1. the Handshake Loop-Start:
I used the Handshake loop start for most of my Sudarium braids, because it emphasizes the two different “halves” of those braids:

fingerloop braiding, 16 loops, 'handshake' looped start

‘Handshake’ loop-start, 16-loop Sudarium braid. 8 pink / purple loops were linked around 8 silver / gold loops at the start of the braid. Click twice to see the ‘handshake’ join of the two color-groups at the start of the braid.

This is really the same technique as the “Handshake” start-from-the-center method that I described in the first half of this post (on Longer Loop Braids). Except that here, you only braid a short distance from the center on both sides. Then you bend that center-start in half and join all the loops together into one braid, which forms a loop at the top of the braid.

The following photos demo the Handshake loop start. (photos are from a series of pdf photo-tutorials on spiral braids that I made for the Braids_and_Bands Yahoo list.) :

I start by tying half my loops—tying them all separately. So for a 6 or 7-loop braid, I would start by making 3 separate loops, each tied with an overhand knot at the the bottom of the loop (where fingers will be inserted).

Then I take the strands for the other 3 (or 4) loops, thread them through the first bunch of tied loops, and tie each of them at the bottom.

Now there is one group of 3 loops linked onto another group of 3 (or 4) loops. Optionally, I can thread a fine, strong header cord through both sets of loops.

Or I can just use one of the 2 sets of loops as the header “cord” for the other set.

I start braiding on only one of these 2 bunches of loops (holding the knotted ends of the loops).

I braid only a short distance.

Then I put those loops down on a holder, or for only 3 loops I might
just drop them and not bother with a holder.

(In the photo above, the green braid is fastened tightly onto the purple loops).
Then I start in the other direction with the second bunch of loops, and braid a short distance.

At this point, I pick up all the loops, and start my main braid. That joins up the 2 ends of the short, braided section, which forms a loop/ buttonhole at the top of my now unified, thicker braid. (note: It’s always necessary to do some creative tightening when joining up the two halves, since they will have loosened up some on each side – try using a finger to beat upward between the loops of each side to tighten them before doing the first combined braiding moves.)

I call this a “handshake loop-start.”

finger loop braiding, spiral braid, looped start

At this point or sooner I pull the header cord out of the join and hang the loop itself over the bar of my C-clamp—the loop in the braid acts as the header cord.

The spiral braid in the photo above is a 6-loop braid, so the two halves of the handshake loop are equal in thickness. That wouldn’t be the case for an odd-number-of-loops braid. Half the loop would be a little thicker than the other half, unless you follow my tip for adding a single loop into the braid below the braided loop-start. That way you can use, say 6 loops to start the braid, then add in the 7th loop just at the base of the handshake loop start, where the two halves of the loop join together.

Click link to return to the main Starts Without Ends post to see my tip for adding an ‘odd’ loop into the braid below the braided loop at the top.

Last updated Dec/20/2017

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