Can You Tie a Knot? You Can Make This Necklace

February 12, 2016

As someone whose life revolves home design and decor, I love to play around with trends as they come and go each season, mixing them in with classic staples in my apartment. And when I'm really feeling a certain look it tends to seep into my wardrobe. My current obsession is texture—all things with a chunky knit, shag, or woven design.

A trio of fringed necklaces that you, too, can create! Photo by Julia Gartland

From my rugs and pillows to sweaters and accessories, I've got lots of fringe going on, and I'm always dreaming up a way to make something on the mini lap loom I scored from weaving maven Maryanne Moodie.

So after spotting this holy grail of fringe jewelry from fiber artist Kari Breitigam, I knew I needed it in my life. I scoured her web shop for weeks, but there was no sign of the glorious necklace—and then it hit me that I should just go ahead and try my hand at a DIY version.

Full fringe necklace.

A photo posted by Kari Breitigam (@karibreitigam) on

Although I worried it wouldn’t be quite as pretty as hers, I really had to go forth after receiving a roll of the most beautiful merino wool yarn from a friend for my birthday.

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And as it turns out, you don't have have a super-fancy yarn or a mini lap loom to make this necklace, since the secret is simply a yarn you love and lots and lots of knots. Here's how to make it!

What you'll need:

  • Suede leather cord, or any leather or cotton cord. I would stick with something that has a 2 to 3mm gauge and a bit of weight to it.
  • Worsted yarn in the 3 or 4 weight category. I used a category 4 merino wool, which gave the necklace a chunkier look. Wool does fray a bit, so if you want a neater look, I would opt for a category 3 yarn in a synthetic material.
  • Scissors
Photo by Julia Gartland

How to turn those materials into a fringe necklace:

Plan the length.

Measure out the length of cord for the foundation of the necklace by hanging it around your neck. It really can be any length you like, depending on the look you want. I wanted something similar to Kari’s, so I went with 26 inches in total (giving it a 12 inch drop length). Before cutting, I would also add another 3 to 4 inches to each end of cord to leave room for tying at the end. You can always snip off a bit more once tied, too, so don't worry about making it the perfect length in the beginning.

Prepare pieces of fringe.

Next is deciding the fringe length and cutting a lot of it! I went with about 3-inch strands of wool, which when tied would drop 1 1/2 inches from the cord. They don't all have to be precisely the same length—just close!

Create a knot by pulling the two ends through the loop, then pulling taut. Photo by Julia Garland

I cut about 40 of these small pieces, so I could have a nice little reserve to start knotting with, and then cut more batches as I went. This is a good tactic so you can get to knotting sooner and also to avoid cutting more fringe than you need (especially if you’re using a nice material that ain’t cheap!).

Knot the fringe.

For the first knot, I started in the center of the cord and made my way around one side of the necklace. The knot is made by simply folding the strand in-half, wrapping the looped end around the cord, and tucking through the two ends once it’s made its way around the cord. Then you just need to pull the ends evenly and tightly around the cord, trying your best to keep the knots situated the same way with every new piece of fringe you add.

Photo by Rocky Luten

And that’s about it! You can knot for days (not literally) like I did, all the way up the cord for a full-fringe look, or go for a simpler design by just creating a little patch of fringe.

Kristina Wasserman is Food52's Buyer, which means she's constantly sourcing new and beautiful designs for our Shop (and her home).

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Amanda H. February 14, 2016
Thanks, Kristina -- glad to have something pretty to make with all of the leftover yarn from my knitting days!
Lori L. February 12, 2016
I love this! Thank you for sharing!