January has felt endlessly grey and wet around here, and yet in all those days I haven't managed to post a photo of the ruffled fichu which I finished right on the cusp on the New Year: 9 pm on New Year's Eve, Pacific Time. Too late to wear to a Times Square ball-dropping frenzy, but almost, almost warm enough.
I really need to take better pictures of this glittery cloud of cozy warmth. Shawls are just about impossible to photograph right, and this one deserves to be shown off in its light silver grey self rather than with this blueish cast. I need either a model, and my models tend to wear sweats and t-shirts which never look great with shawls and even sillier with the ruffled variety.
I couldn't resist this pattern when I saw it in Knitter's magazine back in September. Now this is unusual; these days I subscribe to the magazine out of habit, because I feel so bad for its continued decline in the past few years and because I am loathe to stop my Knitter's collecting efforts (I own every issue but one or two) at this late point. But I am hardly ever moved to cast on for the patterns (too shapeless, too bulky, too weird) that tend to dominate the magazine in recent years.
Anyway, like many readers I welcomed the inclusion of Jane Sowerby and her lovely lacework in the magazine starting about two years ago. This last pattern, the ruffled fichu is really beginner lace. There are no motifs, only addictive garter stitch knitted at a very loose gauge and this decadent ruffle, which is the point for the whole thing.
Whoever came up with the name for the pattern wasn't aware of the meaning of "fichu" in French. A fichu is a modest scarf, something like a kerchief or a bandana. Anything knitted with Rowan Kidsilk Night, triangle-shape notwithstanding, is disqualified for the "fichu" label, and a ruffled fichu, well, we'll call this a knitting oxymoron.
Which must be why, when I walk around my cold California house on this cold January, all wrapped up in my glamorous shawl, I feel like a walking oxymoron. There is only one person who could wear this stylishly and naturally, and that would be Jean Harlow, back in the early 1930's. All I need is a boudoir and a heart-shaped box of candies; the fichu and I would feel right at home in the universe of Dinner at Eight
Mind you, I don't think much of Jean Harlow as a style icon. This is no Garbo, no Dietrich, no Hepburn or Hepburn. Everything about her screams "too much! tone it down a notch!". Which is just the case with my decadent shawl. Glitter and ruffles. What was I thinking? Well, I wasn't. I was simply dying to use up the silver Kidsilk Night and to try knitting a gigantic ruffle. Surely the party-girl life will follow. Or I'll add a very glamorous touch to my robe and slippers weekend-morning uniform.
Specs: Ruffled Fichu pattern by Jane Sowerby, from Knitters #88 (Fall, 2007). I used up 2 skeins of Kidsilk Night for the triangle, one whole skein for the ruffle, and 1/3 of a skein for the picot edging. Kidsilk Night is almost as soft as Kidsilk Haze, and it is incredibly light and warm. I think it would make an ideal yarn for Romi's Ice Queen , allowing a bead-challenged knitter like myself to get her glitter the lazy way.