Here’s a friendship bracelet video tutorial that also shows how to make my favorite type of color pattern for a square braid: chevrons across bicolor stripes.
The bracelet tutorial teaches an easy way to make a lo-tech adjustable closure if your bracelet has a loop at one end. This can be used for any bracelet with a loop at one end. (The photo of the teapot does not show this method!—see braids below.)
I also show a way to start the braid with no loose ends at the top of the braid, and with a loop that can be used as a closure. The videos demo the braids with 7 loops, but this can be applied to 5-loop or 9-loop fingerloop braids, too.*
The videos don’t teach how to braid fingerloop braids—they’re for learning a particular color pattern, the loop start, the closure, and a trick for changing the bicolor pattern. For learning how to braid, see my START HERE (5 loops) and CONTINUE HERE (7 loops) tutorials—they have plenty of slo-mo and explain all the moves, including how to make a flat version of these square braids. If you are a kumihimo braider, you might like fingerloop braiding. It’s the technique that kumihimo came from, and is a lot faster to do, especially for lengths that are shorter than your arm-span.
Here are some photos showing how I use a loop to make an adjustable fastener-knot for a bracelet:
I demo this in one of the videos. (For another lo-tech method, see Gudrun’s necklace and zipper-pull with a very clever fastening method that requires a loop near both ends of the braid.)
If the bracelet is too small for you to be able to slide your hand into it after it is fastened, it’s also possible to fasten it around your wrist, though this can be a little fussy—easier if someone else does it for you:
After poking the ends through the hole, tighten up the loop closure. Tighten the noose/loop by pulling below it. Loosen the loop (for removing) by pulling on the the other end—the end(s) you stuck through the hole.
The start in my bracelet videos is one I call a “handshake loop start”. (There are other ways to start braids without any ends—the red and green bracelet in some of my photos has a divided loop start, see my 3-loop tutorial for a photo-tute and a video that show this, also my “Starts with No Ends” for more ideas.)
In the videos, I finish the braids with 4 mini-braids. These are actually just two divided braids—very quick to make. (If you are substituting a 5-loop square braid for the 7-loop ones in the videos, see my note below.)
It isn’t necessary at all to make these mini-braids—an alternative is to end your bracelet with a little extra length for tying on, then make an overhand knot and trim the loop-ends into a nice tassel.
Just in case it’s helpful for anyone, above is my quick way to measure out thread for loops. (That C-clamp is also what I braid from.) If the thread has to be a specific length, I measure the first piece against a yardstick, then wrap it around the chair/ C-clamp combo and adjust the distance to match, so I can measure out the other loops by winding them. (If you know another way, or have any other tips, leave a note in the comment field below!)
In the first bracelet video I suggested using 29″ lengths of yarn, in the second I said 32″. (This is twice as long as the loops will be.) These both ended up a little short for an average woman’s wrist, if you want to leave room for tying-on. My wrist is only 5.5″ (14cm) around, and the first bracelet was barely long enough. Try 35″ to be safe, better to have a little extra length than not enough. Length needed varies depending on wrist size, thickness of the thread, and how loosely or tightly you braid. Yarn shortens up as you braid (“take-up”). And you can’t braid to the very ends of the loops—you need a few extra inches for the ends.
The two bracelets above were both made with 7 loops of embroidery floss. The larger one was made with doubled strands of floss, which made it about as thick as my other sample bracelets—all the other bracelets in these photos were made with sport weight, mercerized cotton yarn (elann.com Lara, Millefile fine, and others).
3 video tutorials:
A, a video on how to make the “Chevrons over Bicolor Stripes” square braid patterns. Near the end of the video I demo how to switch the colors of the lengthwise stripes, which can make very fun color-changes in the braid pattern.**
(You can slide the bubble under the videos to any time-point in the video—I show a “timeline” under most of the videos to help with this. If you click to watch one of these videos on its youtube page, the time-points I’ve entered are actual links—you can click on them to go to that point in the video.)
B, a series of videos on making a bracelet with this pattern, including how to start it with a no-ends loop, and how to form an adjustable closure knot with that loop when wearing the bracelet. (These are options! Not necessary—you can also make a chevron-pattern bracelet by just making a braid that has a knot at both ends, and tying it onto your wrist. Or tightly wrap, glue and trim off the ends, and then glue both trimmed ends of the braid into metal end-cap jewelry closures.)
C — The last video is a bonus bracelet tutorial showing a different chevron pattern—the purple/black/gold one in the photos above—plus how to make a no-ends loop start with an odd number of bicolor loops, using doubled strands for the loops. This is a fussy way to start, so the first part of the video is long and boring! If you just want to learn the color-setup but not the no-ends start, skip to near the end of the video to see the color set-up for the main part of the braid.
Chevrons & Bicolor Stripes 7-loop square braid [above]
Set-up: 4 bicolor green+red loops, 3 single-color loops: Black, White, Black
0:14 View of the upper divided-braid section (already braided).
0:42 Loop arrangement on fingers
1:14 Beginning of braiding moves
2:50 Halfway through one pattern repeat
4:13 A look at the emerging braid pattern. Possible pattern variations.
5:57 Part 2, same video [better light]
6:18 Accidental dropping of loop bundle, recovery and error-check.
8:00 Halfway through a pattern repeat
8:38 Making sure that the bicolor loops are in the correct orientation.
9:54 Tightening tips (most new braiders tighten too hard, yet not wide enough)
11:34 View of the braid pattern
12:37 How to make the green and red sides switch places in the braid.
16:37 View of the braid with the green and red sides switched.
Bracelet tutorial: Starting a bracelet with a HANDSHAKE loop start [above]
0:00 Intro, picture of finished bracelet
0:10 Beginning of tutorial,
0:44 “Handshake loop start” explanation
3:05 Loop set-up: 4 bicolor and 3 single-color loops.
3:32 Description of loops (cut the threads LONGER than I say—35″)
6:40 Linking left & right loops for ‘Handshake’ start.
8:30 Putting a header cord thru the 2 bunches of loops
9:13 Setting up for braiding the left bunch of loops.
10:48 Making a 4-loop braid with the “Edge” pattern to form the left side of what will be the loop at the top of the bracelet.
13:45 Switching to braiding the right side of the header-loop (3-loop braid)
15:02 Starting the 3-loop braiding
16:00 Joining up both sets of loops for starting the main part of the braid.
18:08 Start of main braiding moves
18:54 Halfway thru 1st repeat, “fussy-tighten” to join the bottom of the loop cleanly.
22:30 View of the braid, and pulling out the header cord.
[For another type of no-ends loop start, see my 3-loop braid tutorial's step-by-step photos and video to learn a "divided loop start" --it's a faster way to start, since both sides of the loop get braided at the same time.]
Finishing the bracelet by making an ending ‘fringe’ of 4 braidlets
0:00 Putting down the left loops, in order to braid the right loops
1:27 Start of braiding moves for a 4-loop divided braid (will make 2 braidlets)
3:23 A look at the first two braidlets that are forming
4:43 First pair of braidlets done
4:50 Continuing, a look at the whole braid, then
5:10 Starting on last pair of braidlets – a divided 3-loop braid
5:27 Braiding moves
7:17 Taking finished braid off clamp
Tutorial for a 2nd chevron pattern bracelet, [below]
Different chevron pattern, with 5 bicolor loops and 2 single-color contrast loops. Shows how to use doubled strands to form your loops, so that even the one odd bicolor loop (the 5th one) will not leave any loose ends hanging out at the top of the braid. If you just want to learn the color-setup but not the no-ends start, skip to near the end of the video (24:15) to see the color set-up for the main part of the braid.
1:28 Problem of having an odd # of bicolor loops for the no-ends start–will usually leave 2 ends at top of the braid.
3:48 Using double-thick strands of embroidery floss to avoid this problem.
6:45 How to make the one “odd” single-length bicolor loop so that it will only have loose ends at one end (the fingertip-end of the loop).
9:30 Making the double-length loops (one gold and two bicolor)
3:16 Linking the left set of loops with the right set of loops.
15:22 The “no header-cord” method of suspending the loops to braid the 2 halves of the starting loop.
17:35 Ready to braid the left half (a 4-loop square braid).
19:04 Laying aside the finished left half of the loop, preparing to braid the right half—(a 3-loop square braid)—again with no header cord.
24:15 2 halves of the loop now done, here getting ready to join them in braiding the main part of the braid. Color arrangement on the fingers for the main braid’s pattern: bicolor loops on the two hands should have the opposite colors in upper position on the fingers.
25:44 Starting braiding the main body of bracelet
25:57 Halfway thru first pattern repeat, loops have switched hands—time to tighten well to ‘set’ the starting loop firmly onto the main braid. Fussy tighten at this point.
27:14 Noticing that I braided the 3-loop side of the top loop a little longer than the 4-loop side…This is why 3 of the loops in my braid ended up being slightly shorter than the other 4 loops! Not too bad here, but wouldn’t want them any shorter. Try to aim for both sides of the loop-start being equal in length.
*Note re 5-loop braids:
With 5 loops, the handshake loop start at the top of the bracelet would be a three-loop braid on one side of the loop, and a 2-loop braid on the other side (see the bottom of my Tutorials page for links to video tutorials for the 2-loop braid). To finish a five-loop bracelet, you can’t divide it into four mini-braids at the end, only three: one divided 3-loop braid (= 2 little braids), and one 2-loop braid (2-loop braids can’t be made divided).
**This video shows how to braid one particular square braid color pattern. Many other square braid color patterns are described in my bicolor loops tutorial, the color-pattern planning tutorial, and my recent post “More square braid color set-ups“.
© 2012–2014 Ingrid Crickmore
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