Part 2 on two-person fingerloop braids done by a solo braider: Flat double braids.
[Part 1 introduced the basic instructions for double braids, and taught solidly rectangular, and divided double braids.]
This flat, ribbon-like braid is one of the twelve or so shape variations of double braids. In my first double braid tutorial, I taught the basic braiding moves, and 2 of the 12 shapes: the divided braid (2 separate layers), and the solid rectangle braid (like two joined square braids). This new shape variation is similar to the flat variation of a square braid, in that it’s braided as a two-layer braid that opens out to be flat. However, it’s twice as intricate—has 8 twill columns (the visible lengthwise columns of slanted threads) rather than 4.*¹
In the videos, I also show how to make these flat braids with a contrasting border color on the two edges of the braid, and how to make a flat braid with 4 columns of different colors (see the pattern on the far right end of the braid above).
I didn’t make a separate video for a 6-loop flat braid, but if you’ve already learned the 6-loop double braid from my introductory double braid tutorial, the 8-loop videos below should make it clear what you need to do to make a flat six-loop braid.
Braiding columns of colors in a flat braid can be done by LINKING colors, rather than letting them cross each other. There are two ways to link colors. One way links two (different-colored) loops together, and the other way links the two, different-colored shanks of a single loop. These techniques can be used in many types of braids, not just flat ones. And they can be used in other places in the braid than I demo. Loop-linking can be done as part of any loop transfer, as well as (or instead of) at the final loop exchange between the little fingers.
The yellow, orange and gray 10-loop flat braid in my right sidebar had multiple instances of loop-linking, which is what created the various patterns→. In this braid, all the loops are of single colors — no bicolor loops. It could have had even more columns of colors if I had used bicolor loops.
(See footnote *² for some fine points about the single turned loop transfer in flat double braids).
8-loop FLAT double braid:
8-loop BORDERED flat double braid (below):
The video above shows how to make the flat braid with a one- or two-colored border on the edges of the braid. This involves a new way to do the loop-exchange (the second-to-last move, just before you tighten the loops).
I demo a two-color border, having one white edge, and one blue edge. For blue on both sides, start with all-blue left hand loops, (no bicolor left loops). For a stripey or other pattern to the border, start with a mix of blue loops and white loops on the left hand.
8-loop 4-COLUMN flat double braid:
The video above shows how to make a flat double braid with 4 columns of different colors. (In the video I only used 3 colors for these four columns–if you want 4 different colors, use bicolor loops for both the left and right hands.) This involves a new way to do that single turned loop transfer—the fourth transfer in the braiding cycle. The loop will receive two turns instead of one—linking the two shanks of the loop together, instead of letting them cross each other. Because of this double turn, the colors of the upper and lower shanks of the loop will be the same after the transfer as they were before. I first show a simple way to turn the loop twice, then later in the video I show a faster way to do it.
As in the bordered braid, you will also be linking loops at the final loop exchange.
10-loop FLAT double braid (below):
Watch the two thumb transfers closely. Turning vs. not turning loops for these two outer transfers will seem very different than in 6 and 8 loop double braids. In the video, only the RIGHT hand’s middle-to-thumb loop transfer gets a turn.
10-loop BORDERED flat double braid (below):
Done just as in the 8-loop version.
10-loop 4-COLUMN flat double braid (below):
Below, in the single turned loop transfer (right middle finger to right thumb), the loop will receive TWO turns instead of one, so the colors of the upper and lower shanks of the loop will not change, even though the loop is turned.
I first show a basic way to do this, then later in the video I show a faster way to do this double-turn. This faster version is easier in the 10-loop braid than the 8-loop one.
I demo a two-color border, white on one edge, black on the other–not a great look on this particular braid! Just good for a demo, go ahead and pick better colors for your own braid.
P.S. I’ve been staying with a sick family member who is computer-free, and unfortunately I don’t have a laptop to take along with me. I can only be home a few weekend days. So I’m making this post quick and barebones. I made the videos last weekend, and had to make some of them at night, which is why they are blurrier and yellower than they would have been in daylight. It’s on my list to redo them at some point, but that might be a while… The videos are not at slowest slo-mo speed, since I’m assuming you’ve already learned the basic double braid moves from my introductory tutorials.
I followed the advice of a reader/ viewer and made all the videos with no talking. This works fine for these videos as each one adds only one small new thing to the introductory double braid videos. I made a separate video for each of the different “tricks” for pattern variations, rather than cramming them all into one video, so I hope that makes them more digestible!
In case you are wondering why I had the ends of my loops tied up into short “caterpillars” in one of the 10-loop videos (see my post on how to braid lengths longer than your arm-span): when I got ready to make the video, it turned out that the sample I had set up and already braided partway, had loops that were just a bit too long for the space available in front of the camera. I crocheted up a few inches just to shorten the loops for filming, not because they were too long to braid with. In the next video segment I undid the ‘caterpillars’, (which is why the loops look wrinkled at the ends) to let out their length, and tied up the finished section of the braid onto the C-clamp to shorten the length.
*¹ Unlike the simpler square braid, this double braid’s flat form will tend to look like a tall, narrow C-shape as you are braiding it—before you open it out to be flat. If you experiment further with other shapes of the double braid, you’ll notice that the hollow rectangle double braid will braid up in this tall shape as well.
You can see pictures of—and learn how to make—all twelve of these shape variations in my chapter in the Braids 2012 conference proceedings, obtainable through the Braid Society.
*² In the videos, I demo the flat braid in only one of two possible ways, where the single turned transfer is the right side’s outer transfer (the last loop transfer). The braid could just as well be done by turning only the left side’s outer transfer (the second loop transfer). If you turn both these two outer transfers, you will get a hollow rectangular braid, not a flat one.
I turn the loop in one of two possible rotational directions—I call the turn that I demo a turn ‘from above’.
I call it “from above” only because, if two braiders were making this braid together—which is the traditional way to make it—a braider would turn the loop from above the loop to make the same exact turn I demo. Done by a solo braider, the move doesn’t necessarily look like a turn from above, because of the odd, backwards way you are reaching down to get the loop. But since there are 2 possible directions to turn the loop, it is important to me to label them so they reflect exactly what two braiders would be doing. The direction you turn the loop can make a big difference to some double braids (though not this flat one).
In a 6 or 8-loop double braid, it would be just as easy to turn the loop in the other direction (a turn ‘from below’).
However, when you get up to a 10-loop double braid, it’s a lot simpler to turn the loop from above, because of the way the thumbs hold loops. In fact, it might not even be apparent that you are turning the loop at all when you move it to the thumb with this ‘turn from above.’ When you learn the 10-loop version of this braid from my video, pay close attention to the the two different ways I transfer the loop to the thumbs—on the left hand the loop does not get a turn, whereas on the right hand it does. (It’ll help if you bear in mind that the inner shank of the thumb-loop is like the upper shank of a finger-loop—it goes to the upper layer of the braid. Some of the photos in my 9-loop square braid tutorial explain this…)
The direction of the turn makes no real difference to this braid, the flat one, since it only has one turned transfer. You can do it in either direction, but be consistent—turn only in the same direction for the whole braid.