tencel scarf fringe questions due to a mistake,

I need some ideas. I'm working with 8/2 Tencel making three spotted scarves from Handwoven. I allowed for a 5 inch fringe on both ends of scarf one and for the start of scarf two, BUT between scarf 2 and 3, I realize that I did not allow length for double fringe and I am already near the end of the scarf three- the last on the warp.

So I need to decide whether to just hem the third scarf--but I did not do much plain weave to start, however I did hemstitch.

Or should I just shorten the fringe on both scarf 2 and 3 to about only a 2 and a half inch fringe? But would Tencel be ok as plain loose fringe untwisted? Will it hold up?  I doubt such a short fringe would look ok twisted.


Posted on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 18:23

I'd say go with your regular fringe for 1 and 2 and leave your fringe for #3 short (1") and untwisted, especially if you've hemstitched.  For some fibers, that won't work, but my experience with tencel is that you're fine.  If you check out my website (www.vermontweaver.com) there's a photo on the left side of a tencel scarf with the kind of fringe we're talking about.  I've sold hundreds of them, never got a complaint from a customer, and I love the way it looks.

Posted on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 18:49

Dena, thanks, that is what I wanted to know. I really do prefer shorter fringes and unbraided ones. This is my first time working with tencel so I wasn't sure. I may even go with short fringe on two scarves.

It looks like you do twist your fringe on chenille scarves though.

Posted on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 19:20

Yes, I do twist with chenille, and it's got to be really tight (but a hemstitch along with the twist feels redundant to me).  Chenille will worm and fray and over time start looking like dreadlocks.  Plenty of weavers leave their chenille fringes short, no twist, but over time, the pile comes off and it just looks like hanging thread.  BTW, in my experience, if someone doesn't do a twist on their chenille, a hemstitch is inadequate for keeping the threads from worming into the fabric.  You need a knot or a line of machine stitching for that.

Posted on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 03:15

I just wanted to let you know that I have one handwoven tencel scarf where I chose not to braid or twist the fringe. It is starting to unravel and the ends are fraying. It does not look good and I am scared to wash it. If I were you, I would hem the ends.

Posted on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 03:22

Short fringe is fine, and that might make it more appealing to guys. But without twisting, tencel will fray and start to look ratty with a lot of wear.

An alternative is to stitch the ends securely (make a hem), then add the longer fringe over the hem. I wonder if the Compendium of Finishes for Handwovens might have an illustration of what I mean? Perhaps some one has a sample they can post...

Posted on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 05:09

Sally, I've been wondering about that-- Since I can have fringe from the end of the warp for that end of the scarf and then just hem the other end.

But how would I then make fringe to machine sew onto the hemmed end? Wouldn't that look funny with the thick hem above the fringe? Maybe someone does have an idea.

But really, on the other hand, how often does a scarf get washed in real life? Scarves don't really get dirty or need washing in typical wear, especially dressy scarves.


Posted on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 21:23

Been thinking about the idea of adding the fringe later and I can't figure out how that would solve the problem.  If there's a problem, the fringe would still fray, wouldn't it?  I like the idea of thinking about it as warp protectors and weft protectors.  Design2weave...it sounds like you're having a problem with both the warp and the weft.  Is that correct?  What did you do to secure the scarf?

Posted on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 22:14

I would hem both ends, to make them the same. Then I would add the fringe length you wanted, twist and finish. (I understood one end of the scarf had the right length of fringe, the other did not.)

Yes, hemming would make a slight bump on each end, depending on how small you made your hem (and Tencel is slippery, so you would have to use a lot of pins to hold it in place before stitching!) But it would give your scarf added visual length and that shiny movement that tencel fringe delivers. Just leaving it hemmed is fine, too.

I wish I had an example on hand of added fringe to photograph for you! Here are three fringe finishes on tencel scarves. The top is hemmed, the second from top has been trimmed short, but not twisted, and you can see the ends are starting to fray just from regular wear, and the bottom is from a Handwoven article on Dimity in 2008. 

Posted on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 17:29

You take a few threads twice as long as your desired fringe, and using a tapestry needle, add each bout at increments while encasing the hem. It's like making a loop and catching the tail in the loop. Then you twist the fringe and it locks them in place along with hiding the hem.

The stitch might be shown in the Compendium of Finishes. I'll check some books and see if I can reference the technique for you later tonight or tomorrow. (You can use your loom waste/thrums for this if needed.)

Let us know how you make out!

Posted on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 03:57

I meant that the fringe ends are unraveling, not the weaving. The woven part is fine. I just know that tencel yarn does unravel and fray. I am lucky that I left my fringe long enough that I can twist it and will be doing that before it is worn and hand washed.

Posted on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 14:45


I *totally* understood your meaning on this! At first, the ends of the fringe start out ok when taken off loom. Then with wear, they start to untwist and look thin and "fuzzy" at the ends. That travels up the fringe, and then they start to wisp away (or mat together if they happen to get wet.) Yes, you are lucky you have enough material there to go back and twist them.

The saving grace is, if this fraying happens and you don't have surplus fringe, you can always hem the edges and then add new fringe to replace the matty stuff. (Just wish I could find an illustration of the technique someplace!)

Bottom line — all is not lost if a weaver forgets to allow for the correct amount of fringe when weaving, or if the fringe isn't working out as you hoped after the project is finished! 

Posted on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 16:43

Thank you everyone for all your discussion of this. Sally, thank you for your suggestions. I really liked seeing the photos of the three tencel scarves. I found some info on adding fringes on the arizona edu site, http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/articles/tw_7_2-01.pdf  but I don't think the method you talked about was on there.

Another option that I've thought about is cutting off my hemstitching and unraveling the first 5 inches of weaving.

For now I'm going to finish the final end, hemstitch, and leave the warp ends on for possible fringe. After I twist the fringe on the first scarf, I'll decide how and where to separate scarf 2 and 3. I still see a short untwisted-- eventually fluffy-- fringe as an option for some scarves that are more organic in design.

This brings up another question, for wet finishing, can I wash all three scarves still connected, or is it better to do each separately? I think I remember for my chenille scarves I had less twisting doing them separately.


Posted on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 17:28

Your idea of cutting through the hemstitching and unraveling a few inches would work.

And I really like your idea of finishing the first one while you contemplate your options. (That is actually the first thing I would do too, after posting for advice! ;-)

I know some people treat their Tencel handwovens gently, just handwashing and swishing in warm water. I feel that if they are gifts or to be sold, I need to treat them the way a customer might. So I throw them in the washing machine, then the dyer. (I twist the fringe first, so that in the initial wet finishing/shrinkage process, it tightens it up further.) So that means cutting them apart before washing.

To wash for the first time, I use the delicate cycle with clear dishwashing detergent (less harsh than detergent for clothing). For the dryer, I monitor the process, usually checking every 10 minutes until it is nearly dry, just slightly damp. Then I press with steam. The sheen really comes out!

If you dry the item until bone dry in the machine, it seems to me wrinkles can be somewhat set into the fabric. I have used a variety of vendor's Tencel, so I can't say this for certain across the board. (It may have been a specific product that I used on one scarf.)

I do include a label that either details how I washed the product, or specify "dryclean" if you think the recipient will find that easier to deal with. If they love the piece, they'll take care of it. If not, it will be enjoyed, but just have a shorter shelf life. 

Post a photo of your results when you get a chance. Whatever you decide to do will certainly help someone else who finds themselves in the same predicament!


Posted on Fri, 03/08/2013 - 01:34

All the wearables I sell come with a tag that specifies handwashing. Buyers are told how easy these scarves are to care for ... swish in a sink with a dash of dish soap, rinse & line dry with a press after.  No one has seemed to feel this was "too much" since they buy them.  I think rayons, which includes tencel, look nicer longer when they are hand washed, machine washing gives them a fuzzier finish over time.