Afternoon Break

by Lia W. Liang

Afternoon Break

The idea for this pattern came after talking with a friend who wanted something to cover her shoulders when working at her studio. She asked that it be not quite as big as a triangular shawl but not quite as small as a scarf or collar. A fichu it must be!

According to_Victorian Lace Today_, a fichu is a practical (and popular) garment for women that can be worn practically year-round. Extremely versatile, it makes it an ideal layering garment either for a cozy night at home reading at bed or a Sunday picnic at the park. This pattern is also an ideal project for you to juxtapose different yarn weights, types, and textures, which I show in the two versions below. For example, in the Cafe Latte version, I wanted a fuller, heavier center panel, so I used two strands of yarn together and knitted the rest of the fichu in single strand. If you prefer a lacier trim, use a larger pair of needles, and block it to your liking when finished.


20sts/32rws at 4” in Ripple Wave pattern on US 4 / 3.5mm needles using 2 strands together (caffe latte version) or 24sts/32rws at 4” in Ripple Wave pattern on US 4 / 3.5mm needles (green tea version)

Sizes and Measurements

One Size (adjustable, the following are for reference only and you don’t have to block to the same sizes)

Caffè Latte:

Neck Edge: 79cm.
Lower edge at the Center Panel: 105cm.
Lower skirt: 153cm.
Length of Center Panel: 11.5cm.
Ties: 50 cm each side (cast on extra stitches for the ties).

Green Tea:

Neck Edge: 66 cm. Lower edge at the Center Panel: 105cm. Lower skirt: 157 cm. Length of Center Panel: 11cm. Ties: 30 cm each side. [Note: the Green Tea version is smaller, shorter, and lighter. However, with the yarn, I’d be able to block the lower lace trim to make it even lacier.]


Caffe latte:

Green Tea:


(Popknits uses's standard abbreviations)

Please see pattern's other notes.

The fichu has a center panel with a ripple wave pattern, started from the bottom edge with a provisional cast-on. As a result of its biased effect, the panel itself has slightly wavy edges. After working the center panel and reaching the top edge, the next step is doing a preparation row for both the neck edge and the upper knitted-on trim. Then you’ll work the knit-on trim, a trellis pattern, around the panel in two stages: First from A to B via the lower edge, then A to B again via the neck edge, picking up stitches from the preparation row now. Picking up the other side of the preparation stitches and work the neck edge and ties, soon you’ll have a fichu.

Afternoon Break

Provisional cast-on

Use a waste yarn of a contrasting color, cast on 196 stitches. With this number of stitches, you will have 2 edge stitches on both ends and 16 repeats of pattern shown on Chart A (please see charts below) as the following: on both ends, slip the outer edge stitches when you work the right side, knit them on the wrong side, and keep other edge stitches in garter stitch. [1]

The center panel

Foundation row (WS): Use the main yarn, purl to the end.

Begin of the center panel: Sl1, K1, follow row 1 of Chart A for 16 times (or desired width), K1, Sl1.

Next row: Knit 2, follow Row 2 of Chart A for 16 times, knit 2. Follow the rest of the Chart throughout, meanwhile, keep edge stitches as these two rows. The 12-stitch-repeat will be decreased to a 9-stitch-repeat after row 25, 148 stitches in total from this row on.

Preparation row for both the neckband and the neck trim (top edge): Kfb, to end. [2] 296 stitches.

Using two other spare circular needles, transfer the first stitch onto the first pair of needles and then the second onto the other, continue putting the odd numbered stitch to one needle and the even number to another, to end. Now you’ll have 148 stitches on both needles. The front row will become the line to work the knit-on edge (see “Outer Trim” next) and the second the neckband. You may want to transfer these stitches again onto 2 sequences of waste yarns, if you don’t like to work with dangling needles.

Outer Trim

Afternoon Break

Using backwards loop cast on, cast on 36 stitches, and divide them onto two needles like what you do to the division of neckband/neck trim. Alternatively, you can cast on these stitches on two needles.

Join 18 stitches each onto the needles/threads of neck trim preparation row and leave the other 18 stitches on a working needle.

With these working stitches, work row 1 of Chart B (right side) (please see charts below).

Work row 2 of Chart B and join the last stitch with the first stitch of the neck trim at point A (wrong side), and work Row 1 of Chart B (right side).

On Row 2 and every even number row, join the trim with the center section by knitting together the last stitch of the trim and the slip stitch edge.

Two border rows join to one stitch of center panel in this way (single join).

Work two repeats of Chart B.


Afternoon Break

Combining double joins (DJ thereafter: work a regular knitted-on border as the previous rows, but on the next WS row, work a second join in the same way and into the same stitch—4 border rows joined to one stitch of center panel), and triple joins (TJ thereafter: work a double join, and on the next WS row, work a third join in the same way and into the same stitch—6 border rows joined to one stitch of center panel) around the corner, adjusting to your own liking.

I worked two triple joints to connect with the last two stitches on the side, then I removed the waste yarn to reveal the live stitches at the cast-on edge, and do another triple join to join the first live stitch.

One full repeat of the trim pattern.

For the next trim repeat, do the following: double join, triple join, double join, single join and single join.

Then work another triple join, one double join, and continue working the regular (single) join until 7 live stitches left before reaching the edge of the second corner.

Work as followed: 4 DJ, TJ, DJ, TJ. Work 2 TJ with the other edge of the panel.

Work two full repeats, then move the 18 stitches onto the front needle/thread of the neck preparation stitches. [3]

Now, there are 184 stitches on the front needle/thread, and 148 needle on the back needle/thread on the top edge. The front one will be worked as the neck trim and the back one as the neck band.

Afternoon Break

Neck Trim

You’ll work the second trim, using the same trellis pattern, and join it with the front row on the top edge.

Cast on 18 stitches (use backwards loop cast on again) and work Row 1 of Chart B. On Row 2 and every even number row, knit together the last stitch of the trim and one stitch from the neck trim preparation row.


On the last join of the second pattern repeat, instead of joining one stitch from the neck trim with the working stitch, you join 2 stitches from the neck trim with the working stitch. Do this one more time.

You have just worked the edge stitches from the center panel with stitches immediately before/after them.

Continue to one stitch before the edge stitches when you reach the other end and decrease these two edge stitches in the same manner.

Bind-off when you reach the end of the row.

Neckband and ties:

Row 1: Moving the back row of the preparation row onto the smaller needle. With RS facing you, join yarn and cast on 60 stitches.
Row 2: K 96, mark the next stitch, K 76, mark the next stitch, K to the end and cast on 60 stitches.
Row 3 (RS): *K to two stitches before the marker, ssk, knit the stitch with the marker, k2tog; repeat from * to end. 4 stitches decreased.
Row 4: (Optional: cast on 2 stitches, bind off 2 stitches for a picot decoration). Knit to end.

Repeat Row 3 and 4 for two times more, or until desired width of the neck bank. Bind off, being careful to do it loosely with ties.

Block piece lightly, being careful not to overblock the center.

Afternoon Break


Afternoon Break Chart (Ripple Wave)

Afternoon Break Chart (Trellis Border)
Click on images to see larger size on Flickr or..
Download this chart as a PDF

Other Notes

[1] You’ll work the knit-on lace edge with these slip stitches later. Alternatively, you can keep all 4 edge stitches in garter stitches, and work the knit-on lace with the “knot” of the edge.

[2] If possible, remember always work in the same fashion, depending on how you knit. For example, always work the back leg of the stitch first and then front leg or vice versa.

[3] The way I worked the two corners is for guideline only and feel free to adjust DJs and TJs to your own liking. Do not worry about not being able to have full pattern repeat till the end, it would become easily adjustable as you knit along. In addition, blocking would help to yield your intended result.

About the Author

Lia W. Liang

Lia has a PhD in theatre studies and lives in London. Whenever possible, she looks to steal time for knitting. Quite often, she hopes she could blog more on her knitting and spend the whole day on Ravelry.


Photos by T.J. Wang and Lia W. Liang
Model: Lia W. Liang

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