Effective hand positions →
For any number of loops, not just 9.
(In this photo, the left hand is the active loop-fetcher, and the right hand is the ‘passive’ hand.)
Hold loops on the so-called ‘passive’ hand as shown in this photo. Loops on the passive hand are not held anywhere near the base of the fingers, or they would be too close together – very hard for the operator finger to get through. They are held near the tip or middle of the fingers. The passive hand bends away from the active hand at the wrist, not toward it. Most of the fingers curve back so their loops are arranged/ ranked behind the little finger’s loop. The whole hand makes a sort of curved C-shape, it is not straight.
The goal of the passive hand is to make a clear tunnel of loops for the operator finger to pass through. All the loops on the passive hand are held gently taut and straight. The tunnel of loops must not sag, or the loop-fetching finger wouldn’t be able to reach through them easily. (It’s ok if the other hand’s loops sag, btw – just be sure to bend those fingers so their loops don’t fall off).
This hand position makes a smooth, easy path of loops for the operator finger to go through. The ‘passive’ hand is not really passive at all, it actively helps the operator finger of the other hand get through these loops.
Loops on the other hand – the ‘active’ hand – can be held at the base of the fingers, and they don’t have to be held particularly taut for this part.
It’s a good idea to practice sliding all the loops of one hand forward and back on the fingers – just tip the whole hand forward or back, while keeping the fingers bent so the loops won’t slide all the way off the tips. Close to the palm is good for ‘safekeeping’, like when you need to pick up a dropped loop for example. At or close to the outer knuckle is better for braiding through.
For efficient braiding, hands should not be held palms-up facing the sky. If the passive hand is held palm-up, the active/operator finger has to bob up and down between the the loops to get through them. This is very inefficient, and becomes especially slow with this many loops. (Try to unlearn that habit if it already is one.)
Note that the active hand turns slightly palm-down to hook down onto a loop when it takes it (see right hand in photo below).
Last updated Dec/25/2018
© 2011–2018 Ingrid Crickmore
Adapted and expanded from my original version, published on M. Kinoshita’s LMBRIC site in 2008