Header photo

[Any weird technical terms are probably over-explained on my Terminology page]

Header photo braids:
The header photo on my blog is just a photo of some of my loop braids. It’s a blog decoration, not meant to be a pictorial guide to my tutorials. Most of the braids are embroidery floss and or 5/2 perle but a few are thicker cotton or other fibers. Some of the braids are traditional, some are original, some are a little of both. I made all of them solo, including the ones that traditionally would have been made by two or more co-operating braiders.
I do have tutorials for braids #10, 14, 15, 16, as well as for many more braids than shown in the header photo. There are links below to any online sources I know of for those traditional braids not covered in my tutorials.

Left to right:

1. double-tubular (‘couvert’) braid in plain/ tabby weave, thicker cotton yarn, probably 15 loops. Double-tubular braids have an inner braided tube surrounded by an outer braided tube. The inner and outer tubes are braided simultaneously – one formed by the upper shanks of all the loops; the other formed by the lower shanks of all the loops. If you use bicolor loops, the two braided tubes can be of different colors, in which case you can turn the loops whenever you want to switch the inner and outer colors. In the leftmost braid, one braided tube is black and white and the other is reds and oranges. I learned how to make double-tubular twill braids from Masako Kinoshita’s description on her L-MBRIC site—see #2 here. Later I applied that tube-within-a-tube idea to these plain-weave braids that I make with my own “too-many-loops” method. Double-tubular braids are described in much detail (possibly overwhelming detail, if you are just trying to learn how to make them!) in OEPBforLB. Here’s a link to Cindy Myers’ online directions for one double-tubuler braid (note: she calls them couvert/ couerte braids, which is what they were called in old loop braiding manuscripts). Her index includes directions for many of these braids. All or most of them require two people braiding together.

2. plain weave, braided as a doubleweave that opens to be flat. I came up with the plain-weave loop braiding method for these “too-many-loops” braids on my own (braids 1-4, 9, 12, 13). (It may not be the most efficient method!) 15 loops.

3. double-tubular, plain weave, 16 loops (see #1). Here, one of the tubes is black and white, the other green and pink.

4. A variation of the same plain weave method; the method is almost the same, but the result is different. In this braid, every transferred loop was turned, which results in “plain oblique twining,” also known as POT. 15 loops. [I now have a blog-post about this braid, but it’s not a tutorial]

5. like #8, katheren wheele, but without the openwork. Flat, 15-loop braid. Traditionally would have been made by 3 braiders co-operating. Although this braid may not be notated in the old loop braiding manuscripts(?), it would have been quite obvious and likely a prerequisite braid for any braider familiar with the Katheren Wheele braid. (This is one of many braids not specifically notated in those manuscripts, but which can logically be inferred to have been well-known at the time the manuscripts were written).

6. My 16-loop extension of the 12-loop “Lace Vice of 3 colors” from the Serene manuscript. (See L-MBRIC issue 12, near bottom of page for photo and link to Joy Boutrup’s instructions for the original 12-loop braid—this is where I learned it. The 12-loop Lace Vice was made by two braiders co-operating, each holding 6 loops.)

7. Double Grene Dorge (double Barleycorn) braid , 15th C. 12 loops. See fingerloop.org’s instructions (for two braiders working in co-operation on one braid).

8. Katheren Wheel, 15th C. 15 loops. This was traditionally made by three braiders working together side-by-side and exchanging loops to connect their braids. Each braider does the moves of a 5-loop braid–two consistently making “divided” square braid moves, and a braider on one end consistently making “flat” square braid moves, just as in braid #5. The lacy “holes” occur when 2 of the braiders stop connecting their braids for a few cycles in a row.

The modern instructions on fingerloop.org for this 3-person braid have some problems. Main one: when three braiders cooperate in making a braid, none should mirror the others’ moves the way two braiders do in making double braids. All 3 braiders should first make a left transfer, then a right one (or vice versa). If one of the braiders does this in the opposite order from the other two, it creates a glitch that a bit later the braiders will have to do some extra work to fudge over.

9. plain weave flat,like #2 , thicker cotton yarn. 15 loops. Original method.

10. Lace Dawns, 15th C. 8 loops (wool) Link goes to my tutorial for this braid, which teaches my “thumbs” method for making this braid with fewer moves than the traditional method. Click here for Cindy Myers’ description of the traditional method.

11. Original method, Unorthodox braid (a type of braid where the taken loop only goes through some of the loops—goes over and/or under the others). 11 loops.

12. plain weave flat, like #2 and 9. 15 loops. Original method

13. like 12 above.

14. Edge and Crowns (Two different bicolor color-patterns alternating. 17th C patterns). The braid is a “Double-square” braid, 10 loops, rectangular in cross-section. I teach this as a solo-braider method, as a 10, 8, or 6-loop braid. I now also have a video and photo-tutorial showing how the 10-loop braiding procedure is done the traditional way by two people working together (the two braiders should learn the 5-loop square braid first – either with the Asian method I teach, or the traditional European A-fell method. 10 loops

15. Spiral braid, called “lace bend round” in the 15th C. (a ‘lace’ meant a ‘braid’ then, as in “shoelace”). Variegated silk yarn and thinner purple linen. 8 loops.

16. Square braid, 21 feet long (6.5m). 7 loops

All my loop braiding tutorials are listed here, in a more organized manner (easiest first), including many braids not shown in the header photo.

The most complete reference and how-to for traditional braids, and for loop braiding in general, is Noémi Speiser’s Old English Pattern Books for Loop Braiding, 2000.

E. Benns and G.Barrett’s Tak V Bowes, Departed also teaches many traditional loop braids, has color photo illustrations, and may be easier to follow. BraidersHand is a U.S. distributor of both books. update: both books are now out-of-print.

This blog is (so far) the main source that teaches the V-fell method for braiding simple loop braids, long practiced in many parts of the world outside Europe. It’s also the only source for my methods of making multi-loop braids as a solo braider.
No longer completely true—the 2012 International Braids Conference proceedings book Strings that Move (see top of my sidebar) includes a how-to article on my solo-braider methods for making all twelve or so of the possible shape variations of double braids.