This is an index to just the loop braiding tutorials on my blog, in order of difficulty. (Tutorials will open in a separate window.) Most are fingerloop braiding, but there are also a few hand-held loop braiding tutorials. The tutorial teaches the braiding method, and one to a few color-pattern variations that can be made by the same braiding moves. Other color-pattern variations of that braid are sometimes located in posts that are separate from the braiding tutorials. After learning a braid, be sure to click on the Color-Patterns tab in my upper menu for a thumbnail list of all my color-pattern variation instructions, including those not listed here with the braiding tutorials.
Videos in my tutorials tend to be in slow-mo with a lot of talking. The more recent tutorials have timelines listed below any video to help you skip some of my verbiage and go to the point you want to see. The tutorials are listed in order of difficulty – except for links to some extra videos teaching easy braids that I’ve appended near the bottom of this page. Jump to them here (the 2-loop braid, and spiral braids of 4 to 10 loops). Don’t miss my “tips and tricks” posts — ways to end/ tie-off a braid, braid longer lengths, put loops down in the middle of braiding, etc. They are listed below the ‘easy’ braiding tutorials (click here to jump to them). “Too-many-loops” braiding tutorials are listed after Tips and Tricks—those are the braiding methods that require using thumbs, and (for some of them) holding more than one loop on certain fingers.
Btw, my header image is just a blog decoration photo of some of my loop braids, it isn’t specific to the tutorials. I do have tutorials for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th braids from the right: 7-loop square braid, 8-loop spiral, 10-loop double braid (solid rectangle), and Lace Dawns. All are listed below, along with tutorials for many more braids not shown in the header photo. There is information about each of the header photo braids here.
If you would like to receive an automated email alert when I post, see top of sidebar to follow Loop Braiding. (More braid and color-pattern variation tutorials are on the way!).
Super-easy 3-loop braids. Downloadable pdf photo-tutorial and several videos. An even easier intro to fingerloop braiding than my original “Start here” tutorial below. Several color-pattern and shape variations taught.
Start Here: 5-loop braids, both square and flat. Videos, photos, text. If these 5-loop videos are too slow-paced for you, learn from the faster 7-loop video below (but use only 5 loops to start with—just omit the lowest loop on each hand, and use the ring finger to braid with rather than the little finger). If you’ve already learned the square, flat, and divided 3-loop braids above, you may be able to learn how to braid with 5 loops just by looking at the diagram at the beginning of the tutorial.
Continue Here: 7-loop braids. Video tutorial showing the 7-loop version of the basic square, flat, and divided fingerloop braid introduced in the “Start Here” tutorial. This video is a little faster-paced than my 5-loop videos. Shows all 3 braid variations in one video (square braid, flat braid, and divided braid).
New! 7-loop D-shaped braid (an “unorthodox” braid). A fun variation of the basic 7-loop square braid, with a distinctively different shape and color pattern expression. Try any color setup you’ve liked for a square braid with this D-shaped braid and see how it comes out!
[9-loop square braids can be learned after learning square braids of 5 and 7 loops. Also listed below under “too-many-loops”, however nine loops is not necessarily too many!]
Bicolor loops. When each loop is made out of two different colors—two different yarns tied together—different types of color patterns become possible than when loops are made out of single colors, and it is also much easier to switch between different color-patterns within one braid.
The bicolor loop photo-tutorial shows how to make three different bicolor patterns for square braids of 5 loops or more. I use only two colors in the photo-tute, but you can go on from there to adding more colors.
Color-pattern planning: How to arrange loops on your fingers to get the color-order you want in the braid. NEW: I just added the color set-ups for almost all the color-patterns shown in photos in this post (many square and flat 5 to 7-loop braids).
More square braid color-patterns for square braids of 5-11 loops.
Bracelet tutorial for a 7-loop square braid, also how to braid one of my favorite square braid color-patterns: “Chevrons across Bicolor Stripes”—a mix of bicolor and single-color loops. This tutorial teaches 2 great color patterns for a 7-loop square braid, and some bracelet tips, but not the basic braiding moves. Learn the braiding moves from the 7-loop “Continue here” tutorial above.
New technique: Color-linking
Color-linking can create amazing braid patterns! This video-based tutorial teaches 2 different types of color-linking in a 7-loop flat braid (also some 9-loop set-ups). Learn 7-loop flat braids first (see above). Color-linking adds another step to the braiding procedure.
A 7-loop “Spanish” braid (a complex and fun braid to learn after the 7-loop square braid.)
This braid is about as thick as a 4-loop square braid, but twice as wide. I call that braid-shape “rectangular”.
[This braid can be made in flat and hollow forms as well, just like the double braids below.]
Video, text, photos. The video teaches one possible color pattern: ‘Lopsided Crowns’ – It’s not my favorite color-pattern; I chose it for the video because it has the simplest starting arrangement of colors on the fingers. Several other color-patterns are taught in the text, below the videos. (I recommend the “Edge” color pattern as the easiest one to error-check while braiding.) This braid is the base, component braid of the doubled 14-loop letterbraid—a way for a team of two braiders to braid words!
How to make a flatter, less convex version of the ‘Spanish’ braid
The video shows a different way to turn the loops during the loop transfers. Less slo-mo—better to learn the braid from the previous link above. Also shows how to unbraid the spanish braid—this is very useful for correcting mistakes, which is what I’m doing in the video.
How to use Gary Mitchell’s online pattern-planner for the 7-loop spanish braid above. Two posts—one introduces the planner and shows several sample charts, and the second has a video showing how to follow a chart once you have generated it from the planner. It also has a photo showing several different braid patterns you can make using the planner.
Douglas Grant’s round version of the 7-loop spanish braid (or not?) Great variation of the above braid—perhaps different enough not to be quite “spanish.” Makes a firm, round braid. Invented or discovered by a blog reader who named it the Spiaggian Eagle braid after one of its color patterns. Text instructions for two alternative braiding methods. Several color pattern variations shown and taught. I love this braid!
Video tutorial for Doug’s round 7-loop spanish braid (see above). Also teaches a new color pattern for the braid (several other color patterns are taught in my first post on this braid.)
Team braiding a double braid: Video of two first-time braiders making and demoing a 10-loop double braid together. This is two 5-loop square braids connected together to form one larger, rectangular-shaped braid!
Also a photo-tutorial on the crucial move that connects the individual 5-loop braids of the two braiders—the loop-exchange move. If both braiders have first learned my “Start Here” 5-loop braid, you really can to learn to make a double braid from this post—try it!
Double braid tutorials, part 1 6 to 10-loop Rectangular braids:
My patented ;) solo-braider method for making the classic 2-person loop braid taught above. This is really 3 different tutorials: one for a 6-loop version (doubled 3-loop braid), one for 8 loops (doubled 4-loop braid), and two videos on the full 10-loop version, the only one that requires using thumbs. Plug: Double braids may have as many as ten times the number of pattern+shape variations as square braids do. Even the six-loop version, which only requires holding three loops on each hand!
Double braids, part 2: 6 to 10-loop Flat double braids. Also, some great color-manipulation tricks for making borders and other lengthwise designs. (color-linking in two different forms) A separate no-sound video for each skill taught, 8 and 10-loop braids. No video for the 6-loop version. If you’ve learned the 6-loop double braid from the previous tutorial, follow the 8-loop videos and just omit the loop on the little finger.
Double braids, part 3: 6 to 10-loop Hollow double braids. No video. (if you’ve learned the flat double braid above, you won’t need another video to learn the hollow double braid.) Instructions for several different color-patterns of 6-10 loop braids, plus photos of examples of up to 18 loops. Keyhole-type openings in hollow braids, bead and disk inserts, bicolor patterns, color-linking.
More 8-loop double braid color-patterns
Also text instructions for another double braid shape—the side-slit rectangle braid. Photos and accompanying set-up instructions of 11 color patterns for flat double braids, plus one solid double braid color pattern, one hollow, and 2 side-slit rectangle color patterns.
5-loop introductory tutorial on Kute-uchi (hand-held) loop braids
2 methods for making square and flat braids with hand-held loops. 2 videos, braid photos. I demo these braids using 5 loops, but you can use many more after you get used to the moves. Kute-uchi is an ancient Japanese hand-held loop braiding method, which most likely evolved from finger-held loop braiding, and which led to kumihimo (Japanese stand-and-bobbin braiding).
the Genji-uchi braid, and the closely related Pseudo-Genji-uchi (of 4 to 36 loops). I added these instructions onto the end of my original kute-uchi tutorial above.
These two Japanese braids are made using both of the two braiding moves taught in the two original kute-uchi videos. The new braids can be learned from watching and practicing each of those videos, then reading my explanation of the color set-up, and the order of the two braiding moves when you combine them in making Genji-uchi or Pseudo genji-uchi.
Easy-to-intermediate ‘no-thumbs; single loop per finger’ braids:
All the tutorials above (most contain instructions for more than one braid), also my Spiral Braid videos, near bottom of this page. The double braid tutorials above also contain instructions for making 10-loop braids using thumbs as well as fingers, but their first video(s) teach simpler, no-thumbs versions of these braids.
There are other known loop braids that don’t require thumbs or a partner. See:
Medieval Silkwerke, Cindy Myers’ site
Fingerloop Braiding, Lois Swales and Zoe Kuhn-Williams site.
(Both sites also include instructions for team braids, requiring more than one braider)
Terminology—not a tutorial, this is one of my ‘about’ pages (menu tab on far left). The first part explains terms I use in instructions, and the second part is on braiding/ weaving terms, with a lot of over-explanation of how those terms relate to the actual thread passages, or textile ‘architecture’ of loop braids.
“Tips and tricks“:
Ideas for ending braids:
Not a tutorial, just some ideas and links in a comment below this page.
Unbraiding, and fixing mistakes: Unbraiding is the best way to go back and fix a mistake. The video shows how to unbraid a 3-loop braid. There’s also a link to a video demoing how to unbraid a 7-loop braid—the same principle holds for 5-loop braids. Nine and 11-loop braids are unbraided a bit differently, I give a text description of how to unbraid them, and also how to work your way through undoing a mistake, once you have unbraided back to it.
Ways to set down your loops in the middle of braiding.
Video, photos, text.
Ways to braid LONGER loop braids –up to several feet or yards/meters (first part of post). Photos, text.
Ways to start a braid with a loop and no loose ends at the start of the braid (click on link, then click to go to second half of the post). Text, photos, one video, more to come.
In case you are interested in starting your own blog or website:
Why I chose wordpress.com to host my site – as a non-techie who doesn’t (or didn’t, anyway) know anything about web design, coding, etc. For some reason this side-note is at the end of my Kute-Uchi tutorial.
I actually don’t consider the first tutorials below to be too many loops! They do require using your thumbs to hold loops, but the thumb is at least as nimble and versatile as the index finger—just watch young people texting. Or put all your fingertips on the surface of a table, and then use each digit in turn and try to ‘draw’ a circle on the tabletop with it without moving the other fingers. Braiding with nine loops and all ten fingers is now documented historically from Finland and – unpublished, but known to me by personal communication – from China. I learned it on my own after being told by my first loop braiding teacher that it was possible to do. After a little practice, it becomes a very efficient way to braid with more loops—just as fast and automatic as making 5 and 7-loop braids.
9-loop braids: (square and flat braids, also info on unorthodox variations) Requires using thumbs. Go ahead and try 9-loop braids as soon as you are fairly comfortable making 7-loop braids. [rationale in footnote here] Two videos, photos, text. The way I demo using thumbs is the basis for how I braid all braids of more than 8 loops. Miscellaneous info in the “notes” section following the tutorial: historical references to 9-loop braids, current revival of loop braiding, how I found out about loop braiding.
Unorthodox braids of 9 loops: In the notes section following the main 9-loop tutorial. Text instruction for 2 unorthodox (UO) braids, and how to come up with more on your own. Unorthodox braids deserve a whole series of posts/tutorials that I
haven’t gotten to yet have just started on (see the 7-loop D-shaped braid). I have an information page about unorthodox braids here.
Lace Dawns and Lace Piol Alternate method to the one taught in the medieval manuscripts. This is a much quicker way to make these 8-loop braids (if you are used to using thumbs, as taught in my 9-loop tutorial). Video, text.
Solo-braider method for the 10-loop “Nun’s Letterbraid“
My solo-braider workaround method for making one of the two known 10-loop “letterbraids” (alphabet inscription braids) from the 17th Century. See also my information page on the publication by Joy Boutrup that “broke the code” of these braids. (in my upper menu, hover on About, then click on Letterbraids of the 17th Century in the drop-down menu.)
11-loop braids. (square, flat, also info on unorthodox variations) 2 videos, photo-tutorial, text. Requires holding a loop on each thumb and 2 loops on the little fingers. Wait til 9-loop braiding moves are automatic before moving on to 11 loops.
The way I show of dealing with the extra loop on the little finger (along with loops on the thumbs) is the basis for how I make almost all braids of more than 10 loops, including double braids of 12-18 loops, the 14-loop letterbraid, and most of the braids in my header photo.
Demo: 12-loop double braid (hollow variation).
My method for 12-loop double braids requires holding two loops on each little finger, and one loop each on all other fingers (incl. thumbs). By “demo” I mean a very brief tutorial, mostly consisting of a single video, showing the braiding moves for one variation of the braid.
13-loop square braids (flat, and unorthodox as well, depending on how you perform the loop transfers). This is a text-only how-to, at the end of my photo-tutorial for 11-loop braids. (I’m hoping it might not need its own video—once you’ve learned the 11-loop braid, this one is very similar.) In the Comments section below my 11-loop tutorial. Learn the 11-loop braid first, add two more loops only after 11-loop braiding moves are automatic.
Demo: 13-loop square braid with color-linking. The braid I’m demoing is the flat variation of a square braid. Video demo. There are a lot of extra moves in this braid because of the color-linking, so this video will probably not be very helpful for learning regular 13-loop square braids.
[new] Notes on my method for making the 14-loop Letterbraid as a solo-braider. No video or photos. General strategies, and detailed descriptions of moves. Requires using thumbs, and carrying 3 loops on the little fingers.
Re learning braids of more loops: The progression must be one step at a time. Don’t try to learn 13-loop braids before learning how to make 11-loop braids. (I know because I’ve tried!) Loop braids are faster to make than similar-sized macrame-type knotted pieces, once you’ve gotten used to making them. But unlike macrame, each increase in the number of strands for a fingerloop braid requires learning a new physical skill or two.
I am open to video requests (even for loop braids that aren’t on my blog) Leave a note under “comments” below, or email me. If the braid you want to learn is one of my braids with a lot of loops, be sure to learn its prerequisite braids first: if it has more than 8 loops, my 9-loop square braid tutorial is a necessary prerequisite. The 11-loop square braid is a necessary prerequisite before learning braids of more than 10 loops. And the 13-loop square braid will be very helpful to learn before braids of 14-18 loops.
Videos that don’t have written posts on this blog:
These were my first videos—I made them to go with a series of pdf photo-tutorials I was making for the yahoo discussion group Braids_and_Bands. I’ve since placed the 3-loop braid photo-tutorial into a post on this blog, but the 2-loop and spiral braid pdf photo-tutorials are still only available from the Braids_and_Bands’ file section–link is in the header menu of their online site. (You need to join the group to be able to access the file section.)
Note: My pdf photo-tutorials on the spiral braids and the 2-loop braid are a series, and the first one (on 2-loop braids) is prerequisite for all the spiral braid pdf tutorials. It shows step-by-step photos for the basic braiding move of all the spiral braids, which is not duplicated in the other tutorials. The other pdfs on the Spiral braids show the loop set-ups and sequence of moves, and also have photos of a keyfob project you can make with a spiral braid.
Spiral Braids of 4 to 10 loops (lace bend rounde)
Right-handed (see further down for the left-handed versions):
6-loop Spiral braid, part 1, incl 3 different ways to exchange w/out turning the loop—results in no torque to the braid (a straighter braid, nice for when you are braiding a version with lengthwise striping. Also fine for the spiral pattern.)
6-loop Spiral braid, part 2, adding a loop into the braid
8-loop Spiral braid, part 1, (lace bend round of viii bowes)
8-loop Spiral braid, part 2, (including vertical/ lengthwise stripes patterns. This non-spiral type of color pattern can be made with any number of loops, from 4 on up)
8-loop Spiral braid, part 3, (including a divided spiral braid, which makes two little 4-loop spiral braids at the same time—great for forming a loop in the braid.)
10-loop Spiral braid (requires using thumbs.)
A 16-loop Spiral Braid is described in two of the 15th C. English loop braiding manuscripts, to be made by two braiders working together—the “Bend of 16 bows for 2 fellows” (Tollemache and Harley, but Noémi Speiser warns that the Tollemache description is flawed in some way [see p.64 of OEPBforLB])
I recently came up with a way to make spiral braids of up to 20 loops braiding solo. Each ‘extra’ pair of loops (beyond 10) requires loop-shifting moves at the end of each cycle to get the loops back into starting-position. These spiral braid loop-shifts aren’t quite as fast as the loop-shifting in square braids, so especially beyond 12 and 14 loops the braids get rather slow to make compared to double braids of the same number of loops but very convenient loop-shifting moves. These spiral braids of “too-many-loops” are doable, though, just slow. I probably won’t be posting tutorials for them unless there is an interest out there. If you’ve learned the 10-loop spiral and want a video for how to handle more loops than that, let me know.
4-loop Spiral braid, left handed
6-loop Spiral braid, left handed
8-loop Spiral braid, left handed (Shows 2 things not covered in the right-handed videos: how to make the spiral pattern change direction, and how to unbraid a spiral braid for several cycles. Skip to halfway or so through the video, to just where I start to join up the mid-braid loop I’ve made in the braid.)
Color and Shape Variations:
Check out Dominic’s bracelet for a one-color spiral braid. This makes a great texture.
Using 2 very different sizes of thread or yarn for the two colors of the spiral is a fun effect, see my header photo at the top of the page, second braid from the right. The 10-loop video demos this, but it can be done with any number of loops.
“Spiral” braids can also have other color patterns than the spiral one, including lengthwise striping, a spiral with 2 lengthwise stripes (like seams) on the two sides of the braid, various dots, and a pattern similar to the classic “Grene Dorge” or Barleycorn pattern. To get other color patterns, vary the way you set the colors on the fingers at the start of braiding.
For lengthwise striping, set up the colors on the fingers so that at least one finger on each hand will be exchanging the same color loop with its “partner” finger on the other hand. (in other words, for any two fingers that are loop-exchanging ‘partners’ on opposite hands: If they both have the same color loops, there will be a lengthwise stripe of that color on opposite sides of the braid.)
If any two loop-exchanging fingers carry 2 different colors, there will be a “polka-dot” stripe of those two colors on both sides of the braid. (To make this clearer, the other fingers should all hold loops of a single color that contrasts with the the two polka-dot colors—the resulting color pattern will be similar to the color pattern of the classic Barleycorn or “grene dorg” braid.)
* Loop braiding encompasses both finger loop braiding (“finger-held loop-manipulation braiding” is a more technical term), and hand-held loop braiding—see my kute-uchi tutorial, as well as the photos at the very bottom of my article on Rodrick Owen and ancient Peruvian flat braids.