I wasn’t trying to make a Year of the Snake fingerloop braid when I made the first of these curvy braids last month, shortly after Chinese New Year.
I was experimenting with color-linking in a double braid. I liked the way the color-pattern turned out, but the braid itself didn’t look right…it was sort of straight, but not quite. Slightly uneven along the edges.
It was only when I started ‘plumping’ the braid up and down after it was finished*¹ that the curves developed…The braid seemed to want to deform into regular waves. So I just helped that along, and then wet the braid and let it dry on a towel. I made a few more in slight variations of the same kind of alternating side-to-side linking, and all were easy to loosen up into wavy, undulating braids after they were made.
The color-linking in these braids is done a little differently than I’ve shown before. What I’ve already demoed is how to link different-color loops together during the final loop exchange move—the last move of a double braid. It’s in my flat double braid tutorial (I also used it for several braids in my hollow double braid tutorial–all the braids that have a different-colored top and bottom).
But these curvy braids require color-linking during some of the loop transfers, not at the loop exchange. The orange, yellow and gray flat double braid in my right sidebar→ also has this type of color-linking. In the curvy braids the linking shifts from the left to the right side of the braid, and then back again—which must be the reason the braid ends up being wavy.*²
Btw, Laverne Waddington gets the credit for matching up these braids with the Chinese New Year—I never would have made the braid~snake~new year connection myself! I showed the braids to Laverne at a weaving workshop she taught here in California a couple of weekends ago, and she immediately said “Snake braids–for the year of the Snake!” Thanks to her, for once I have a more interesting blog-post title than, say, “Curvilinear Solid-Rectangle Double Braids.”
If you want to learn how to make the curvy braids, it would probably be best to try this kind of color-linking in a straight braid first. Which is one of the many tutorials I’ve been trying to decide on—which to make, that is…
My to-do list is getting scarily long:
- Kaitlyn’s color-pattern for a 7-loop flat ‘square’ braid (fun and easy):
- The flat version of the 7-loop Spanish braid (plus other shapes)
- Unorthodox braids
- Single-layer plain weave braids
- Color-linking in other places than the loop-exchange (see braid in right sidebar→)
- Odd-number-of-loop double braids (good to know — makes a more balanced double braid) *³
- 10-loop 17th C. Letter-braids (how to make the basic braids as a solo braider using thumbs–to make the actual lettershapes you’d still need Joy Boutrup’s book.) I’ve made several posts about the 14-loop letterbraid, and a tutorial for its component 7-loop spanish braid. I’m not planning to make a tutorial for the 14-loop letterbraid as a solo braider technique until after I’ve taught a few braiders how to make the 10-loop ones. They only require holding one loop per finger — and thumb, so are a lot easier. (they’re definitely more complicated than 10-loop double braids, though, because they have twice as many loop transfers.)
So here’s a poll: Which one do you want next, if any? There are also the rest of the 12 different double braid shapes, I’ve only covered four so far.
(leave your vote in the comment field below this post.)
Realistically, it isn’t possible for all of the tutorials in the list to be “coming soon.” Especially considering how easily I get distracted…I need to prioritize somehow.
At least lately I’ve been distracted by braiding, instead of my usual distraction—wasting time on the internet! On that same off-topic, I’m back home again after being gone for a month at my mother’s (she was sick, but is now much better). It was amazing being almost completely away from a computer for a whole month. Even though I watched a couple hours of tv a day with my mother, I was more productive there than I am at home. I’m thinking of trying out a program called MacFreedom that somehow helps you set limits on the time you spend online…
*¹ I highly recommend “plumping” and loosening up any loop braid as soon as you finish it—helps the braid relax, fill out, and look better after the lengthwise stretching that happens while you’re braiding it.
*² Each of my curvy braids has two or three loop color-groups that are linked where they meet (to keep those colors from crossing each other). The braid below has two: 3 purple loops, and 3 blue. In addition, each braid has one more loop color-group that wanders freely back and forth across the braid, crossing both other colors, and never being linked. In the braid below, this “wandering” color group is 3 loops of shiny gold rayon.
One side of the braid is purple and the other side is blue (hard to see, since those colors are so similar), while the gold moves from side to side. Because there are always three groups of colors across the braid, the border between the purple and blue is never in the exact middle of the braid. That’s the reason the color-linking move wouldn’t happen during a final loop-exchange (even if this were a 10-loop braid—see note re odd numbers of loops). Any linking always happens either to the left or the right of the center of the braid. Where the gold loops are between the blue and the purple areas, no loops are linked.
*³ Double braids with an even number of loops—which are all that I’ve taught so far—are actually a little more uneven than are odd-number-of-loop double braids. A 9-loop double braid is a more balanced version of a 10-loop double braid—it’s closer to a regular 2/2 twill. (This also applies to double braids made the traditional way, by two cooperating braiders.)
There’s a slight difference in the braiding method with an odd-number-of-loops double braid. You don’t have to do a full loop exchange move. Instead, the lowest ‘extra’ loop simply gets passed over to the other hand after the first hand’s braiding moves are done (or else this same loop movement happens as part of the inner loop transfer of each hand – the 1st and 3rd loop transfers).
Note–certain color patterns are only possible with even numbers of loops! So both ways are useful to know.