Tools Day: Fringe Twister

A hemstitched edge deserves twisted fringe. You have to overlook the amount of time it takes to put this finishing touch on your handwoven articles (often as much, or more, time than it took to weave the cloth in the first place). You do it because you care about the end result. The hemstitching and fringe are the mat and frame for your work of art. Begin well and finish well.

Tools for twisting fringe.

Step 1: (First, with fabric not yet washed and dried, cut all fringe strands on both ends of article to an equal and even length.) A pair of two-pound walking weights holds the fabric in place for tying knots. This fringe twister tool has a long handle and four little alligator clips.

Steps for making twisted fringe.

Step 2: Tie an overhand knot a fingertip-length away from the end, securing four ends together. (Other projects may have more than four ends grouped together.) This extra step holds the secret to clean cut fringe ends (see step 7).

Fringe twister at work.

Step 3: Let each little alligator grab a knot in it’s teeth, four in a row. Crank the handle around until the twisted threads begin to kink back on themselves. Count the number of turns of the handle and repeat that same number of turns for each grouping.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step.

Step 4: Grab the strands from the first two alligators’ mouths, being careful not to let the strands unwind. Combine the two thread groups and tie an overhand knot a fingertip-width away from the first knots.

Making twisted fringe. Step-by-step pics.

Step 5: After the knot is tied, let the strands unwind in your hand, keeping them from tangling with neighboring threads. Snug the knot by holding the knot and pulling on the two smaller knots, one at a time.

Bamboo Shawl, ready to trim edges of fringe. Explanation about twisting fringe.

Step 6: Wet finish the fabric by a method suitable for the type of thread or yarn being used. Air dry completely, or other suitable method for drying. While still damp, separate and straighten each twisted fringe.

Secret for clean cut fringe ends.

Step 7: First set of knots are cut off, removing the frayed ends, and leaving clean cut ends.

Finished Bamboo Huck Lace Shawl. Karen Isenhower

Step 8: Wear your lovingly handmade creation to a very special occasion, such as to your daughter’s wedding.

This is a lesson for raising children and letting them go, too. You weave for years, give time-consuming attention to the finishing touches while they are in your hands, and then you let them go. Wedding in four days!

May you take the time to finish well.

Love,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Elisabeth Munkvold says:

    You do such beautiful work! I love the subtlety of the pattern and that the finishing touches are so clean and simple. Isn’t it interesting how what appears subtle and simple can sometimes be the most time consuming and challenging to make?

    And what a perfect way to prepare for your daughter’s wedding — to take the time to do something relaxing and peaceful in what is typically a very stressful period of a mother’s life.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Love,
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Elisabeth, you are right about handwork being relaxing and peaceful. It’s like sitting in an oasis that is hidden somewhere in the center of a bustling city. With your hands busy, you are not in a rush, and you have time to sit and reflect and enjoy the quiet. I think there are very few people that “get” that.

      Thank you for the blessing dear friend.

      Love,
      Karen

  • Donde venden ese aparato para torcer los hilos?, quizas algun conocido me lo puedan comprar y traer, gracias

    Where they sell this device to twist the wires ?, maybe one known me what to buy and bring Thanks

  • Ashlee says:

    I recently wove a blanket for my little girl and wondered how to get around ending up with those frayed ends so this is exactly what I was needing! Thank you so much for posting! When you use the item and then wash it again does it fray at that point? Thank you again!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashlee, I’m happy that you found this information useful! How special to weave a blanket for your little girl!

      I think you can expect the ends of the fringe to come out more fuzzy after washing, but they should stay pretty even, especially after it is dry. It will depend on what fibers you used and the washing method.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Coral Shawl for a Memorable Occasion

Have you ever experienced a chain of events, where the dominos start falling, and you just try to keep up? That is the story of this shawl. My daughter got engaged, so I bought a dress to wear at her wedding. The dress is sleeveless, so I wanted a shawl to wear over my shoulders. Not knowing where to find a matching shawl, I decided to weave one. To weave a shawl, I had to finish weaving these towels that were on the loom, plan the draft for a shawl, and order thread.

Thread and yarn record notebook.

New 10/2 bamboo thread samples added to my thread/yarn record book.

The excitement of dressing the loom, trying out weft color options, weaving the delicate huck lace pattern, twisting fringe, wet finishing the cloth, and waiting for the wet cloth to dry, is all intensified because of the meaning of the event where I will wear the shawl. The shawl, itself, is a minor player that will serve best if it is not even noticed. The attention will be on Melody and Eddie as they pledge their love and faithfulness to each other, embracing companionship for a lifetime. Three weeks to go!

Sleying the reed on Glimakra Ideal.

Reed is sleyed with two ends per dent in a 12 dent reed, which means the sett is 24 ends per inch.

Every thread is ready. Let the weaving begin!

Every thread stands at attention, each in their proper place. Let the weaving begin!

Weft color auditions on coral bamboo warp. Karen Isenhower

Trying out the weft colors in the late afternoon on the dark coral warp. First, coral weft; and then, hot pink weft.

Coral pink bamboo shawl in huck lace.

Pink coral shawl was woven first. The hot pink huck lace weft floats are on the back side of the cloth, visible as the cloth angles toward the knee beam.

Hemstitching on the loom. Huck lace bamboo shawl.

Hemstitching at the beginning of the coral shawl. Notice the subtle border treatment that starts with plain weave and three closer rows of huck lace before the body of the shawl.

Twisting fringe.

Twisting groups of warp ends together to create twisted fringe that embellishes the ends of the shawl.

Wet finishing begins for coral huck lace shawl.

There is nothing that makes me more nervous than wet finishing. A mistake at this point can ruin the handwoven masterpiece. For this reason, I first wet finished the sample piece, and then the pink coral shawl. Now, I am confident about throwing the coral shawl into the washing machine with a half-capful of no rinse delicate wash concentrate.

Bamboo shawl, laying flat to dry.

After gently rolling the wet cloth in towels to remove excess water, I lay it out smoothly on my longest countertop, and leave it to dry overnight.

Trimming the fringe after washing. Frayed ends removed.

After the cloth is fully dry, knots at the ends of the twisted fringe are trimmed off, removing frayed ends and leaving clean-cut ends.

Finished handwoven coral bamboo huck lace shawl. Karen Isenhower

Ready for a special occasion!

May those you love know how much you love them.

With Anticipation,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Diane says:

    Lovely and a perfect match with your dress!

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Gorgeous Shawls – and love the one you’re wearing with your beautiful dress. I was really impressed with your yarn swatch book. I just have a bunch of 3 x 5 cards held together with a ring, but yours makes so much more sense. I think I’ll make one for myself over the summer! I know that the wedding is going to be a beautiful affair. Enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Laurie, I love snipping off a meter of any new yarn and putting it in the yarn record book. There’s nothing wrong with 3 x 5 cards – you have a good start! I’ll do a Tools Day post sometime about the yarn record book.
      Thanks for your blessing and kind words! It’s a good reminder to enjoy the day!!

  • maliz says:

    That´s really a wonderful shawl !
    Next time I´´ll weave one, I should think about hemstitching.
    I really understand your nervousness before wet finishing, as I once ruined a big double woven blanket because I didnt try it out with a sample.
    I had used two different sorts of yarn which felted differently. When it came out of the washing machine the blanket was damaged and completely useless., I could have cried…
    Wish you a nice weekend
    maliz

    • Karen says:

      Maliz,
      Oh no! That’s too bad about your double weave blanket. I think everybody has ruined something in the washing machine at least once. I’ve done it!

      Hemstitching is easy to do on the loom. It’s a great edging for anything that has fringe.

      Wish you a nice weekend, too.
      Karen

  • […] was an evening breeze that made the air surprisingly cool. I was thankful for the warmth of my handwoven huck lace bamboo shawl.) Everything beckoned guests to come closer. And if you were close enough, you could smell the […]

  • Ilze says:

    Hi , this is a really nice shawl, is there any chance to get a pattern draft?Looking forward to hear from you. Many thanks. Ilze

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ilze, This shawl is woven in huckaback, or huck weave. The draft is from the book “Happy Weaving,” from Vävmagasinet, p.79. Instead of Mora wool, I used 10/2 bamboo for warp and weft, with a sett of 24 ends per inch.

      Thank you,
      Karen

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The Pleasant Surprise of Dots

Honestly, I didn’t know it would come out dotted. If I wanted dotted cloth, I could use surface design, like paint, embroidery, or beading. Instead, I got the pleasant surprise of dots that are woven into the fabric itself!

Wet-finishing differences in huck lace.

Huck lace weft floats, as seen in unwashed cloth (on the left), hand-washed cloth, (center), and machine-washed cloth (on the right).

These shawls have a dark coral warp. The unwashed piece on the left is the one I intend to wear to my daughter’s wedding. You can see the light coral weft in the little weft floats of the huck lace. The other two pieces have a hot pink weft, which gives the cloth a (difficult to photograph) pink-ish coral color. The one in the center was hand washed. Notice that the pink weft floats are barely distinguishable from the rest of the fabric. The piece on the right was washed on the gentle cycle in the washing machine (omitting the spin cycle). Look at the pink dots! They were there all along, but they became subtle, but noticeable, punctuation marks in the cloth through agitation in the washing machine.

Like the dots that are woven into this fabric, truth is woven into our universe. Truth is. And truth is discoverable. It is there all along, but we don’t always understand it or see it. Sometimes, it is when we go through life’s agitations that truth rises to the surface as a pleasant surprise.

May truth be your favorite surprise.

Discovering with you,
Karen

3 Comments

  • Carol B says:

    This is beautiful. I tried a huck lace pattern for placemats, but the lace part looked much larger. Can you share the pattern?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, I did some huck lace hand towels that were a larger pattern, too. I was looking for something more subtle for this shawl, so I was glad to find this draft. I am away from home at the moment, but I will post it for you later today. It’s from the book “Happy Weaving” from Vavmagasinet.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

    • Karen says:

      Here is my project sheet for this huck lace shawl. The draft is at the bottom of the page. I adapted it from the “Huck Scarf” draft in “Happy Weaving from Vävmagasinet,” p. 79.

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Secure with Hemstitching

Easter brings fun things to mind. Spring colors, decorated eggs, pretty dresses. Speaking of pretty dresses, in just one month I will wear my mother-of-the-bride dress, with this handwoven shawl on my shoulders. I am finishing the edge of the shawl with hemstitching on the loom. The hemstitching is decorative, but also has a practical purpose–it secures the warp ends and keeps the cloth from unraveling. If all goes as planned, twisted fringe will hang from the hem-stitched edge.

Hemstitching at the loom. Bamboo shawl.

Using a tapestry needle, every four warp ends are cinched together and connected with the two weft threads nearest the fell line.

Forgiveness, the truest demonstration of love, is the ultimate security. Do you see how forgiveness serves as a finishing edge that gives beauty and definition to real life? When you know you are forgiven, you are secure in knowing you are loved. To be forgiven–that’s the gift, the meaning, the wonder of Easter. This is love. God so loved the world that he offered forgiveness.

May your edges be beautifully finished.

Good Easter to you,
Karen

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Less Thread Than You Expect

Four cones should be plenty to wind a warp for two huck lace shawls. I knew it would be close, but not THIS close! With several rounds to go on the warping reel, one cone emptied out, and then another, and then another. I finished with just a tiny bit of thread left on one cone. That’s about how I feel about motherhood right now.

Only a tiny bit of bamboo thread left after winding warp!

Four spools of thread unwind in this crate as I wind the warp, four warp ends at a time. When I need to keep stubborn threads separated, I turn the crate on its side and each thread goes through its own opening. This 10/2 bamboo thread behaved beautifully and did not need that kind of intervention.

When I held our baby girl for the first time so many years ago, wedding bells were in the far distant future. Plenty of time for this baby to be a little girl, and eventually grow up. Of course, Melody will always belong in our family; and now we’ll have another son who belongs, too. But when she walks down the aisle in May, this stage of parenthood is finished. Yes, we have had enough time, but it still seems too short. Shouldn’t there be more thread on the cone?

Calculations a little to close for comfort. Barely enough for the warp!

After the third cone was completely empty, I started running contingency plans in my head. Would I need to re-work the draft for fewer ends? I knew these were the last four cones of this color on the shelf when I ordered them, so grabbing one more cone would not be an option.

The greatest sense of belonging comes from being a daughter or son of the most loving Father. He promises to walk with us through every stage. And with his heavenly perspective, he always seems to know exactly how much thread we will need.

May you make the best of your relationships with the time you have.

Reminiscing,
Karen

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