Monday, October 03, 2011


This weekend was all about tassels. I finished my last pair of mittens and wanted to add laces and tassels to them. Many old mittens have mitten laces and tassels and while with laces it was easy to tie the mittens together and maybe hang them to dry, tassels must have been a mere decoration ... Really?  Has that been the only function?

The first stop was Wikipedia. The article starts off with Bible verses and further reading reveals this:

"In the Middle East, tassels were worn as talismans, especially on headwear. In Egypt, Mesopotamia, and throughout the Arab world tassels were worn by children on hoods or caps to protect them from malevolent spirits and ward off demons."

There is just a little bit of information there but it does sparkle one's imagination and makes one want to learn more.

Some time ago I bought a beautiful book called "Tassel Making" by Anna Crutchley. There is more of the history of tassels and instructions to make elaborate and magnificent tassels but I have concentrated on page 52 and the instructions for a "soft tassel". I have been making a simple one made of wool yarn to embellish the mittens. I have made many over the weekend, and as always there was frustration, starting over and in the end a few tassels. I am not quite there yet, I would like to be in charge, and have control over the process and know exactly what my hands are doing and that their performance would produce every time a perfect, soft wool tassel. I would love to know the best knot and the best way to hide the ends so that the tassel would not unravel, as there really is more to a good tassel than I thought when I started this tassel trip.

When I cast off the mittens and decided to add this little ornament to them, little did I know that I could spend a whole Sunday (it was raining hard) reading and making of the tassel and yet not be totally done. Simple 2-ply wool yarn can be so many different things.

It was cold night, and after all that rain yesterday, we have a misty morning, the colors are so very soft as they peek through the grey curtain.

Wool with you,

PS. Thank you for the interest in the baby hat. I love that little hat too, and will write the pattern at some point, but at the moment I think that it might not be finished yet, as if there is something to add to it. I am not sure, I have to wait a bit to see if it is done as it is or if it still needs something ...


  1. Ha Ha Lene,
    Your PS made me laugh out loud. Your little hat needs tassels, of course.

    Your tassels are lovely,

  2. So, are all your laces twisted? Or is the third picture down crocheted?

    I look forward to hearing the answers to your tasseling questions and learning from your journey! That looks like an fascinating book!

    Thank you, again, for sharing your magic with us.

  3. Dear Lene,
    I am happy to read new blog entries from you: as always, your projects are marvelous and full of color harmony. Very interesting, indeed, the thoughts about tassels and their use.
    I like your nice little picture, too.
    And let it say: you really are a born designer.

  4. Anonymous15:31

    Your work is stunning! And the way you go about mastering your craft is the mark of a true artist. As a lifelong knitter, I find endless inspiration in your words.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  5. Love the tassels I never was big on pom-poms though.

  6. everything you make is just so beautiful, it is with great pleasure I follow your blog. can you refer to a website where the technique you use in the mitten patterning is described?
    best wishes from Iceland

  7. After reading your blog this morning, I was surprised to notice there are several lovely tassels in Nicki Epstein's Knitting on the Edge, including a knitted one you may be interested it.

  8. Ihailen kovasti siun paneutumista asioihin, itse kun tahdon olla vähän hätähousu ja miulla on usein liian monta rautaa tulessa.
    Kauniit lapaset ja hienot tupsut.

  9. Lois B18:34

    Your pictures are so clear and lovely. I'm amazed at the time and patience you give to your projects finishing them perfectly. They are such works of art.

  10. The colours in those mittens are wonderful I love the tassels too. Who knew they would be so engrossing to make?

  11. I just came back to this post after some time. I love the multicolored tassels on those mittens and indeed the mittens themselves... I can't help but hope that you will share the pattern for them one day as well as the one for the baby hat!