Is it possible to wear an item with fringe and still look fashionable? To be completely honest I am not positive that it can be done. For most people when you say fringe they think of hippes and buckskin jackets. And really, no matter how you cut it, fringe is quite a statement. I don’t mean a bit of a fringed edge to a scarf, I’m talking a shawl with a long fringe along the bottom, or a fringed shirt, or a fringed purse… You know. Dramatic fringe. Statement-making fringe.
I began my quest for fringed knitted shawl patterns that looked nice and still had a level of modernity to it.
Why shawls? Mostly because they are fun to knit and are the most likely to be able to incorporate fringe without it looking out of place.
The first one that I found and liked was with regret. Well, not regret exactly, but more surprise. I first need to explain that in general I dislike (or maybe just don’t understand) Stephen West’s designs. He does have a couple that are nice, and I do think the guy has a lot of skill and creativity, but I also think a lot of his designs frankly look insane, and I have wonder if he isn’t trolling everyone, making the most unappealing unattractive designs just to see if people will buy and make them. (For example, this, this, this, and this all just look insane to me and would be unflattering on everyone.) I appreciate that my opinion on him is not the norm and that for some people uttering any word against Stephen West is blasphemous. And hey, to each his own! Anyway, despite my general dislike of his patterns I did come across his Fringed pattern (paid pattern). I love this pattern. I think it is interesting and stylish, and finds a way to make fringe look modern. I especially like the block of other-coloured fringe at the end, just for extra interest. Stephen West hasn’t fully won me over, but this pattern really is gorgeous as far as I am concerned and I’d even consider paying the money for it.
The next pattern I came across that I really liked was the Sonoma Stole by Carol Sunday (Paid pattern). For being a shawl with so many colours and lines, you’d think the fringe would make it too busy or tacky, but actually I think the fringe works really well with this pattern. It is like the fringe softens the otherwise pretty sharp lines in the stripes in the shawl.
RittenhouseTown Wrap by Jocelyn Tunney (free pattern) is different from the first two insofar as it is all one colour. The interest comes from the pattern and texture in the body of the shawl and in the fringe. To me it looks snuggly and warm, more Autumn Cottage instead of 1970’s Love In.
Going at fringe from a different direction, there is Beautiful Spring Scarf by Purl Soho (free pattern). It is a very very simple scarf but with brightly coloured fringe on the ends. Where fringe is very often an accent, here the fringe is the focus.
Amalthea by Tori Gurbisz (paid pattern) does the best job of being modern and fashionable in a timeless way. It is a nice long shawl with a bit of detailing and texture along the bottom half of it, and is finished with a simple not-too-heavy fringe. It is classy. And feminine, without being shouty about it. I don’t know, I just think it is properly lovely and of all the shawl designs I have here I think this is the one that would be the most wearable.
Finally, I have two pairs of socks that incorporate fringe that I really like. The first is Cat’s Zebra Socks by Cat Bordhi (paid pattern). Basically, they are black and white stripes socks with a fringe down the back that mimics the mane of the zebra. Pretty creative and fun. The second pair of socks has fringe, but in a more hilarious creative way. In Fringe Socks by Stephannie Tallent (paid pattern) the fringe is a knitted design, not actual fringe hanging off the socks. I’m sorry, but this absolutely cracks me up. I don’t know why but I think this is hilarious and creative.
So there are some knitting patterns that use fringe but aren’t excessively retro or dated. I think it can be a thin line to walk, using fringe while staying modern looking, but I think this proves it can be done.
I am always open to suggestions so please leave in the comments any other patterns or ideas!
Links to all the patterns mentioned in this post: