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Fringe Twister

I’m not a fan of fringe, but I like to learn how to do new things, and I had a project in mind that really needed a longish twisted fringe. I also suspected that I might want to make drawstrings or cords in the future, so I ordered a fringe twister made by Fiber Artist Supply Company.

Image from Fiber Arts Supply Co.

This turned out to be an excellent choice.

Previously, I’d tried a couple of smaller, hand-held fringe twisters and found them really difficult to use. The Fiber Artist Supply  model clamps to a table and is vastly simpler to use. That said, there are some tricks to making fringe that I found helpful.

One is to weigh your fabric down while working. Place your weight — whatever it is (we always have cookbooks lying around!) right at the edge of your fringe. Each of my tie-offs was six threads, so I divided each one into segments of three. I then attached the cut ends to the clips on the twister. Second tip: ensure that your threads are pulled with equal tension.

Third tip: move your fabric so that the bundle you’re twisting is directly across from the twister. This may not be strictly necessary, but success is about engineering, and you’ll get the best results if the tension and flex are even. That can’t happen if your threads are pulling to one side.

Fourth tip: Count your rotations! This allows you to re-create the same level of twisting for each fringe. In this case, I rotated the twister 20 times while the strands of three were separated. Then I joined the strands, putting all six into one clamp, and twisted another 10 times.

Joining the two strands into one clip is tricky, since it’s important to make sure neither untwists, but it’s another one of those things that is easily done with practice.

Until I understood what I was doing, I did just one fringe segment at a time, but once I did, it was simple to use all four clamps to do two fringe sections at once, which expedites the process quite a bit.

When you unclamp the fringe, it will twist like mad. Tease it gently in the direction of the twist, then knot the end. Once you’ve finished with all sections, you can then even up the lengths, if you want, or leave them varied, depending on the effect you’re aiming for. You can easily re-do the knots to make uniform lengths — just be careful not to undo the twists.

Final tip: Practice fringing on a sample before trying out the process on your would-be garment. Though it’s much easier than it looks, it’s helpful to know what you’re about before the stakes are high. And on that note, I’d point out that most mistakes are fixable — if you wind too tightly, it’s possible to undo the fringe and wind again. Or to make all your fringe just like your “mistake”.  An awful lot of “mistakes” can turn into features — one way is simply to make the mistake uniform, just as if you’d intended it!

I’d highly recommend the Fiber Arts Fringe Twister over others I’ve tried. It’s well-finished and well made, with beautifully secured clips, and the table clamp makes it solid and easy to use. It’s also extremely affordable, which isn’t necessarily common in the weaving world.  (I accept no compensation for any recommendation; please see my Disclaimer page.)

Fiber Artist Supply is an interesting company; check out their About page. Located in Cincinnati, they appear to manufacture their own products on site, at least as of now. This is good news for people who worry about what “made in China” really means.

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