More square braid color set-ups

…for the braids in the three photos below:

fingerloop braid of 6 loops, two bicolor patterns in one braid

Photo 1: Square braid, 6 loops, all bicolor, two different patterns.

Learn how to braid these square braids from my Start Here–5 loops, and Continue Here–7 loops tutorials. In this post, I’m just showing the color set-ups for some specific color-patterns for these square braids.

Photo 1, above: 6-loop square braid with 2 color patterns (Pattern A and Pattern B).

Six loops, all bicolor:
3 bicolor loops of variegated yarn + black
3 bicolor loops of gray + black

I used what I had on hand. My variegated yarn was a silk knitting yarn with a mix of light rainbow colors, my black was a slightly thinner linen yarn, and my gray was a different brand of linen, doubled to be approximately the same size as the black. (unknown brands) You don’t need to use these exact yarns or thicknesses! A variegated yarn of light colors will give a mix of colors down the braid, and will contrast well with the black. If you don’t have a variegated yarn, substitute a light or bright color you like that contrasts well with black.

This braid has two different color patterns in various parts of the braid. Both color-patterns require using an even number of loops, so they can’t be made with a 5 or 7-loop braid. (Directions for making a 6-loop square braid follow the set-up info below.)

A, B, C, D = Index, Middle, Ring, Little fingers

Pattern A
Black lengthwise stripe along two sides of the braid, with alternating variegated and gray on the other two sides.
(this pattern is shown in photo 2 below)

Starting set-up on the fingers:

6 loops, each loop bicolor:
3 bicolor loops of variegated yarn + black
3 bicolor loops of gray + black

Left hand: A, B, C Variegated/black loops with black shanks uppermost on the fingers, variegated shanks down.
Right hand: A, B, C Gray/black loops with gray shanks uppermost, black shanks down.

Pattern B
Black V’s, alternating with variegated + gray V’s.

Starting set-up on the fingers:

6 loops, each loop bicolor:
3 bicolor loops of variegated yarn + black
3 bicolor loops of gray + black

Left hand:
A black up/varieg.down, B gray up/black down, C black up/varieg.down
Right hand:
A black up/gray down, B varieg.up/black down, C black up/gray down.

Braid a 6-loop square braid. This is halfway between a 5-loop braid and a 7-loop braid.

Start with three loops on each hand. Braid as taught in my 5 and 7-loop tutorials. The little finger of one hand will be the “loop-fetcher”, while on the other hand it will be the ring finger that fetches loops. This may sound confusing, but it will become clear while you are braiding!

Both color-patterns require an even number of loops. They would also look good in an 8-loop braid, see my 9-loop tutorial to learn the braiding method for the one hand that will use a thumb.

Note: In the photo, the two ends of the braid (lower left) look different because they were each divided to form a loop, and then divided below the loops into a fringe of smaller braids. The all-black section is a loop (black shanks uppermost on all fingers, no transfers turned). This braid was started from the center, not at one end of the braid.

See my Bicolor Loop Magic post for a tutorial on using bicolor loops to make a variety of patterns within one braid.

See my Color-Patterning post for more color-pattern set-ups for square and flat braids of 5 and 7 loops.

The upper braid in Photo 2 is a 9-loop square braid:

finger loop braids, 9 and 6 loops

Photo 2: upper braid is a 9-loop square braid, single and bicolor loops, perle cotton. Lower braid is Pattern A from first set of instructions above.

3 black loops, 2 white loops, 4 bicolor turquoise + gold loops

Left hand: Thumb black, A white, B black, C white, D black
Right hand: Thumb, A, B, C bicolor loops with gold shanks uppermost on fingers.

Most of the braids in the photo below can be made with almost any number of loops, at least in an approximation of these patterns. Not however the 11-loop purple and green braid with contrasting white and red areas (it’s a variation of the 9-loop pattern taught above). The others are variations of one pattern: Bicolor loops with one or two single-color loops.

Square braids (linen, cotton, a bit of silk). Bicolor loops mixed with single-color loops

Photo 3: Square braids (linen, cotton, linen with silk). Bicolor loops mixed with single-color loops

Bicolor striping plus contrast loop(s):

All are square braids. In the long pink and black braid, there is only one all-pink loop. All the other loops are bicolor, each loop made from one pink and one black strand tied together. [I didn’t use just one pink — I mixed it up with a few different pinkish cotton crochet threads for the different loops, but that isn’t necessary, you could use the same pink thread for all the loops.] The one all-pink loop blends into the pink columns of the braid, and only stands out in the black columns:

Any number of loops, 1 loop all-pink, the other loops bicolor pink+black
Left hand:
All loops pink+black bicolor with BLACK shanks uppermost on fingers.
Right hand:
All loops but one pink+black bicolor, with PINK shanks uppermost on fingers.
It actually doesn’t matter which hand or finger the all-pink loop starts out on.
Braid as for a square braid.

The gray and white braid at the bottom has the same basic setup, but with bicolor loops of gray+white, and a single-color loop of magenta. In this braid, the single-color magenta loop contrasts across both of the lengthwise colors, so it creates 2-column magenta ‘chevrons’ rather than single-column ‘slashes’.

(Actually, in the 11- or 13-loop gray, white, and magenta braid in the photo, there are two magenta loops—on two adjacent fingers—rather than one, but for a 5 or 7-loop braid you should use just one magenta loop for about the same effect—substitute it for the all-pink loop in the directions above.)

The other two braids of this type in the photo (black/white/red braid and the knotted braid) have “too many” bicolor loops, and just one contrast loop that barely shows in the braid. All these braids are of fine linen thread. (I improvised the knots in the reddish braid, am hoping no knot-experts see them!)

11-loop square braid of green, purple, red, white:

6 bicolor loops of green + purple
3 red loops
2 white loops

Left hand: 6 bicolor loops, purple shanks up (Thumb to D-high)
Right hand: Thumb red, A white, B red, C white, D-low red

I actually like this braid a lot, but am slightly embarrassed to show pics of it! My green, purple and (I think) the red loops were fine gauge linen, while the white loops were a very slippery fine gauge silk twist, which was a bad combination of textures. The silk and linen tended to slip over/ under each other and get ‘lost’, so this braid looks a little sloppy to me. I think the pattern would stand out more clearly with embroidery floss or other threads that are less slippery than this combination.

If you have a favorite square or flat braid color pattern or color scheme you would like to share, I would love to post your photo, or a link to it! The same color pattern can look very different when done with a different arrangement of colors—it would be great to have more examples…

That issue of I mentioned above about threads slipping under other threads and getting “lost” on the surface of the braid is less of a problem in braids that have more complex interlacing than square braids. For instance, spanish or double braids. Square braids have fewer “interlacements” across the braid, no matter how many loops are used. That’s because there are only two braiding moves in each row/ braiding cycle. They create the two braided columns on the top surface, and the two columns on the bottom surface of the braid, regardless of how many total loops are in the braid.

In a 5-loop square braid each pass of a thread goes over or under only two other threads.* In an 11-loop square braid, each pass of a thread makes a much longer float across those four columns—stretching over or under five other threads. So it has the potential to be a little ‘messier’ than a square braid of fewer loops, especially with fine high-twist threads.

I don’t mean this as a long-winded excuse for my messy braid! Just an fyi on how square braids of more loops differ from square braids of fewer loops. They can have much longer and more complex color repeats!—like the alternations of 5 black and white loops set apart by 4 bicolor loops in the braid in photo 2. You can’t get that pattern in a 5 or 7-loop square braid.

But they aren’t any more complex than smaller square braids in terms of their “architecture”—their braided structure.  Their threads just have longer floats over the same 4 columns/ ridges as in a 5-loop square braid.

*not including a little extra “over one” where loops are turned on the edges of the braid.

© 2013–2015 Ingrid Crickmore

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