Hey, that scarf looks smashing on you. Oh, what's that you say? You want an honest opinion? OK, your scarf could use a little...something extra. What it really needs is fringe. Those breezy, dangling twists on the edge will give your scarf that dash of "Oh, hi, I'm about to walk down a runway."
Sold? Let's do it! In this tutorial, we'll be adding a simple twisted fringe to a hand-woven scarf. If you don't have a handwoven scarf ready to go, you can make one here .
Once you get the fringe basics down, you can play with tons of variations and embellishments on the main technique.
Twisted Fringe Scarf
What You Need
- Handwoven scarf (see Scarf Finishing Notes below)
- Cutting mat
- Metal edge
- Rotary cutter (to get crisp, clean ends, no matter kind of fringe you make)
- Wide-toothed comb (to help straighten out the ends of the warp)
- Small, sharp scissors (for snipping out any waste yarn)
- Fringe-twisting gadget (like the simple mechanical one made by Leclerc, or an electric hair braider)
- Heavy book (to hold your scarf down while you work on it)
Scarf Finishing Notes
You'll want to leave about 7 inches of unwoven warp at either end of your scarf. This will let you make a fringe that's up to four inches long, without worrying that you won't have enough yarn to hold onto. You should build that into your warp planning, especially if you want to weave several scarves from a single warp.
Hem-stitch is also an option for the ends of your scarves, but know it's not essential for a successful fringe. If you do hem-stitch, plan ahead for your fringe and decide how thick you want each bundle to be. For a fringe with eight ends in each bundle, hem-stitching in groups of four will help you to easily identify two groups for each bundle.
If you don’t use hem-stitching, weave a few rows with scrap yarn before and after your actual scarf. That will keep it from unraveling before you secure it with fringe.
Some weavers like to twist fringes before wet finishing; others prefer to do the wet finishing first. The timing can also depend on the fiber you're using and the results you want. You may want to experiment with twisting your fringes before and after, to get a feel for the different effects you can get.
1. Prep Your Scarf
Put your scarf on the cutting mat so that the woven edge is aligned with any of the marked horizontal lines, leaving enough room for the length of fringe you want to make. Place the book on top of the scarf, an inch or so back from the edge.
If you've used scrap yarn, now is the time to cut it out. Gently separate the warp ends in the middle of the fringe area, with the help of the comb if needed. Now use the scissors to snip each weft in half. You can then ease the weft out at the selvedges.
If you want to work your fringes from right to left, remove all the scrap yarn from the right half of the warp first.
2. Clip and Twist
Working from the edge towards the center, carefully pick out two groups of ends, each half the size of the finished bundle.
If you have a fringe twister, clip each group an inch or so from the cut end, and then twist until the groups start to kink (see the image above, on the right). It doesn’t matter if you decide to twist clockwise or counter-clockwise, as long as you're consistent. Count how many twists you insert the first time, so you can repeat the number for each bundle.
You can do exactly the same job with your fingers if you don’t have a twister. Apply the twist to one group first, then clamp it between two fingers while you twist the second group.
3. Unclip and Roll
When you've got the required amount of twist in both groups, unclip them and put the two side by side. Then, using your fingers, gently roll them together in the opposite direction to the original twist. They'll easily ply themselves together.
Choose one of the guidelines on the cutting mat to line up your knots. Make a simple overhand knot in the plied bundle, loosely at first. Once you've positioned the knot, you can tighten it up.
Don’t worry too much about keeping all the knots perfectly aligned. A little bit of variation around the line is normal, and it won't even be noticeable when you're wearing the scarf.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 all the way across the scarf. Once you've completed half of it, you can remove the scrap yarn from the other half and continue.
4. Wet Finish
If you haven’t wet finished your scarf yet, now's the time. You'll get a neater edge if you trim the ends after washing and pressing.
Put your metal ruler on the waste yarn below the knots in your fringe. It helps to leave a gap of ¼-inch to ½-inch. Use the rotary cutter to trim the fringe.
It's usually best to cut on the side away from the finished object, but the knots make it tricky to keep the ruler steady. So live dangerously, and cut carefully!
The cut ends will soon untwist as far as the knots. If you start noticing any odd threads that are a little too long, just use scissors to snip them into shape.
And voila! Your fabulous fringe is done. Now, wasn't that worth the extra trouble? (Hint: Yeah!)