Here are photos sent in by a reader, Dominic, of some of his “bicolor loop magic” braids–in a great hemp yarn as well as waxed cotton. Not only are they beautiful braids, but the knotting he’s done with them (and other cords) is really inspiring–I’ve got to get going on learning more knots!
Above is his photo of 3 star knots, showing how differently they turn out depending on how he manages the strands. The photo below also shows more of the braid and how it attaches to the bag.
These braids and knots look fantastic in hemp! Dominic says he used intact loops to form the knot on the left (upper photo) and controlled the color arrangement that way, whereas the other two knots were done with the strands randomly assorted, probably after trimming off the tied ends of the loops. I just looked at a star knot tutorial and it seems to be used for finishing a braid. Makes a beautiful, button-like end. I often start my own braids with a loop, this star knot would be a great way to finish for a bracelet or other type of braid that needs a closure.
Here’s Dominic’s photo of an all-white star knot in cotton:
The overall shape reminds me of a Chinese button knot, which is the only fancy knot I’ve ever tried, but the intricate star pattern is quite different from the button knot. The turk’s head slider (?) or toggle to the right is leather. Beautiful! I just recently managed to learn one version of a turks head knot–it was a real struggle and I still have to ponder the diagram mightily every time I attempt it. (I’m not actually sure if a turk’s head is a real knot–it feels halfway between braiding and knotting to me)
I love the way the bicolor braid sets off the turk’s-head structure. Knot people seem to talk about “definition” as an important factor in judging knot quality–here I think the bicolor braid really shows off the good definition in this knot. (I secretly even like bicolor braids when they show off bad knot definition–as in my own attempts at Chinese button knots!)
And for a grand finale, here is Dominic’s photo of a fantastic textural “pineapple turks head” on the left and a beautiful bicolor loop braid set up to demonstrate how to form a simple turks head-type finishing knot (? like the brown version in the previous photo, I think):
He says the Pineapple Turks head is “one turks head nested within another.” It’s beyond me how that is done, or how you would add a contrasting element to a knot. The dark brown is that great hemp again, probably the heavier weight 4-ply (?). Dominic didn’t specify, but the smooth contrast cord looks like the leather in his 3rd photo.
The stunning bicolor loop braid wrapped into an open knot on the right is done in waxed cotton thread–looks sleek and beautiful with a great body/ heft to it. Here’s what he says about the knot and the cord:
…a couple of extra passes on an overhand [knot]… I like the fact that people think turks heads are hard when actually everyone knows at least one – the overhand knot. It is braided with waxed cotton for leather workers. Weird stuff but you can clean most of the wax off if you like.
I intend to assiduously study that knot! And look into how/ where to find waxed cotton. I have a few kinds of hemp–really like the texture. Also the feel of a hemp braid after it has been washed (brutally, in hot water and detergent*) is wonderful, really supple and bouncy. Linen, too. Much more life to them than other fibers.
Thank you, Dominic for the inspiring photos and info! (let me know what I’ve got wrong about them.)
[Check out Dominic's blog, he's been posting some great photos of his work there, both knots and braids]
Anyone else reading this who has loop braid photos they would like to share please send them–either a link or the actual pictures–if you comment I can send you my email address to mail them to. I would love to see them and to post them here. (Any/ all loop braid pics or ideas, not just those made from the info on this blog.)
*re: washing braids–test the yarn/cord for color fastness first.