8-loop Double Braid color patterns

In answer to a request, here are the color and loop set-ups for 13 of the 8-loop double braids in the photo below, plus two flat double braid set-ups from a photo sent in by reader Dan Gaiser. Altogether eleven flat, one solid rectangle, one hollow rectangle, and two side-slit rectangle double braids. This post only teaches the color set-ups – the braiding methods are taught in the respective tutorials for solid rectangle, flat, and hollow double braids.

The “Side-slit double braid” is yet another double braid variation. (Method explained below – not taught in my double braid tutorials.) This braid looks very similar in shape to solid-rectangle double braids, but it has a shallow slit along both edges. The two layers of the braid are connected in two places at the center of the braid, but unconnected at the very outer edges. It has some fun color-patterns that can’t be made with ‘normal’ rectangle double braids. Side-slit braids were often used for purse-strings in Medieval and later periods, judging by references to extant museum specimens in articles by Noemi Speiser and Joy Boutrup.

Side-slit rectangle double braid instructions:
Inner two transfers are turned (1st and 3rd transfer); outer two transfers are NOT turned (2nd and 4th). Exactly the opposite of the hollow double braid.
[Update 8/22/2020: I just posted a video tutorial for a 10-loop side-slit double braid known as the French String with Open Edges, though the tutorial teaches a very different type of loop-exchange with a resulting difference to the midsection of the braid. If you follow the braiding moves of that video, but use the ‘regular’ loop-exchange method of my double braid tutorials, you will have a 10-loop side-slit braid similar to these 8-loop versions.]

[click photo to see braids more clearly]
version2, 8-LoopDoubleBraids

The braiding method for these braids is taught in my three double braid tutorials (see links above). Here I’m just showing the starting positions of loop-colors on the fingers for particular color-patterns for those braids.

A, B, C, and D = index, middle, ring, little fingers.


Braids #4 and #5 from the left are side-slit rectangle braids.
Braid #4 can also be made as a solid rectangle braid with no difference to the pattern. But braid #5 has bicolor loops, and so will come out a bit differently (but nice-looking!) if braided as a solid rectangle braid.

#4…Alternating blue and white chevrons. 4 blue loops, 4 white
Start with A, B White; C , D Blue (on both hands)
The braid can be made as a solid rectangle or a side-slit rectangle (explained below) with no change to the pattern.

#5… Brown/Blue chevrons alternating with white.
4 white loops, 4 bicolor loops of brown/blue
A, B White; C, D bicolor (Brown/Blue) on both hands
Left C and D have brown facing up; Right C and D have blue facing up.

The braid’s color-pattern will look different than shown in photo if braided as a solid rectangle braid. For exact pattern, follow instructions above.

version2, 8-LoopDoubleBraids

SOLID RECTANGLE double braid:

#10… Orange, pink, and off-white. 2 color-patterns. This slight color variation of the standard Crowns and Edge patterns uses two slightly different colors for the non-white shanks. Unfortunately, the orange and dark pink came out looking almost the same in this photo–in real life they contrast more. Navy and blue (+ white) also makes a nice combination. Alternating the Edge and Crowns patterns in one braid is explained in my first double braid tutorial.

I made this braid (and the side-slit rectangle braids) with doubled embroidery floss, so the braids would be about as wide as the flat braids in this photo. Normally I wouldn’t do that, to me they’re a little on the clunky side. But that’s just a matter of personal preference, and also depends on your end use for the braid.

8 bicolor loops: 4 loops white + orange; 4 loops white + dark pink.

3-color EDGE:
A, B white up/ orange down; C, D pink up/ white down (both hands)
And further down in braid, the reverse:
A, B orange up/ white down; C, D white up/ pink down

3-color CROWNS:
White down on all fingers, and
A, B orange up; C, D pink up, both hands.

HOLLOW RECTANGLE double braid:
#18… Last braid on right. Black with orange and gold eagle (or lobster/ crawdad) shapes:
Left hand: A Orange, B Gold, C Orange, D Black
Right hand: All Black (A,B,C,D)

Braids #6, 12, 13, 16, 17 are double braids that are neither flat nor rectangular. I don’t yet have tutorials for them here.
My article in Threads That Move [see right sidebar] explains their braiding methods, as well as several other double braid shapes. If you have that article, and would like to have the color-pattern setup for any of the braids in photos, or have any other questions, email me through the contact form in my top menu (hover on the ABOUT tab, click on CONTACT in the drop-down menu).

Only the 4th loop transfer is turned (right outer transfer), as shown in my videos. Turning only the 2nd transfer (left outer transfer) would also make a flat double braid, but would require different color set-ups for many of these patterns.

#1… Red borders, purple and white center
L hand: A,B,C,D red loops
R hand: A,B,C,D purple/white bicolor loops, all with the same color up.
Color-linking at final loop-exchange (exchange loops twice—demonstrated in 2nd video of my flat double braid tutorial)

#2… Red and White in alternating and zigzagging rows
A Red, B and C White, D Red (both hands)

Thicker zig-zag – a variation of #2 above (not pictured):

A and B White, C and D Red (both hands)

[For both these zig-zag patterns you may need to be extra careful with the tightening and do a little supplementary “tweaking” of the tightening to get the pattern to come out evenly across the braid. Any of the patterns can have a tendency to slip into a slight diagonal, it just shows more with these zig-zag rows. If the rows slide into a diagonal, the zigs and zags will flatten out.]

#3… Black and white borders, yellow center
L hand: A,D white; B,C black
R hand: All yellow
Color-linking at final loop-exchange (exchange loops twice, see #1)
Only the R outer transfer is turned (for a yellow center)
Or turn only the L outer transfer (for yellow edges and black/white center)

#7… White border, black and white center
L hand: all white
R hand: A,B white; C,D black
Color-linking at final loop-exchange (exchange loops twice, see #1)

[Update Aug 1, 2020: Originally I had erroneously posted the following set-up for #7, thank you to Suzyscans in comments below for pointing out that it creates a different central pattern from the one shown in my photo!]

Variant of #7: Black-white stacked W’s in center of white braid (not shown in photo)
L hand: all white
R hand: A,D white; B,C black

#8… White border, light blue and black center
L hand: all white
R hand: A,B,C light blue; D black
Color-linking at final loop-exchange (exchange loops twice, see #1)

version2, 8-LoopDoubleBraids

#9… Purple and white
A,B Purple; C,D White (both hands)

#11… Black with gold + orange eagle shapes
L hand: A Orange, B Gold, C Orange, D Black
R hand: All Black (A,B,C,D)
(same set-up as last braid on right, but here done as a flat braid)

#14… Exact same pattern and set-up as 11. The eagle pattern doesn’t show clearly with these more muted colors (mottled gray for black, and white for orange).

#15… White, purple, gold
All loops bicolor: 4 loops white/ purple; 4 loops white/ gold
L hand: A, B, C, D purple up/ white down
R hand: A gold down, B, C, D gold up

The set-up above results in a large zigzag stripe of purple and gold that is of 3 golds, followed by 4 purples, then 1 gold.

For more variations of zigzag stripes, see my more recent post: Flat Braid Zig-zag Patterns.


Here is Dan Gaiser’s photo of an 8-loop flat double braid, showing two different patterns, that he kindly allowed me to share:

I started out with solid color loops, alternating blue, white, blue, white on one hand and all light blue-grey on the other. Somewhere along the way the order got switched and the whites were together. The accident made a nice braid.

Accidents make the best patterns! In these colors the pattern with all the whites together works better, really stands out.

But if you look closely at the middle-top section, I think that’s a great pattern,too, where the blue is outlined with white, and followed by a long section of blue-grey. It looks great here, and would pop out even more with colors that had more contrast.

The original color order in the braid was:
white, blue, blue, white,
followed by the 4 blue-grey loops.

This order can look quite different when loops are mounted on the fingers! That’s because of the loop-order for double braids:

The first color in the sequence–here, white–is always the Left B loop, the 2nd color is on A, third on C and 4th on D.
Followed by the other hand’s loops in that same order.

Dan’s first pattern:
Left A blue, B white, C blue, D white
Right A, B, C, D blue-grey

Dan’s second pattern:
Left A and B blue, C and D white
Right A, B, C, D: blue-grey

Thanks for sharing the photo, Dan!

Note: I am fairly sure the set-ups above are correct! If you find that any are wrong, please leave me a note in the comment field below.

last updated Aug/1/2020
© 2013–2020 Ingrid Crickmore

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13 thoughts on “8-loop Double Braid color patterns

  1. I am struggling with #7 and not quite sure what I am doing wrong. I’ve made it twice, watched the video numerous times, am only turning the 4th transfer and exchange the final loops twice. Both attempts resulted in a rope with black Ws going down the middle with white borders, a shape distinctly different from your examples. Could it be a tension issue or something?

    • Hmm, not sure what you mean by a “rope” with borders – is the middle section rounded, then with flat border edges?
      If you email me through my contact form (hover on the ‘about’ tab – the rightmost upper menu tab, contact form is in the drop-down), I’ll let you know how to send a photo, maybe that will make it more clear to me what’s going on.

      • Oops, I just looked at the set up I gave for #7 – if you are getting a truly flat braid and just the black and white pattern in the center is wrong, I may have given the wrong color setup! Try Right hand A, B black and C, D white! I don’t have time to try this out myself right now, rushing out the door, will check later. SORRY if my mistake!

  2. Beautiful! I really do appreciate having the color patterns. I have no idea how long it would take me to experiment and find the fun patterns shown. Thanks again 🙂

  3. I can’t wait for the garden’s harvest to be on the shelf so I can once again turn my hands to other pursuits. What an eye full of color patterns here. Thanks so much for sharing your patient work so that we all can learn all these finger dances with color!

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