garter stitch waistband

[B] The length, in inches, of the skirt below the waistband

[C] Your stitch gauge per inch

The waistbands of the skirts shown are 2 inches wide; this number works well for a small child's skirt. If you are making a skirt for an older child or an adult, you may wish to make a wider waistband. If you wish to use a drawstring to keep the skirt up (see Pattern Notes), work a narrower waistband.

When determining the skirt length, keep in mind that the knitted fabric will stretch with wear. Allow for approx. 0.5 inch of lengthwise growth for a skirt similar to the ones show, or several inches for a longer skirt knit in a heavier yarn. (Unfortunately, we can't tell you how much allowance to make for growth; many factors, including the yarn you choose and the tension of your knitted fabric, will determine this.)
When working your calculations, round all numbers to the nearest whole number.

_____[A] x _____[C] = _____[W]
[W] is the number of waistband stitches.

_____[B] x _____[C] = _____[S]
[S] is the number of skirt stitches.

_____[W] + _____[S] = _____[CO]
[CO] is the number of stitches to cast on.

The directions for the two-tone and solid-color skirts are the same. If you are working a solid-colored skirt, disregard the instructions to break and join MC and CC.

Using MC, cast on _____[CO].

Row 1 [WS]: Knit all stitches.

Row 2 [RS]: Purl _____[S], w&t. Knit to end.

Row 3 [RS]: Purl _____[S], knit _____[W].

Row 4 [WS]: Knit _____[W], break MC, join CC, purl _____[S].

Row 5 [RS]: Knit _____[S], w&t. Purl to end. Break CC.

Row 6 [RS]: Join MC, knit all stitches.

Repeat these 6 rows until the waistband is the desired length, ending on Row 5. When wrapped around the waist of the wearer, the edges should meet easily without being stretched. Before binding off, place all stitches on waste yarn and pin the edges together, to be sure the skirt can easily be pulled on and off.

When the skirt is the desired length, bind off all stitches using MC.

Weave in all ends.
Block the skirt as desired, taking care not to flatten out the pleats.
Sew the short edges of the skirt together.

The skirt may be held up in one of three ways:
1. Waistband elastic
2. A belt, held by I-Cord belt loops
3. A drawstring (as described in Pattern Notes)

Waistband Elastic
To determine the necessary length of waistband elastic, wrap the elastic around the waist of the wearer so that it is slightly stretched, but not snug. Add 1 inch to this length and cut the elastic.

Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1 inch and sew the ends securely together, ensuring that the elastic is not twisted.

Use pins to divide both the waist of the skirt and the elastic loop into quarters. Matching up these quarter points, pin the elastic to the inside of the waistband.
Sew in place, stretching the elastic slightly as you sew.

Belt Loops
Using a double-pointed needle, cast on 4 sts.
P 1 row (this provides a flat end to the piece).
K 1 row.
Work I-Cord until the piece measures 0.5 inch longer than the width of the belt to be worn.
With WS of work facing, p 1 row.
Bind off all sts.
Make desired number of belt loops and sew in place on outside of waistband.


Jacque is a stay at home mom to two precious little girls who she hopes will one day pick up the needles. She is a self-taught knitter who drives her darling husband nuts with her yarn hoarding and subsequent organizing.

Whenever she's not enhancing or cataloging her stash, she can be found knitting, reading, writing, hanging with her family or going on about her adventures at