Fringe twisting tools and hints

 Hi guys, I've started a thread to put photos and comments on fringe twisters.  I'll start with my 3 tools, 2 twist, 3 twist and 4 twist.  I've learned that when I see a beautiful fringe twister to buy it.  My 2 twist I bought at Rhinebeck years ago and have never seen it again.  It feels good in the hand and is nice to look at.  The 3 twist was in a friends studio and I inherited it after she passed away.  The 4 twist I have seen in stores recently and is available.  I am sorry I don't know the vendors for these.

I've found that it depends on the fiber as to which twister I use.  I do have to go slow and someone brought up the point of keeping the pinchers even.  It works so much better if you do take your time and pay attention to the twist head alignment.

I do have arthritis in my thumbs so even thought it takes me longer I do use the twisters.  I think it depends on your hands as to whether you use tools or use your hands to create your fringe.  

Another item I pay attention to when I am planning a project is how I will group the fringe.  This involves counting the warp threads and knowing how I will group them.  I am not above to cheating and tossing a one or two extra in the fringe but I prefer to know how many warp threads I am securing so I may distribute my fringe groups so they are pleasing to the eye.


Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 16:00

 Here's some thoughts that Kurt had on the fringe twister....I coped this from another exchange to keep the fringe twister info in the same place.  

I used the fringe twister for part of one side of a blanket so far. I'm twisting just two fringes together at a time, so it's not going fast, but it's quite fun and looking good. I'll add a photo to my Tweedy Lap Blanket project when I'm done.

I have a 2-clip model, and it tends to stall sometimes when I don't keep the bar parallel to the floor as I turn it.  I'm wondering if the 3- and 4-clip models might keep their alignment better while turning.

For this yarn, I'm turning the yarns 16 times in the direction of the plying, then I put the 2 twisted yarns together on one clip and turn in the opposite direction 10 times. Some directions advise to just let the twisted yarns twist back on themselves, but the directions with this model say to twist back half as many times as you twist forward.  I know 10 is not half of 16, but it seems to work best with 10 back--probably something to do with the original plying of the yarn and/or how I manipulate the yarn as I'm tying the overhand knot.



Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 18:44

I have some opinions on twisting fringes :-)  It was discussed in another forum some time ago, and I have a couple of blog posts on this interesting subject...

I also make (and sell ;-) ) three-clipped (is that a word?) twisters. At the moment the can only be seen on the Swedish version of my web page - when I get time, I will make an English version of that page, too. Anyway - some pics are here.

The main reason I make them with three clips in a triangular configuration is that I feel it makes the motion more, er,  flowing, perhaps? (I mean, they are less likely to "stall" as Kurt called it). Also, of course, it means you can make three-ply fringes, which (as all spinners know) are rounder than two-plied.

... now, should anyone be tempted to buy, just drop me a mail to [email protected] , or send me a message through weavolution. The price, including postage, is 235 SEK within Sweden, 280 SEK outside Sweden. That would roughly translate to USD 40 or EUR 26...

Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 19:45

Now that I look closely at your picture, I see a Georgeann twister ("with sheep on", IIRC). That model was my first, and it works really, really good!

...some years later, when I wanted to make the fringe twister idea available to Swedish weavers, I took my inpiration from that one. The triangular configuration really makes all the difference...

Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 22:58


The above fringes twisters all work and have their place.....I own one of the ones with the little sheep on it.  But I rarely use this type of twister.  Instead I use someting called (inappropriately) a hair braider.  It has three prongs to grip two or three bouts of yarn, twists one direction and at the touch of a button also does the reverse plying.  Very very fast to use.  I can twist the fringes on a scarf, both ends, in about 20 minutes.  These things work especially well on heavier yarns, but I use them for very fine yarns as well.  I add a small piece of double sided tape to the prong that holds the yarn in place to keep the finer yarns in place.  This device is battery powered and saves my poor aging fingers from having to twist all those fringes by hand!  I'll upload a pic when I remember to take one.....<g>



Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 23:53

 thanks Sue, I've seen mention of those and forgotten about them.  With my fingers starting to ache more I'll have to pay more attention to this battery driven one!

Posted on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 01:07

 Kristen, thanks for the blog link, it was great to see the comparison of the twist fringe....and addressing the question of "to 2nd twist or not" was great.  I am off now to unweave a leno fringe I did that I did wrong, public least I caught it BEFORE I took it off the loom!

Posted on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 14:05

As I have never seen one of these contraptions "in the flesh", I am curious: how long does it take to get a good feeling of the numbers of twist, so that all fringes get the same appearence?

Posted on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 14:18


If you are very comfortable with fringe twisting to begin with, it doesn't take long.  The device spins the threads very quickly, so you cannot actually count each individual turn, but you can get a feel for the way the fringes are supposed to be and replicate them pretty precisely.  I count while I twist the fringes.......I know that a count to ten wil produce one fringe, a count to twenty another.  In essence, I have figured out what each fiber I use requires and use that count to both twist the initial direction and to ply back the same number of twists.  If I over do a fringe, it is very easy to undo it.....if not enough twist was applied, it is a simple matter to apply more. 


Posted on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 14:19

Hey Deb....I had to make the move to this device after years of production weaving and fingers just could not take the repetitive motion of the fringe twisters any longer.  I really love this device.......


Posted on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 01:04

Hi, Su--

Is this the device that Lacis sells for way more than what looks like the same device made by (or formerly made by) Conair?  See bottom of this page.

Poor 'aging' fingers?  You must be using a 'baby' picture for your avatar then.  :-)

The battery-operated thing is probably too high-tech to fit into my 'made-by-hand' mind space in which I place my fibre arts, but it is good to know such things exist if my old fingers start to creak and groan.  I'm built for endurance, not speed, and I'm more relaxed when I go at a more relaxed pace.


Posted on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 11:09

After twisting the fringe on 3 scarves & 2 shawls yesterday my hands hurt but not from the twisting - using a LeClerc twister- but from tying the overhand knot at the end.  Don't usually "save" up the twisting but there's a show this weekend...  if there's any better alternative to this knot but I'd love to hear about it.  In the meantime I've just heard about grating some ginger into tea for arthritis - we get a radio program called 'the People's Pharmacy' out of Chapel Hill, NC; they have a website and lots of info about different arthritis helps.

Posted on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 13:44

Hey Kurt......yes, the device I use is made by Conair, similar to the one in the pic you provided.  It is much less expensive than the Lacis one.....I purchase mine at the end of summer and usually get them for about $5.00 each.  I stock up when I see them, as I take mine to workshops and let students use them and that wears them out more quickly.

Baby pic, heh?  Nope....not by a longshot.......pic is just to small to reveal wrinkles.....<g>

I still consider the things I do made by hand even though I use tools to help me along.  Without opening a Pandora's box and not wishing to engage in debate, it is simply my opinion that any tool used to create something that is not produced by machine is hand made.......I sometimes use a computer aided loom, but I still consider my cloth handwoven.......the cloth would not get woven if I did not dress the loom, depress the treadles, throw the shuttle and beat the weft into place.  My fringes are still done by me, using a device that keeps my body healthy.......I know we each have our own definition of what hand made means to us, and I mean no disrepsect......only voicing my own viewpoint on this......

Su :-)



Posted on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 15:58

Thanks for your viewpoint, and we can certainly discuss and disagree while maintaining respect for other opinions. I use tools, clearly, but my preference is not to use electricity, including batteries, for yarn crafts. And it's a somewhat arbitrary distinction that is not completely consistent in my activities. For example, I would consider something I baked handmade, even if I plugged in an electric mixer for the batter. But I do shop Lehman's for kitchen tools that don't rely on electricity also, so I could be moving in the same direction, room by room.  :-)

I suppose some would say the loom itself is a machine, depending on its complexity and design. But I'm not going to think about at what point, from backstrap to compu-dobby, 'machine' might be applied.


Posted on Sat, 11/07/2009 - 23:30

Another fringe twister arrived today, 4 clips in a row, and it doesn't hang up at all like the 2-clip model. Clips are 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart on the 4-clip model, compared to 3.25 cm (1.25 inches) on the 2-clip. The 4-clip is LeClerc, sold by many online vendors, and the 2-clip comes from Village Spinning and Weaving. VSaW also has the handle twister in 3- and 4-clip models.

Notice that the orientation of the clips is different when the twisters are 'at rest'. It's easier for me to open the clips on the LeClerc model while it's sitting on the table. The finish on the VSaW model feels better in my hand. Subtle differences can add up if you work with these a long time.


Posted on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 13:49

I purchased a Lacis power 4 ply twister and I don't know how to use it!  Of course I am a newbie.  Help!

Posted on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 14:32

Su-I have found that the battery operated ones, while great on wool and cotton, don't twist my chenille ends tight enough and they fall apart in the wash.  Still doing it by hand and as a production weaver, I expect, eventually it's the thing that's eventually going to waste my wrists.  Thoughts?

Posted on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 14:56

I had one of the LeClerc twister, but with arther really settling in my hands, I asked my husband to make me one with a longer handle. As I use it, I hold way up close to the twisters and I "rest" the handle firmly against my wrist, so the power needed to hold it is distributed away from my hands and onto my arm. I see many here have handles, so give this a try...this has absolutely SAVED my hands!!!

Here's a photo of one my husband makes (Hokett Would Work):

Posted on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 15:00

I've put bicycle ergo grips on my manual twisters. Another good substitute is a young apprentice without arthritis! In the meantime some of these suggestions are great.

Still waiting for someone to kick in with their experience on Lacis, sorry I can't help with that one!

Posted on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 15:20


It could be the last inch or so of the fringe that doesn't twist.  Have you tried knotting below the untwisted last inch?  

Stephanie S 


Posted on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 00:09

Stephanie-It's not that.  The issue is that, in order to get things really tight, after I twist in the first direction and I am twisting the two together, I continue to twist the individual twists at the same time.  With most fibers you can get away with a lot, but chenille wants to worm out.  As a production weaver, I need my stuff to stand up for many years.  Neither the electric or the manual do that.

Posted on Sun, 03/29/2015 - 17:33

I want to get a fringe twister and have read about them here and elsewhere. I can't find any advice as to which size to get first - if I get a 4-clip twister, can I not use it for 2- and 3-end fringes? Why would a 2- or 3- end twister be better? Wouldn't a 4-end twister be more versatile? Thanks for advice!

Posted on Sun, 03/29/2015 - 17:33

I want to get a fringe twister and have read about them here and elsewhere. I can't find any advice as to which size to get first - if I get a 4-clip twister, can I not use it for 2- and 3-end fringes? Why would a 2- or 3- end twister be better? Wouldn't a 4-end twister be more versatile? Thanks for advice!

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 00:48

Hi PiqueF you are absolutely right. If you have a 4 end fringe twister you can easily do 2 or 3 ends rather than the 4 end. Some folks collect them in different sizes because they can. Others buy them for the handle comfort. Don't worry about having too many twisters. You don't have to use them.

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:05

Thanks for sharing. I saw the same type twisting method in Wales at a blanket factory in the 80's. It was magical to watch the WW II vet to whirl and set up the blankets' fringe. I have arthritis in my thumbs so the fringe twister helps avod pain. As with any repetitive motion, younger wravers should space their activity, set up as ergonomically safe as possible and take physicsl breaks as much as possible to avoid repetitive injury.

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 22:05

I just bought one of the battery operated gadgets already mentioned. I know at  least one yarn company sells this one, but I got it off I will be trying it out on my afghan project soon.

Like TomZ, I don't do much fringe work. I will on a throw, but never on a full blanket for instance.