I'm still working on the Tassel Tutorial! Better late than never, right?! ;)
This is the tassel I'll be basing my tutorial on:
I made it a while ago to match my as-yet-unfinished bookmark (the design is the beautiful freebie Jeanne Dansby offered as a thank you to her blog readers at Byrd's Nest back in August 2011 - goodness gracious, has it really been that long?!).
I took a TON of pictures at the time, but sadly it wasn't until I looked them over recently that I realized that most of them didn't turn out! ARGH. So I'm going to be remaking the tassel, using embroidery thread instead. For this one, I used two colours of Perle (Pearl) Cotton #8, a plain green and a very pretty multicolour that was a gift from a friend :) I braided my cord for a change and I really like it!!!
In the meantime, there is a tutorial for a braided tie tassel similar to my own over at the fashion blog The Aestate. Although the example is *massive* the steps are much the same, but with a different cardboard winding method (the classic "H" cutout).
And that's not all - I've also found some other interesting tutorials online! When I started looking around, I was trying to limit my searches to bookmark tassels but the results were a bit disappointing, so I've included other projects that could easily be adapted. There are a lot of text-only tutorials, but I've focused on ones with photos.
As Sew4Home explain in their illustrated guide, "How to Make a Tassel", any tassel has four basic parts, the tie (which is often the cord itself), the head (or top) of the bundle (which is usually rounded and often worked over a wooden or plastic form to keep the shaping), the wrap under the head and then the dangly bundle (or body):
Since the shape doesn't tend to change much for simple little tassels like these (in the Victorian needlework books I've been reading over the last few months, it seems that tassels were once very elaborate and multi-layered!), it's the materials that can really change the look. For finishing stitcheries, I like to use embroidery floss because I can easily match it to my project threads, but other materials can add a nice contrast too!
Tassels Made With Embroidery Floss
1. Emma at the DMC Threads blog has an excellent Basic Tassel Tutorial! She uses a rectangle of cardboard to wind the floss around, which is what I like to do too :)
2. The Prudent Homemaker blog has a great post with lots of printable bookmarks and shows how to make a classic and elegant hidden-knot tassel with twisted cord. This tassel uses only one skein embroidery floss! It's also wound on cardboard.
3. Racaire's Embroidery & Needlework has a tutorial for a tiny little red tassle with a contrasting white tie for ornament corners that could easily be adapted. She also shows a version with a Turks Head Knot top, and provides links for the knot how-to.
4. Blogger Lou Lou Downtown also has a single-skein tassel (along with a yarn tassel for the end of a scarf) in the cleverly named post "It's No Hassle to Make a Tassel"! She cut a short length of thread to use as a tie and then cut the remaining skein in half, so you may need to add more thread for cording, or to make it fluffier!
5. Fashion bloggers A Beautiful Mess do something similar, but cleverly tie the skein in the middle and cut it at the ends! Again, you'll need extra thread for the cording. They use their tassels as a colourful and cute trim for a basic black fabric scarf.
6. Fellow fashion blogger Hammers and High Heels does much the same but fancies it up with a jump ring tie, and includes excellent close-up photos and info on trimming!
7. This tutorial for a Tassel Necklace uses the easy Cardboard Slot Method (for wont of a better name, LOL) of winding and also only one skein of floss!
8. And this DIY Neon Tassel Necklace tutorial (evidently these were a big thing last year!) shows you how to wrap the threads using just your hand.
9. There is an even cleverer version of the Cardboard Slot Method at Generally Creative with extra slits for holding the tie in place while wrapping!
10. Also, the blog All About Ami shows the basics of wrapping with two colours; the example is a tiny graduation-hat tassel for an adorable little crochet bear!
Tassels Made With Other Materials
11. The blog Go Make Me has a very basic tassel made with pretty variegated twine.
12. Scrapbookers Oh So Beautiful Paper have a fancy gold thread tassel, and a very neat way to present bookmarks as gifts using cardstock and adhesive photo corners (theirs is for a moving announcement, but the idea could be used for any occasion)!
13. The jewellery blog Scarlet Calliope has a beautiful ribbon tassel with a soldered metal cap, but includes notes for finishing it off with more lovely ribbon instead.
14. There is an ingenious method of wrapping using a crochet hook and a ruler, with wool, on the Swedish blog MiA that would likely work with embroidery thread too!
15. And for a really unique look, Tintocktap (now Unnumbered Stitches) shows how to make crochet tassels; the pink one with the beads is really cute!
And finally, for some historical context:
There is an excellent series on Tassels for Costumes, based on historical examples, on costume-maker Lynn McMasters' website. The very interesting Part I: Simple Thread Tassels shows examples of the effect different threads can gives, illustrations of tassel making and a photo-tutorial on twisting cording. Part II: Compound Thread Tassels is more complicated, using wooden head forms, but the effect is very lovely! (Note: Part III: Beaded Tassels wouldn't work for me; the link seems to be broken).
And for more eye-candy, LOL, here is a blog post full of historical tassels!
So, what do you think? Do you love tassels, or do you think they're too much hassle?