Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Good Twist to the Yarn

 I had an image posted some time back and in the back ground was my fringe twister. One commenter asked me to show it more clearly and perhaps discuss how I use it. Sorry I don't recall your name, but at long last here is your post.
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.

The twister used in this post is a Forsyth cord twister and Forsyth are no longer in business. I now use and recommend a quad fringe twister made by Leclerc.
Susan ~ Oct 2019

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'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.


Anonymous said...

Your snowy wonderful is so peaceful looking. We're getting the snow tomorrow.
And thank you for posting you fringe twister. I have a much more basic 2-clip twister and have spent the past FOUR hours twisting fringe. Yours looks much more ergonomic and easier on the hands.

Life Looms Large said...

I like how methodical you are about twisting fringes! I've only done it once, on two scarves, by hand. Recently, a knitter complemented me on those twisted fringes!

I've got a couple of scarves coming up next, so I'll make a note of this post so I can come back and be reminded how to twist consistently!!

It's snowing here right now. That light, dusty looking snow similar to your pictures. But it's supposed to add up to something like 10 inches today.

Must. go. hide. in. studio!

skiingweaver said...

Oh, man, I love your deck! And, great post - simple but effective is right, I seem to fiddle with the knots to get them the same length an awful lot, this is a fantastic system!

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

I love the scarves;) ...of course;)

Boy this snow sure is something isn't it? We're getting some more right now.......I'm ready for Spring:)

Louisa said...

Great tutorial! That's pretty much the way I twist fringes too except that I don't use so many pins. I weight my scarf or whatever with heavy books instead! Pins are better but more time consuming. You forgot to mention that your twister is made by Andrew Forsyth and it's much nicer than my 2-clip one from "The Fringe Twister" (Russ & Melody Lang) no longer in business and now made by Leclerc.

Lynnette said...

I remember asking you to explain your method to me years ago and I have been using it ever since. The first time I tried it and it worked out so easily was a true epiphany! I had been spending so much more time on getting the knots aligned than I do now thanks to your instruction. Thanks so much for sharing...

Peg in South Carolina said...

Oh my, thank you! The pictures are wonderful. I usually braid my fringes but even there the darning needle idea will help with the knot. Will definitely use your technique for twisting. I use a thick cardboard cutting board for sewers that is marked in a grid.

Susan said...

Why thank you for all the positive comments!

Dave: please refer to Damselfly's comment for information on how to find a fringe twister like the one shown. You weave a lot of scarves and would benefit from owning one.

Louisa: I was trying to be 'non-partisan' about which type of fringe twister to use. But the Forsyth one is lovely to use. Smooth and easy to hold in the hands. Well made too.
I had a Lang twister when it was still being made by Russ and Melody Lang, was made from purple heart, but now resides in Lynnette's studio where the dustbunnies roam. (Hi Lynnette!!) Leclerc now manufacturers the Lang fringe twister. [Melody Lang lives to the north of me, about 40 mins away. She's also a member of my local guild. She has a super sense of humour]

Why do I use so many pins? I don't want any shifting of the edges *at all*. Books and heavy objects would work for some but I prefer my pins. Please remember I weave with fine threads and in some cases, rather expensive fibres. The end product is priced accordingly and so I want as polished look as I can achieve.

The snow that fell here is melting in the sunshine out there today. That deck looks lovely in that 'warmer' photo, but believe it or not, that deck is 18-19 years old and is being replaced this spring/ summer. We have new windows for the house arriving in 2 weeks so it's going to be a busy year. Yes, even more painting to come.

By the way... if you get the right sized foam board, you can sit with it across your knees and watch TV. I do it on 'auto pilot' :)

kitkatknit said...

That is a pretty fringe twister!!!! I have the LeClerc 3 prong version. Kinda ugly but it works.

Hello from another Susan to the south in West Richland WA.

Susan (kitkatknit)

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

Thanks for the tip on the pins; our county fair judge said something about "pinning out the knots", but for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. Now I can have even fringes on my next scarf.

I do like your twister -- mine is similar to the Leclerc one, with a longer handle off the side for better grip. I usually find I get a balanced twist if I wind the two parts together half the number of times that I twist them originally -- I'll have to experiment with your equal winding and see how that goes :) .

Anonymous said...

Thank you to you and Loiusa. I thought their label looked familiar. I have a Forsyth felting tool that is wonderful. Heading over now to check things out.

Gwen said...

Wow - your tool and technique for fringe twisting is amazing! Talk about attention to detail - they are beautiful and just perfect! Of course, you're right - your scarves are worth it... :)

Caroline M said...

Thank you for this, I'm a newbie and I've only ever done knots so far. I didn't know where to start with fringes but now I do.

Susan said...

You are quite welcome Caroline M.
Please drop by again!


Margreet said...

Thanks for pointing out this post to me. I had not thought about using the twister for the 2nd part of the twisting! It will probably take some practise (as they like to escape and unwind), specially using 3 strands. Your pinning system is a good one, I do find that using a heavy object my threads are under a good tension but the object has to be moved up as you go along. Pinning it and a measure line, again a good idea to get the same length fringes. Thanks for showing!

Life Looms Large said...

Susan -

Thanks again for this post! I'm twisting fringe at the moment...and I've recently referred both a weaver and a knitter to this post. It's a good one!!

I used to twist fringe in a really unpredictable way. I like how counting and then twisting the fringes together in the opposite direction works.

Thanks again!


Susan said...

Hi Sue,
I'm happy that you and your friends are findng it useful!

Feels good to share and spread the wealth...

:) Susan

Charlotte said...

I was trying to do this manually a couple of days ago and gave up because everything kept unravelling. Your post is very useful and your little gadget looks very handy!


Unknown said...

Great info. I like the grid for lining up the fringe for knots.

Have a good day!

Jenny Bellairs said...

Very clear tutorial, Susan. Where did you get your fringe twister? This is the first time I have seen that style. I like it.

Susan said...

Thank you for your comment. The fringe twister is a Forsyth. If you look at my right hand side bar and scroll down, you'll find weaving resources and there is a link. Last time I went there they had announced a sabbatical but perhaps they have resumed production?
All the best, Susan

earlysnowdrop said...

Thanks for this well explained tutorial on creating fringe. It's the small details in a project that make it art instead of craft.