When to Use Which Finish

Finishing your fringe is like icing a cake. You can create a highly decorative look or something clean and simple. Beyond aesthetics, how do you know which technique is best for your specific circumstance?

The purpose of finishing your fringe is to secure the weft and, if necessary, keep the yarn from fraying. Some folks aren’t bothered by a little bit of fluff, while others would rather maintain a clean look.

frayed fringe

To determine if your yarn will fray, take a small snippet and swish it about in warm water, rubbing the ends a bit. Let it dry and notice what happens to the ends. This is most likely how they will look with washing and wear in your woven piece.

There are four primary ways to finish your fringe—knotting, twisting, stitching, and hemming. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one.

Knotting

Knotting can be as simple as tying an overhand knot, or highly decorative by tying a series of knots. A single row of knots creates an open fringe and doesn’t keep the yarn from fraying. I’m a fan of decorative knotting as it gives me the open look of fringe, but mitigates fraying. You can see how the fringe below is worked on my YouTube channel.

lattice knots

Twisting

A classic weaverly finish is to work a twisted fringe. It preserves the look of fringe, but prevents the yarn from fraying. Braiding will also do the trick. In this example I worked two rows of offset knots and then worked a twisted fringe.

twisted and knotted fringe

Stitching

Hemstitching and embroidery stitch are popular, because they are worked on the loom and don’t require any further finished work off the loom. However, they doesn’t prevent the yarn from fraying. Shown here is what weavers call the embroidery stitch, which is very much like the daisy chain stitch. It isn’t as secure as the hemstitch, but works up much quicker. As long as you don’t trim the fringe too short, it holds up well.

embroidery stitch

Hemming

Encasing the fringe in a hem is the ultimate protection from fraying and gets rid of the fringe altogether, but it can also affect the drape of the cloth. Burying the fringe in the cloth and snipping the ends is another option. This is often used with weft-faced weaves.

hemming

In one of my previous Knitty columns, I did a round-up of finishing techniques with a bit of how-to thrown in. Here are three of my favorite books on finishing work. (No affiliate links used here.)

Interweave’s Compendium of Finishing Techniques by Naomi McEneely

Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition by Suzanne Baizerman and Karen Searle

Finishing Touches for the Handweaver by Virginia West

Heddles Up!

Liz

There are many ways to finish the fringe on your weaving project, which is right for your project?

2 comments on “When to Use Which Finish

  1. Hi Liz, in the photo above of the “knotting” method, what is the material that you used for that fabric? Is that a cotton? I love the look and would this be suitable for kitchen cloths? I’m new at weaving and love your you tube videos and blog! Jan

    • That is Universal Yarns Fibre Natura Good Earth Adorn. It is a cotton/linen blend and good for all kinds of kitchen items, placemats, and runner. It is one of my favs, but I don’t see the adorn on the Universal’s website. I hope it isn’t going away!

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