This video tutorial demos an alternative method for braiding the two (8-loop) 15th Century braids known as Lace Dawns (also spelled Daunce), and Lace Piole. It is a much faster method, with no extra moves, and no doubled loops on any fingers.
In the original 15th C. manuscripts, the method for making this flat version of an 8-loop square braid requires holding 2 loops on one of the index fingers at certain points, and doing extra moves to accomplish the loop transfer and loop shifting on one of the hands. *.
The way I make this braid, the extra loop is held on the right thumb, as taught in my 9-loop braid tutorial. This makes the braid very straightforward to do—with no more moves than a regular square or flat braid, and no doubled loops on any fingers.
Because this 8-loop braid has an even number of loops, the two hands end up handling different numbers of loops. One hand alternates between holding 3 loops and 4 loops, as when making a 7-loop braid, while the other hand alternates between holding 4 loops and 5, as in making a 9-loop braid. That hand uses its thumb to hold one of the loops, the other hand only uses four fingers.
(Any square or flat braid with an even number of loops has this kind of asymmetry—try a 4-loop square braid and you’ll see what I mean…)
The video below shows the color set-up, how the braid is done using the V-fell method, and explains some strategies for getting the w-pattern to stay level/ not to drift off into a slanted line, as it sometimes tends to do.
This is also how you braid the color variation of this braid that was called Lace Piol in the original documents. Piol is braided the same way as Lace Dawns, but starts with the colors in a different arrangement on the two hands.
Daunce and Piole braids, using the V-fell braiding method:
Basically, you will be following the instructions in my 9-loop tutorial, but reducing the number of loops to 8. The traditional color pattern had four red loops and four white loops. For Lace Dawns, set the colors up on the fingers so that A and B fingers hold one color, and C and D fingers hold the other color; with the same (mirror-image) color arrangement of the loops on both hands.
Dawns also looks nice as a square braid—same starting set-up, then do all the loop transfers turned (reversed/ crossed).
For Lace Piole, all the red loops should start on one hand, and all the white loops on the other.
In both braids, your first move will be to shift the right hand’s loops up to thumb, a, b, c fingers—leaving the little finger free of loops so it can be the “operator” for the first loop transfer.
Then braid as for the flat version of the square braid–turning loops on one side, not turning them on the other.
Only one hand will need to use a thumb.
In each braiding cycle, the first loop transfer will go through 3 loops, while the 2nd transfer will go through 4 loops. This might seem strange at first, but that kind of imbalance always occurs with even-no.-of-loop braids. The resulting structure is a little bit “off” from truly symmetrical as well. But using an even number of loops is the way to get truly alternating color patterns like lace dawns.
Tighten carefully and be prepared to do some fussy fell-correcting—the W-pattern tends to slant.
There will be a slight but visible difference to the braid pattern depending on which side you choose to turn the loops– done one way the two narrower “through 3 loops” ridges will be in the center of the braid, and done the other way the two wider “through 4 loops” ridges will be in the center. My video demos the first way, which was how the medieval manuscripts taught the braid. The turned [crossed/reversed] loop is the first transfer, so is pulled through 3 loops (left hand), while the straight [open/unreversed] transfer loop is the second one, so is pulled through 4 loops (right hand). The left side of the braid will have the “center-fold,” and the right side will be divided. When the braid is opened out, the left hand loops (with shorter passages) will be at the center of the flat braid, while the right hand’s loops (longer passages) will be divided onto both edges of the braid.
The braid in the photo above was actually done the second way—the left A-loop was taken through three loops without a turn, and then the right A-loop was taken through 4 loops with a turn—so the center-fold was on the right side. That’s why the two slanted “legs” at the center of each “W” shape are slightly longer than the outer two “legs” on the edges of the braid. (Not done on purpose, it was just an ingrained habit—I used to make all my flat braids that way.)
I do use an A-fell method for unbraiding Lace Dawns, which would work for braiding, too. Instead of starting with loops on all four fingers of the right hand (which will result in holding two on the index finger after the first move of the braid), I actually start with two loops on the little finger, spaced an inch or so apart, which leaves the index finger free for making the braiding moves. That way, it can reach through all the loops at once, including the two d-finger loops, to make the full loop transfer in one move.
This may not be any faster than the traditional way, because there’s still an extra move–later on, the loop shifting on that hand is helped by a “temporary loop-hold” of the high-d loop by the other hand, so the ring finger loop can shift down to be in D-low position. This is exactly like the temporary loop-hold I demo in my tutorial for making 11-loop braids. I’m very used to this temporary loop hold because of doing it with braids of 11 and more loops, so to me it’s easier than shifting the two loops on the index finger
© 2012–2015 Ingrid Crickmore
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My loop braiding info pages:
About Loop Braiding
A-fell, V-fell, Slentre, and hand-held loop braiding
Old English Pattern Books for Loop Braiding
Alphabet Braids of the 17th Century
Index to Tutorials