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.

Return to the main Starts Without Ends post to see a tip for adding an ‘odd’ loop into the braid below the braided loop at the top, to avoid a thick-thin loop.

Last updated Dec/20/2017

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