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  • Writer's pictureLucy Duffy

Making your own tassels - A beginners guide

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Hello my fellow yarnies! If you use social media then you may have noticed that tassels appear to be trending right now (did they really ever go away?). In response to the explosion of tassels appearing on all sorts of things, & the fact that many of you may never have made them before, I thought it would be fun to explore what tassels are, uncover their intriguing history, discover how they can add personality to your knit or crochet creations, & I'm even going to walk you through making your own tassels.


A line of tassels set against a white brick wall.
Modern tassels

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So, grab your yarn, & let's get started on this tassel journey!

What are tassels?

So, what exactly are tassels? Well, tassels are those delightful, dangling ornaments often seen at the corners of scarves, blankets, hats, bags & yes, even curtains. Imagine tiny little bundles of yarn, suspended from a string, adding a touch of quirkiness to your handmade masterpieces. Tassels are like the cherries on top of a sundae – they can be that finishing touch that makes your creations stand out.

A neutral toned colour block scarf with pompom style tassels attached at the corners
A modern tassled scarf

A brief glimpse into tassel history

Believe it or not, tassels have been adorning textiles for centuries. They have a rich history that spans both time periods, & cultures.


Ancient Egyptians were among the first to embrace tassels, adorning their garments & home textiles with these alluring additions. These tufted treasures held significance beyond their decorative charm. They were symbols of power & status, denoting rank & authority in the grand tapestry of society.

A cartoon style image of an ancient Egyptian wearing a tassled belt
Tassel's were adopted by the ancient Egyptians

Fast-forward to the opulent era of the Renaissance. Think extravagant courts, shimmering gowns, & tapestries that told tales in threads. Tassels, were at the heart of this artistic indulgence. They swung from the drapery of castles, decorated the robes of kings & queens, & cascaded down sumptuous textiles. Each tassel was a stroke of artistry, a proclamation of luxury.

Extravagant purple curtains with gold tassled edges.
Opulent tassled curtains

Asia too, adopted the use of tassels. In China, intricate silk tassels adorned beautiful garments, carrying blessings and protection. In the bustling bazaars of the Middle East, tassels swung from textiles, evoking the spirit of the nomadic tribes.

A red Chinese outfit decorated with gold embroidery & tassels.
Silk tassels on a Chinese garment

As the world evolved, so did the role of tassels. No longer confined to royal robes & palace drapery, they found their way into our everyday lives. The 20th century saw tassels dancing on lampshades, parasols, earrings, & even graduation caps. The once-symbolic adornment transformed into a playful embellishment, adding a touch of playful charm to the ordinary.

A cartoon style image of a tasseled cap, parasol, shawl & earrings.
The 20th century saw tassels appearing on everything from parasols to earrings.

From the Pharaohs to the present day, tassels have spun tales of power, artistry, & personal expression. With every tassel that adorns our creations, we weave our own stories into the intricate tapestry of time, ensuring that these dangling delights continue to sway with grace & elegance for generations to come.


Tassels in your creations

Now that we've uncovered the essence of tassels, let's explore how these delightful adornments can enhance your knit & crochet projects, even if you're just starting out.


1. Expressive edge: Tassels provide a fun & creative way to add a touch of your own personality to your projects. Whether you're knitting a cosy scarf or crocheting a chic handbag, tassels can be customized to match your unique style. Play with colour, length, & texture to create a look that's distinctly yours.

A cartoon style image of a modern tassled scarf & handbag.
Adding tassel's to you hand-made items can be a way to add your own personality

2. Simple elegance: Tassels might seem intricate, but they're surprisingly easy to make, making them a perfect addition for beginners. You only need a few basic materials – yarn, scissors, & a tassel maker (or small piece of cardboard) – to create these charming accents. It's a wonderful opportunity to practice your crafting skills & see immediate results.

3. Balance & finesse: Tassels can provide a visual balance to your projects. If you're working on a scarf, for instance, & feel like something is missing, a pair of tassels at the ends can provide that much-needed symmetry & style. They can easily turn an ordinary piece into an extraordinary one.


Making your own tassels: Step-by-Step guide

So, now that you know all there is to know about tassels, let me walk you through creating your very own. You can find a video tutorial on my Youtube channel or follow these simple steps:


1. Gather materials: Collect your chosen yarn, a pair of scissors, & a tassel maker, piece of cardboard or your fingers.

A tassel maker & a pair of scissors.
Gather your materials

2. Measure: Decide how long you want your tassel to be. Choose a tassel maker that stretches to that length or cut a piece of cardboard about that length. Next, cut a piece of yarn, roughly double the length that you want your tassel to be. This will become the "dangling" part of your tassel. Cut another strand of yarn about half that length. This will be used to create the knotted "top" of your tassel.

3. Wrap yarn: If you're using a tassel maker, open it out to the length you require & secure your working yarn into the left hand "join". Then, take your tassel maker, cardboard (or even your fingers) & start wrapping your yarn around the length of it. The more you wrap, the fuller your tassel will be. Aim for around 20-30 wraps for a nice, fluffy tassel.

4. Secure: If you're using a tassel maker, hook the end of your working yarn into the right "join" & then cut your working yarn. Then, use the first piece of yarn that you cut earlier to wrap around the middle of the yarn on the tassel maker & tie a knot to secure the yarn (scroll through the images below to see each step). This will become the "dangling" part of your tassel.


If you have used cardboard (or your fingers), gently slide the wrapped yarn off the cardboard or your fingers, & cut your working yarn. Then, carefully insert the first piece of yarn you cut earlier through one end. Tie a tight knot at the top to secure the loops. This will become the "dangling" part of your tassel.

5. Cut: If you have used a tassel maker, slide your scissors along the grooves at the top & bottom & cut the yarn. This will create the fringed bottom of your tassel.


If you have used cardboard or your fingers, slide your scissors through the loops at the opposite end to the knot & cut them. This will create the fringed bottom of your tassel.


6. Create the knotted top of your tassel: Now take the second piece of yarn that you cut earlier & tie this securely around the "top" of your tassel, I tied mine about 1cm down for a 7cm tassel, you can place yours at whatever position you prefer. This knotted part will become the rounded "top" of your tassel.


7. Shape: Use your scissors to give it a little trim, taking off small pieces at a time. For a classic looking tassel, cut straight across to create a flat bottom & for a pompom style tassel, give the bottom a more rounded shape. That's it, you've got yourself a tassel!


Conclusion: Tassel, your way

As we wrap up our tassel adventure, remember that these little yarn wonders are like the sprinkles on a cupcake – they add that extra touch that turns the ordinary into something extraordinary. Tassels offer a fantastic opportunity for beginners to experiment & create, adding personality to their knit & crochet projects without getting tangled in technicalities.


To help you embrace your inner fibre artist, I have linked to some of my favourite beginner friendly patterns that also include tassels below.


Patterns


The Lotus Flower Clutch by Veronika Cromwell

A deep blue crocheted bag

You will find a free version of this cute crocheted bag on Veronika's blog, or you can download the PDF version here.



The Tea house wrap by Alexandra Tavel

A woman wearing a blue & beige crocheted wrap.

A free version of this crocheted wrap can be found on Alexandra's blog here, or if you prefer a downloadable PDF, you will find that here.


So, all that's left to do is gather your supplies, & let the tassels sway as you proudly showcase your one-of-a-kind creations to the world! Happy crafting!


A final note!


I really hope you've enjoyed this tutorial & little history lesson! I would love to see your finished tassels. Don't forget to tag me @duffyscraftdays if you post your version's on social media so I can see them too 😊

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