Weaver’s Journal – The Fringe of Weaving

I’m working on the fringe for the Belii Shawl and wanted to do a laticework effect with the beads.  Since the image I’m using is from a book to which I don’t have the rights, (I almost typed, “writes,”) I drew it for you here by hand:

The top picture is straight fringe; the bottom one is the lattice effect that I wanted to try to achieve.  I used a fringe winder to ply the fringe together.  What that means is, you take the yarns that are the fringe and figure out direction they are spun.  All yarn has a natural direction of spin.  One direction spins it further, creating more energy in the twist; the other direction essentially unspins the yarn (and with looser yarns can cause them to fuzz up).

When you ply fringe, you take two or more of the fringe yarns and twist them further in the direction of their natural twist, and then tie a knot.  When you release the yarns, after they’re knotted, they roll together creating a pretty, and more stable, fringe that will not knot up when you wash it, for example.

What my hope was, was that by taking yarns adjacent to each other and plying them together, I could create a lattice effect like I’ve drawn, above.  What happened was that in plying the second row of fringe, it increased the twist of the fringes above it and when I released the yarns after the second knot, they twisted together, creating a mess and not a pretty, flat lattice.  I’ll show you what I mean, and what I did instead.

This is the second side of fringe; the yarn ends are longer on this side (meaning, the fringe is longer).  The fringe on the right has the first row of plying and beading done; as you can see, the beads are held in the middle of the twist by the energy of the plying.  (They’re not so tightly in there that they cannot move; I suspect when I wash it, for example, I’ll have to push them back into place.)

The tackle box is there to provide weight on the main body of the weaving.  By doing so, the fringe has something to pull against when you ply it.

This is the first row of fringe all done.  The fringe will be trimmed at the end, but I’ll wait until I have the beads in place, (three rows in total).  The finished length will be between six and eight inches.

In this view, you can see both sides of fringe as well as the main body of the shawl.  The loose threads on the body of the shawl will be snipped after its first wash.  I don’t want to wash it until the fringe is done, otherwise the threads will knot with each other and make a mess.

These are the tools I’m using.  Clockwise from top left:  fringe winder tool, gold beads, scissors, COFFEE mug (if you don’t think this is an essential tool at Knoontime Knitting, you haven’t been paying attention), fringe comb, extra yarn, and purple beads.

This is the first attempt at the latticed fringe.  As you can see, the second row of beading just causes the whole thing to twist up on itself.

We tried again, this time with my instructor holding the yarns under tension.  It didn’t help; as soon as we released the tension, they twisted together.  I need a sound-effect, like FOOP!  Foop, they twisted together.

I put the tackle box on the first row of beading and made the second row of plies on the same ply as the first.  On the first row, I plied it 13 times; the second row didn’t need that many because of residual twist; so I used seven twists instead.

Detail of both rows.

Final view showing the whole side.  I’m really curious to see what it looks like when it’s done and washed.  The fabric right now is thick and dense; it’s mercerized (perle) cotton and it softens up after washing; I’m curious what the hand of the shawl will be like once it’s all done.

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