Knitting Loose ruffles

So I’m trying to figure out how to knit ruffles. I don’t mean very ruffly edges or anything. I know how to do that, increasing all the time… I mean, over the main body of the piece, how to get it to, hmm, undulate? Not quite pleats, because pleats are too defined, but something along that line, where the main body of the piece gently ruffles out and in. Do you know what I mean? I can’t even think of how to describe it, otherwise I could google it and if not find a knitting pattern like that, at least find a garment to show you. But yeah, trying to figure out how to knit something like that.

ETA: Okay, I just went to Anthropologie’s site to search, and what I’m talking about is in fashion, so I could find lots. Look at the bottom halves of these tops and dresses:

Okay, do you think this is what I need to do?

Wouldn’t it just have to do with the drape of the fabric? If there was a large increase between the top and the bottom, I’d think that the knitting would do that on it’s own, no? Unless it’s very stiff–then you could have a large bell, I suppose. :teehee:

Yeah, that makes sense. I was starting to think that, that even with the rouching (ha! I learned a new word today), I had better choose a lighter weight yarn with good drape, like a yarn with some microfiber or something.

But I mean, for the increases, should all the increases be done towards the top in just a few rows? Or increase evenly throughout? And if the latter, on each increase row, should you just space the increases evenly, or always increase at the same points on that row.

i sew (on occasion :teehee:), and to achieve that look with fabric, you take a tube of fabric and add a gatering thread to the top, pull the thread to gather the top edge until it is the desired size, then you would sew the gathered edge to the structured top, creating a flowing, gently gathered bottom. the wider your tube, the more ruffly your end product. soooo, (tmi??) i would think the same principle would work with knitting. and i agree, a lighter wieght yarn with a soft drape would be best. i would think the best way to do this in the round or in one piece would be to do the increases as quick as possible, otherwise you would just end up with an a-line shape, as opposed to actual ruffling.

Thank you. As I was swatching, I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be possible with hand knit fabric. Essentially, I’m trying to create one of my favorite sweaters. It’s all worn out. :frowning: I was looking through Spring Interweave Knits at this piece:

and the increase is by 8 or 9 inches from under bust to bottom, plus the bust is done in ribbing which pulls in while the part underneath is done in lace, which fans out. And there’s still no ruffling. I mean, have any of you ever seen a handknit piece that has the ruffling I’m talking about? Maybe it’s not very doable. I don’t know, with the gathering, it might be possible.

have you looked at the construction of knitty’s monica? it is a two piece ruffle- the bottom layer is flat. then you knit up a piece twice as wide, K2tog across , the use the 3 needle technique to sew the two pieces together. Might that work upside down for what you are looking for? i.e. knit from the top down, knit the ruffle bottom up, then 3 needle together?

Hmmm I’m not sure if that would work…

That may work. Thanks for the link. After all this, though, I’m thinking I don’t really want to knit a piece that is twice as wide as me for any length of time, esp since I’m not sure how good it will look (read question “will it look like a ruffled tent?”) so I may just have to go on the hunt for another store-bought sweater.

I was going to point out the Monica pattern too- perhaps you could use the same idea, but maybe just make it 1 1/2 times as wide and then knit 1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, rather than k2tog all the way across.

I think as long as you do the decrease fairly evenly over the width of what you want to ruffle, you’ll get the right effect. But then I’m pretty new at this knitting thing, so… It did work really nicely with the Monica pattern, though.