Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fringes--how to wash knitwear so the fringes don't get tangled

Say you have a scarf or other knitted item with a fringe (tassel-style or continuous-style), and the item needs to be washed.  How do you protect the fringe while washing?

Scarf with tassel-style fringe

Scarf with continuous-style fringe

Here are several tricks:

If the fringe-strands are long enough, protect them from tangling by tying them in one or more loose overhand knot(s).  After washing and drying, undo the knot(s).

If the fringe is too short to tie in a knot, snap a hair-tie around the fringe.  If the item is wide, make several hair-tie bundles, side by side, as shown below.

Before washing, snap fringe
into bundles with hair ties

(this works for continuous-style fringe, also)
No hair ties handy? Bundle the fringe using scrap yarn, instead.  If the fringe is super-long, tie the bundles together in a couple of places along their length.

After knotting or bundling, the yarn of the fringe might have a kink where it was tied, especially if it was tied tightly.  Lay the fringe on the ironing board and LIGHTLY steam the kinks out. In other words, hold the steaming iron ABOVE the fringes, steaming until they are damp and hot.  Pat flat. Do not actually iron the fringe. If working with acrylic, steam very sparingly or the texture of the yarn will change.

Here's another alternative:  instead of fussing around before washing, just wash and dry however you like.  At the end, re-wet the fringe and slap the strands against the side of the tub.  Smack the fringe hard enough and the wet strands--whether they make up a tassel-style or continuous-style fringe--will magically untangle.

In addition to any of the above alternatives, you might like to consider knotting off the end of each strand with a simple overhand (granny) knot.  This prevents the strands from un-plying during washing or drying (or wearing).  Knotting ends is a wonderful occupation during a dull lecture, boring meeting or any kind of bus ride.

One final option: you can make fringes nearly tangle-proof by tying them off into knotted patterns along their length, as shown below.  If your fringe is continuous, the first row of tying is used to knot up tassel-style bundles of fringe.  Once the fringe is tassel-ated, the knotted pattern is worked as per the illustration.

Fringe tied into knotted patterns
To further research knotting/tying patterns, type the term "macrame fringe" into your browser's search window. You'll get a wide variety of quite lovely fringe options, some an art form in themselves.

'til next time

You've been reading TECHknitting blog on "washing a scarf with fringes."


Anne Frances said...

When daughter was in first year of school (age 5) the pupils had to take a blanket/rug into school on which to lie down to sleep/rest after lunch. When it came home at the end of term the fringe at both ends had disappeared into hundreds of little knots. She had kept herself well occupied during rest time. I did unknot it before washing -perhaps i should have left the knots!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anne--what a great story. I love the image of hundreds of tiny knots, patiently put in, one by one, by a kid soothing herself to sleep. --TK

Anonymous said...

Before I found your article, I'd just destroyed the super fine fringe on my favorite scarf by carefully handwashing. It's tangled beyond rescue...then I googled how to wash fringe. Next time I'll bundle and tie the fringes with thin yarn. Thanks for your advice. Brilliant!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--thanks for the kind words! Listen, have you tried wetting the fringe and smacking--really smacking--the wet fringe against the side of the bathtub? A lot of times, the tangles get shaken out (smacked out?) by this trick. You might consider even putting a little dish washing detergent on the fringe, to lubricate the smack-down process (wash the detergent out afterwards, holding the now-untangled fringe in a bunch in your hand!) Best, TK

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tips. I have a beautiful Funktion tablecloth with tassles and will tie them with hair bands before washing. Brilliant idea!!!