This is the photo-tutorial on 3-loop braids that I made last year  for the Braids and Bands yahoo group. You can scroll through the tutorial in the small thumbnail window (enlarge the text first–see magnifying glass icon), or click below the window to read it full-screen. It can also be downloaded as a pdf file from Scribd. (video supplements can be found further down, below the photo-tutorial and yarn info)
Click on the lower corner of the window to see the tutorial full-screen on the Scribd website. Or download it from them as a pdf or txt file. [see copyright info]. The color and yarn set-ups for making all the braids in the cover photo, including the 2 textural/bumpy braids, are taught at the end of the document—after the basic braiding moves.
Click on “download” under the scribd window, or, if you click to read this tutorial on Scribd, you can download it from there (big button upper right). Scribd’s right sidebar states: Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. If you aren’t able to download this doc, try again later—sometimes their server is down. Scribd has an undefined limit of free downloads per day—if you’ve already downloaded several other Scribd documents, you may need to wait a day or two before downloading another one. — 2/24/’13
If you want to scan through it here, try clicking on the magnifying glass icon–lower right corner–to enlarge once or twice. On my screen, if I click once I can enlarge without losing text or images (after I re-center by sliding the horizontal scroll-bar)—I just lose the white border around the edges.
Does this embedded document work ok? Please leave me a note if you know of a better way to display Word docs or pdf’s online! I have a few other photo-tutorials in pdf form that I’d like to make available on this blog.*
[I first talked about this 3-loop braid tutorial in a post back in 2011, which had more photos of 3-loop braids, Spiral braids and 2-loop braids. The post also explains how to download my photo-tutorials on these braids from the files section of the Braids_and_Bands yahoo site.]
Younger children—down to age 8 or so—can learn the 3-loop square braid, as long as an adult learns it first and then teaches the child. They learn better by example than from pictures. Kids under 7 usually don’t have the necessary independent finger development. Even if they can already knit or crochet—the fingers work together in those crafts, not separately the way they do in loop braiding. (Of course it partly depends on how determined the child is!)
Yarn for 3-loop braids:
You can use almost anything, but a great choice for 3-loop braid bracelets, key fobs, etc would be a smooth, mercerized cotton sport-weight yarn like Paton’s “Grace,” Elann.com “Lara,” or “Aunt Lydia’s” size 3 crochet cotton, also “Royale” brand size 3. “Anne” by Circulo (not available in the U.S.) is supposedly also a #3 crochet thread but is only 2-ply and thinner and weaker than the brands above. (It comes in a much better range of colors, though.)
If you would like to get an assortment of colors in smaller amounts than full-sized balls of yarn, there is a new assortment from Lion brand called “Bonbons.” It’s a nice thickness for 3-loop braids.
It comes in different types of yarn, I recommend the cotton (two different color assortments).
Embroidery floss comes in great colors. It’s a bit fine for 3-loop braids, but is a nice size if you double the strands. You can buy color-assortment packs of embroidery floss very cheaply from most craft stores. What you don’t want at first is slippery yarn, or bumpy/textural yarn—both are very difficult to braid with. Cotton is good because it is strong, smooth and ‘holds’ well.
The videos below were originally made for this Braids and Bands tutorial. They were among my very first videos, back when Youtube gave me a shorter time-limit. So they’re shorter than some of my later videos, but as usual I go on too long in some of them…I’ve added a timeline to a couple, to help you skip past the boring parts.
A different “no loose-ends” way to start the braid.
I use various ways of starting braids with no loose ends at the top, and often with a loop at the top. The second-to-last video demos one of these with a three loop braid, but you can do it with any number of loops. I show it in the photo-tutorial above, too. (This is a very different method than the Handshake loop start I demo in my bracelet tutorial—here, both sides of the loop get braided at the same time.)
You can also use this “divided-braid-loop-start” method to braid the two halves of one braid at the same time, starting from the middle! I did that for one of the braids in the first photo in the above article—the purple-and-gold braid that is tied in a loose knot.
The 1st video below shows the basic braiding moves for a 3-loop braid, but not how to set up the loops, those videos are further down (the photo-tute above shows this in pictures)… See timeline under video to skip to the part you want to see. (slide bubble under video)
Three-loop Braid, round version (made like 5 and 7-loop square braids, but looks more round than square)
1:42 Set up of loops on fingers
2:24 Start of braiding moves for a round braid, followed by slo-mo practice moves.
Below, Part 2 of the three-loop braid:
How to make a flat, ribbon-like braid, also how to split your braid and make “two-braids-at-once”—a way to make a loop or buttonhole in your round or flat braid. Skip ahead to the parts you want —see timeline under video.
0:00 How to take stored loops off pegs or comb to keep on braiding. Then I go on too long talking and continuing with the round/square version.
2:22 A trick for tightening 3-loop braids very differently than other square braids. Makes a nice firm braid that doesn’t crumple up while you are tightening it.
5:00 Divided version(for making a loop in the braid), and flat version (for making a wider, ribbon-like braid). Learn divided first—it’s prerequisite to the flat braid.
Setting up to braid–1, a quick way:
The quick set-up above is a good one if you want a fringe/ tassel of ends at both ends of the braid. If you only want that tassel at one end, there are several ways to start a braid with no loose ends. Below is one of them, a ‘divided’ loop start.
Setting up to braid–2, a less-quick way that starts with a braided loop at the top of your braid, and no tassel of loose ends:
In the above video, even though I begin with the left hand’s loops linked around the right hand’s loops, this is not the same type of start as the “handshake” no-ends start I demo in my Bracelet with Chevrons tutorial. The loop/ buttonhole here will have no “handshake” join at the top—and both sides of the loop will be braided at the same time. Also, both sides of the loop will be the same thickness, even if the braid has an odd number of loops.
Below—Another color pattern for a 3-loop braid, using bicolor loops: (this video is also in my Bicolor Loop Magic tutorial)
See a way to unbraid 3-loop braids in my Unbraiding post—it’s very easy to do with a 3-loop braid, and is a great way to undo if you want to change something or fix a mistake.
Once you’ve made a few 3-loop braids, you’ll have no trouble at all making the 5-loop version. It’s an even nicer braid, very square-shaped and neat, with a great-looking chevron design on the sides.
I originally made this photo-tutorial (and videos) as part of a series for the Braids_and_Bands yahoo discussion list. That series also included photo-tutorials for the Spiral braids of 4 to 10 loops, and also for the amazingly simple 2-loop braid. These tutorials are all available in the Braids_and_Bands’ files.
(Join the group to access files; the link to the files section is in the left sidebar of the group’s homepage.)
At the bottom of my “Tutorials” page you can find links to just the videos for those tutorials. The full photo-tutorials are still only available in the files section of the Braids_and_Bands yahoo group’s home page.
Thanks for visiting and for reading this far! I probably won’t be able to post much for the rest of August, will be busy and then gone til early September. I’m very excited about my upcoming trip, and I know I’ll be excited to come home from it too, digest what I learned, and report here about it.
*¹ This embedded document has a slightly less restricted copyright than the rest of my blog content. Compare © notices at the end of the document, and in my blog’s light-blue “footer” area at the very bottom of every page. This 3-loop pdf tutorial may be shared/embedded online, as long as you have a non-commercial site—ie don’t make any money from your site.
*² Anyone have any suggestions for other alternatives to Scribd? I didn’t look around much, Scribd was the first result that popped up when I searched… I don’t know of a way to put a pdf or word document directly into a WordPress blog-post. It is not possible to just paste it in—it’s a completely different format. The document you see is not really on my site—it’s actually on the Scribd website. That little viewing window is just an embedded link to Scribd, just as my videos are embedded links to Youtube.