Ruffles for Summer!

Ann Budd's Ruffled Lace Anklets
Mari Lynn Patrick's Ruffled Surplice

I've never thought of myself as the ruffle type, but I think I might be wrong because I choose a lot of knitting patterns with ruffles! What I love is how they add just a touch of femininity to the finished piece as well as being fun to knit!

There are a couple of patterns from our pattern store that I've been wanting to add to the queue, and I think the ruffles are what makes me really want them for my summertime wardrobe!

My home office is in my basement and it's really cool in the summer. This is nice most of the time, but sometimes my feet get cold. I have a bunch of those ankle-length athletic socks, but wouldn't the Ruffled Lace Anklets be so much cuter? I'm thinking about them in a bright yellow.

The Ruffled Surplice top is a great mix of cute ruffles and sophisticated design. Designer Mari Lynn Patrick used an all-over stitch pattern to add body to a bamboo yarn, and the cross-over closure is so flattering.

Let's talk a bit about the ruffles involved in these projects. The socks have a classic, crimped ruffle that make a nice, firm cuff that'll stay in place. The top has a looser ruffle that adds just a the right amount  of flirty detail.

Gathered Ruffles

This is the simplest type of ruffle and is formed by working all the shaping on a single row-decreases if worked from the bottom up; increases if worked from the top down.

Bottom up: For a standard amount of flair, the wide edge should have twice the number of stitches as the narrow edge, as shown in Figure 1. For example, if you want 50 stitches at the narrow edge, cast on 100 stitches. Work stockinette stitch (or another pattern stitch) for the desired depth of the ruffle, ending with a wrong-side row. On the next row, reduce the number of stitches in half by working k2tog decreases across the row.

To make a tighter, more crimped ruffle as shown in Figure 2, cast on four times the number of stitches you want to end up with. (For example, if you want 50 stitches at the narrow edge, cast on 200). Reduce the number of stitches in half by working k2tog decreases across one row, then in half again by working p2tog decreases across the next row. For a subtle, relaxed ruffle, cast on half again the
number of stitches you want to end up with. (For example, if you want 50 stitches at the narrow edge, cast on 75.) Work the decrease row by alternating k2tog decreases with single knit stitches.

Top down:
Gathered ruffles worked from the top down are nearly identical to those worked from the bottom up, although the sequence of steps is reversed—use increases instead of decreases, and work these increases in the first row instead of the last. For a standard amount of flair, double the number of stitches.

For a tighter ruffle, double the number of stitches on the first row, then double the number again (or double by half, depending on how ruffled you want your ruffle to be) on the following row. In addition to being worked at the bind-off edge of a garment, gathered ruffles worked from the top down can be added to an existing piece of knitting by picking up and knitting stitches for the short edge, increasing to the desired number of stitches for the long edge, and working the appropriate number of rows for the desired ruffle depth.

Figure 1. Loosely gathered ruffle Figure 2. Crimped ruffle

You can use these ruffles for lots of things; try them on bags, along either side of a button band, or at the cuffs of gloves. You can make a wide, long ruffle and wear it as a scarf, too. Sky's the limit!


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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!