This is the fringe twister I use. I bought it in 2000 at a guild spin in Kelowna, BC. and paid about $30 for it. It's made of oak and is relatively simple in design. It is a Forsyth cord twister and you can find them here: http://www.woolcombs.com/w/Cord_Twister.html
I seem to use only two of three clips but have used the three and found it produces a nice firmly round plied fringe. I have put many miles on this puppy! But the only thing I have had trouble with is the black 'o' ring that enables it to turn. It dried out and cracked. But I found another perfect fit at a automotive hardware store and I was back in business.
Speaking of business...here's the business end. Notice the grippy plastic tips. They really hang onto the yarn and in this case slippery tencel.
So down to work. I have four scarves all in need of twisted fringes so I'll be busy with this for a time. Later some beading may be added and I'll post that separately. I don't do 'free-hand' twisting but have a system that I devised to get even knots and better looking fringes. My logic is "why go to all that work and not finish it right?" I believe the finishing makes or breaks the handwoven item.
First I get a part sheet of insulating Styrofoam. My husband was working on a project in 1999 or 2000 and I scavenged a piece of the board. I've been using this board ever since so I don't feel guilty about it. The high density means you can use it for years before needing a new one. My board is about 3' x 2 .5' and I then took a yard stick and permanent marker and made one inch increments up and down all sides (and even the back in time.) I then pin out my project, in this case both ends of two scarves.
I use extra long stainless steel 'lace' pins. I just like the extra length to work with. I pin out quite heavily! This project is 24 epi, with the fringe hemstitched into groups of 4 ends each. I am twisting two groups of four against each other. Each twisted fringe contains a total of 8 ends.
I then twist them in a clockwise direction for a given count, in this case 35 revolutions. Yup, you must count in order for all to be even. Then I place the two twisted groups together onto one clip and then twist counter-clockwise for the same number, 35.
Then I use a long trapunto needle used for making dolls. It's like a very long bodkin needle. Again, I like the extra length but a darning needle will do. I make an over hand knot near the end of the twisted group and slip the needle into the middle before you close it! Then place the tip of the needle onto the given measurement line you are using for the length of your fringe.
Once you are happy with its position, let go and gently snub the knot tight. Presto, all the same length.
Once the scarf has been wet finished, and pressed. I then use a cutting mat and rotary cutter to trim up the end of the tassel for that sharp look. Depending on the scarf length, and the twisted bout's thickness, I will leave approximately 1/2" or a little less of tassel.
I took my scarf board and projects over to a fibre group meeting the other day and everyone there said "it's so simple but so effective". By using firmly pinned out project and applying a bit of tension on the yarns when twisting, all is under control. Think when you are beaming a warp... threads under tension are threads under control.
Please try this out and if you like it, share with your friends.