Friday, June 6, 2008

How to make tassels

Tassels are very similar to pom-poms. They are a good trick to know because they use substantially less yarn than most pom-poms, and go quicker, too. Shown here are basic tassels, but you can really jazz these up quite a bit--you can put a bead or a bit of stuffing in the top part, you can wrap two or more "top parts," the variety is endless, and tassel-making is actually a fine and ancient fabric art in its own right. However, basic tassels look swell too, and make a very fine hat topper in just a few moments.

step 1 (above) get 2 pieces of straight cardboard and sandwich a yarn between (red in the illustration). The height of the cardboard corresponds to the overall height of the tassel. Although the illustration shows two pieces of cardboard, one double-height piece, folded over, works nearly as well.

step 2 (above) Wrap yarn (can be scraps) around and around the cardboard. The more yarn you wrap, the bushier the tassel will be. Yet, sparse tassels have their own charm so even if you have very little yarn left, a tassel is a good way to use it up.

step 3 (above) This is where it would be good to have an extra set of hands. You must pull the tie-yarn up from the middle of the cardboard, and cut the bottom of the tassels free. Lacking extra hands, pressing the works against the tabletop while cutting helps prevent the cut yarns from springing about and showering the room with stray ends. If you are using the lazy-knitter trick of folded cardboard, you pull the tie yarn to the open edge and cut the tassel open along the folded edge.

step 4 (above) Take a length of yarn (pink in the illustration) and wrap it around the nascent tassel FIRMLY. The illustration shows two wraps, but 5 or 10 wraps is more common (although harder to illustrate!) Most common is to use a yarn of the same color. A contrasting color yarn (as shown) is more for illustration.  If you like, you can do step 5 before step 4, which gives you more control over all the loose ends.

step 5 (above) Tie the center cord tightly, and use the tails from the center cord to attach the tassel. Some folks like the tassel to swing on the end of its own little cord, in which case you sandwich in a L-O-N-G center cord in step 1. After tying the center cord to make the tassel, you can chain-crochet or repeatedly knot together the two ends of center cord to the desired length before attaching the tassel to the hat (scarf, afghan, lap robe, sweater tie, etc). If you find that the tassel-ends are unraveling, you can knot the ends, as shown in the last illustration of this post.

One last thing: It is also possible to make tassels from I-cord, which follow the same basic principle, but result in a different look. Click here for more details.

--TECHknitter (You have been reading TECHknitting on: "How to make a tassel")