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Divided-braid no-ends loop-start #1:
This start can only be used for single-color loops. (If using any bicolor loops, try Divided-braid loop-start #2, or use the completely different Divided-braid loop-start #3.)

This divided-braiding no-ends start is the easiest to learn. It works for any number of loops, doesn’t have to be three. I taught this method in the Easy 3-loop Braids tutorial (with a downloadable photo-tutorial including this start). That tutorial page also has a video for this start that I’m adding below. In the video, I use a header cord to hold the loops, while in the photo-tute I use the handle of my C-clamp. (Or you can use a shower-curtain ring, as shown in photos back on my main post Starts Without Ends). Either way, it’s basically the same start.

[Notice in the video that I tie the header-cord into a big “O”-shaped loop to hold the braiding loops—I do not tighten the header-cord ONTO the loops (with a larks-head or any type of knot). For no-ends starts, the loops should be able to slide freely on the header cord, they should not be constricted by the cord, or the braid will have loose, gappy threads at the top after you take off the header-cord.]

In the video above I am demoing with a 3-loop braid. You can do the same thing with any number of loops, though.

For braids of more than 3 loops I make all the left hand loops first, lay them down together, and then tie each right loop through the big circle of all the left loops. I end up with two bunches of loops, linked together like two links in a chain.

(I borrowed this photo from my description of a different loop start, the Handshake loop start that I describe back on my main post Starts Without Ends. Both starts have the same initial loop set-up. But the braiding for the two starts is totally different! The start I’m describing here uses divided braiding to form both sides of the braided loop simultaneously. The Handshake loop start requires two separate braiding procedures, one for each side of the braided loop.

Keeping the ends of the left and right bunch of loops separate, suspend a thick header loop of string or cord through all the loops where the two groups are linked around each other (as shown in the video above and the photo below—note: for this divided braid, a much thicker, firmer cord would be easier to use than the thin, limp one in the photo — or alternatively, a nice rigid shower-curtain ring).

In the photo above, I will tie only the ends of the red header string together, making an open, O-shaped header-loop that the braiding loops are suspended from. (Don’t tighten the header string onto the loops, in any way! Not even with a larks-head knot around the loops the way I demoed in my 5-loop tutorial – that was a very different start. Here that would create an unsightly area of baggy, loose threads at the top of your braid.) Then I hang the header-loop onto my c-clamp.

As an alternative to a thick cord, you could suspend all the loops over the horizontal handle of the C-clamp, mounted upside-down on a table (as shown in my 3-loop braid pdf photo-tutorial), OR onto a shower-curtain ring.

After the loops are all hanging from an open uncinched header loop that itself is hanging from a firm point, you are ready to put them on your fingers. Load them onto your fingers from left-to-right, first with the loops in the left bunch: Pick up a loop (any of the loops of that left bunch of loops) and load it onto your leftmost braiding finger (left thumb or index), then continue left-to-right with the other fingers of the left hand, ending with the left little finger. Then load the loops of the right bunch of loops onto the fingers of the right hand, still left-to-right, so now you will start by loading the right little finger, and end with the right index or thumb.

You must set each loop straight onto its finger, that is, making sure that the loop has no twists between your finger and the header (cord, curtain ring, or bar). For each loop, the upper shank on your finger should go over the top of the header, and the lower shank to the lower side of the header, with no twist along the loop. Also, no lower shank of any loop should pass over the top of any loop’s upper shank. Either of those two possibilities would end up tying the braided loop together immediately under the header cord (or bar, etc), creating a very messy start.

All the loops should form an open circular path around your fingers and the bar or header cord at the top.

Begin braiding a divided braid with all the loops—all transfers straight (unreversed/ open/ unturned). Tighten hard for the first few times, to avoid looseness at the top of the braid.

When the divided section has reached the length you want for your starting loop, begin making the appropriate turned (crossed/ reversed) transfers for whatever braid you will be making. This will join up the divided loop portion. Now a single braid will start to form, with a loop or eyelet where you began braiding, and no tassel of ends at the top.

Unlike the “handshake start” that I describe under ‘Non-divided loop starts‘, here you braid both halves of the loop/eyelet simultaneously. The “handshake start” has an identical initial set-up, but is braided very differently, and looks quite different as well.

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Last updated Jan/28/2018

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