Effective hand positions →
For any number of loops, not just 9.
(In this photo, the left hand is the loop-fetcher, and the right hand is the ‘passive’ hand.)
When you are about to put the operator finger through the “passive” hand’s loops, hold the passive hand as shown in this photo. Loops are not held near the palm or they would be too close together. 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. This creates a tunnel of loops for the operator finger to go through. All the loops of the ‘passive’ hand are held gently taut. That tunnel of loops should not sag, or it would be difficult for the active finger to reach through them. (other hand’s loops can sag – just bend those fingers so their loops don’t fall off)
It’s a common tendency for new braiders to do the exact opposite of everything I mention in the paragraph above, which ends up making the braiding much more difficult! I can’t jump out of your laptop to correct this, which is why I’m spelling it all out in so much detail.
This hand position makes a smooth, easy path of loops for the operator finger to go through. The passive hand presents the active hand with a tunnel of loops, so the operator finger can slide through them all without having to weave in and out. That’s why the loops are held at the middle or tips of the fingers, not at the base, and are lined up somewhat behind the little finger loop.
Loops on 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 not hard to slide loops forward or back on the fingers – just tip the whole hand forward or back, while keeping the fingers bent so the loops don’t slip off.)
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 the thumb-loop (see right hand in photo below).
Last updated Sep/15/2018
© 2011–2018 Ingrid Crickmore
Adapted and expanded from my original version, published on M. Kinoshita’s LMBRIC site in 2008