Traditional Fringe, Non-traditional Presidential Pillow

IMG_2705In Scandinavia pillows and bench cushions were often trimmed in fringe, both to protect the textile and add exuberant decoration. Typically, the fringe was made of left-overs from weaving the pillow cover or embroidering it.  The result was beautiful in its variety of colors and thrifty, in that fringe-making used up small bits of yarn, even combining varying weights of single-ply or double-ply yarn. Here’s my modern pillow, made with a thrift store fake tapestry. My challenge was to only use bits of yarn and partial butterflies from my big bag of ends, and I loved the bright results. In ten years, will we remember what this text refers to?

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This old embroidered pillow cover was photographed in Elverum, Norway, in 1938. The fringe looks pretty much the same as mine.

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See also this Swedish pillow with embroidered parrots.

There are different ways to make fringe, which can be left as loops or cut.  A Swedish two-person technique gives a beautiful crisp edge to the fringe, easy to sew down.  And it’s fun. Last week I made some fringe with my friend Phyllis Waggoner; multicolored sock yarn makes a fun fringe.

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I made my pillow fringe with a technique using a stick and small heddle.

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We will experiment with many embellishment techniques at my workshop next month during Fiber Fest at North House, Scandinavian Fringe Embellishments: Folk Art on the Edge(s). Come and be creative with us!

 

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