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How to make a “Handshake” center-start:

I only have photos of this start used as a loop for the top of a braid, not as the center of a whole braid. Click on the photo below to enlarge it and see the “handshake” join area at the top of the loop more clearly. Looking only at the loop, and not the rest of the braid below the loop, imagine the loop section spread out as a long braid with that handshake join at its center.

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.

Prepare one set of loops for half the length of the braid, each loop tied separately. (In the colors that you’ve chosen for one half of the length of your braid.) Each loop should be no longer than your regular maximum length. Then one-at-at-a-time, thread and tie each strand for the other half of the braid through that first set of loops, so the second set of loops is linked onto the first bunch of loops (see photos).

[The photos below are from an old tutorial of mine on the Braids_and_Bands yahoo list. These loops wouldn’t make a particularly long braid, but they illustrate the basic idea.]

I actually rarely use a header cord for this (the red string in the photo below)–I tend to use one of the two bunches of loops as the header, and just tie it into a knot and hang it over the bar of my C-clamp.

Either way works–you braid outward on the first set of loops (here, the green ones), all the way to the end. Then you take the braid off the attachment point, and use the newly braided section to tie it back onto that point. Braid outward from the middle again, now braiding the second set of loops (here, the purple ones). If you tighten well at both starts from the center, there will be a tight “handshake” join at the centerpoint of the braid. (I do not recommend braiding over the top of a table!—I just did that in the photo to display the loops more clearly.)

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Last updated Dec/19/2017

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