Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Must-Have Tool

In order to have a full array of scarves to photograph for upcoming jury deadlines, I have been twisting fringe like mad to finally finish (as in wet finish) both the wood series and the fire series scarves. I thought you might like to see what's become my favorite power tool for making plied fringes. (When you fringe as many scarves a year as I do, your hands need as much help as they can get!)

This handy device is made by the Conair folks, manufacturers of hair-driers and stylers. It's marketed to pre-teen girls, to judge by the packaging, and is intended to be used to make pseudo braids quickly and easily. Here's an overall shot:

My scarf is held securely in a fringing stand DH made from PVC. There are two parallel pipes across the front, each with felt glued onto it, and two handles that are used to tighten the grip of the pipes on the scarf. When I'm working with fine silk, I also put a terry-cloth towel between the pipes, under the scarf, for even better traction. The stand is my second-favorite fringing tool.

The way the twister works is this: you hook a group of threads in each of two arms. DH coated the hooks with some sort of latex paint with grit in it, so they hold small groups of very fine silk with little or no slippage. Push the green button upward, and each arm rotates separately to twist its group one direction (S twist). Push the button down, and the whole head rotates to twist the two groups together in the opposite direction (Z twist). The effect is exactly what I'd do by hand, but with much less effort. Thank you, Conair!

Here's a closeup:

So far, the five wood series scarves are finished and pressed, and two of the fire series are in the wash as I write, with three more waiting for fringing and finishing. I picked out the two fire scarves that I thought would photograph best, and won't get the others done in time for the photo shoot this weekend.


Abby Franquemont said...

I'd totally forgotten about the existence of such things. And I literally was just considering doing a fringe on a (knitted) shawl I'm wrapping up now, and decided not to do it because I didn't really feel like twisting, knotting, beading, or any of it... thank you!

Kaz [curiousweaver] said...

This idea would be the greatest time saver for me. I hope I can engineer it!

Leigh said...

Ah. A very handy device to be sure. I've added it to my "must get" list.

neki desu said...

i love my battery powered twister!
and you've provided a great idea for a fringe stand. Thanks!


neki desu

Cynthia said...

I've eyed that thing in the store and wondered if it would work for fringe. Thanks for making it so clear that it does!