Sunday, September 2, 2007

Uses for Leftovers or How to Make a Tassel

At the end of a cross-stitch project, there's always leftover thread and as a scrapper, I can't just throw it out! So I make tassels. Now, there are plenty of instructions for making tassels online, but I couldn't find one that had a smooth hanger. They all seemed to have a hanger with a knot, and I like to hang my tassels on stuff like scissors and knobs. So... here are my instructions!

1. Find a selection of threads and pull out 4 thick strands: 3 to use for the hanger and one--preferably the darkest or lightest color--for the band.

2. Wrap each strand around a likely-sized item. I like this cassette box. If you're picky, you can make exact measurements on a piece of cardboard, but that's not my deal. Wrapping them one-by-one is important, otherwise you get a chunky messy tassel. As you wrap, leave the long ends hanging off one side of the cassette box.
3. Make a restraining knot: Use a piece of spare floss (you'll be throwing this one out) to sneak under the wrapping and tie around one end of the wrapped threads. (This should be the end without the loose ends.) Make sure you get 'em all. (I'm not sure how necessary this step is, but it seems to keep things tidy.)

4. Leaving a 4" tail, tape down the three strands reserved for the hanger and braid 'em.

5. Slip the braid under the wrapped threads and tie an overhand knot. Slide it up to the restraining knot and leave it there.

6. Cut the wrapped thread on the end with the long loose ends. It's okay to trim some of the really long ones if they're in your way. Move the hanger until the overhand knot is about 3/4" inside the threads, hidden from view.

7. Remove restraining knot. Thread a needle with the thread reserved for the band. Lay part of the thread in with the cut ends of your tassel, hold it there, and wind it around the top of your tassel, about 3/4" down, right over that overhand knot. Wrap round and round until there's about 1/2" of a band. Take the needle right through the band several times.

8. When the thread feels secure, take it through the band, downward into the tail of the tassel. Tighten it and remove the needle.

9. Brush the threads until they separate. I prefer to use a stiff toothbrush. (Try not to use the one you'll be using on your teeth because it will pick up the colors of the tassel--yuck!)
10. Trim the ends to the same length. You may need to brush out the tassel several times in order to get them the same. (Note: if your thread is kinked from being on cards for too long, wet your tassel and let it dry before trimming the ends.)