Back in my first year or two of loop braiding, I was somewhat obsessed with figuring out alternative ways to make braids that traditionally required holding more than one loop on a finger – braids – like Lace Daunc (or Dawns), and the “hollow lace of VII bows” group of braids.
I figured that as long as the total number of loops was less than ten, there ought to be a way to ‘translate’ the method into V-fell, so I could use my thumbs to hold any extra loops.
The hardest of these braids to figure out was the Hollow Lace of 7 bows.
The traditional method is not the A-fell braiding method. Noemi Speiser describes the braiding method as producing a ‘transverse fell,’ by which I think she means either a diagonal-shaped fell or a horizontal one (?).
The traditional method for the Hollow Lace of 7 is very odd: you start with 5 loops on one hand (on three fingers–the A and B fingers each hold two loops, and the C finger holds one loop) and only 2 loops on the other hand. The motions are quite fun once you get the hang of it. However, I found them difficult to reverse if I needed to undo back to a mistake. Plus I was obsessed with the idea that there had to be a way to manage the 5-loop side of the braid with just one loop per finger if only I could work out how to get the thumb into the action!
After a lot of trial-and-error, I did finally work out an alternative method using all five fingers and no doubling up of loops. It’s also fun to braid – like the traditional method, the moves alternate between the two hands in a very appealing way (you’ll have to do it to know what I mean!). But I still didn’t understand what was going on in the braid! I just knew that my ‘thumb’ method succeeded in producing all the same braid variations as the traditional method.
I’m now pretty sure that all the braids in the hollow lace of vii ‘family’ have basically the same structure as a 7-loop spanish braid: a two-layer eight-ridge [8-column] braid of half plain weave (through one loop) and half twill (through two loops). The main difference is that the hollow lace’s plain weave sections are at the center of the braid rather than at the outer edges. This does give a slightly different look to the two braids. Now that I understand the structure better, I think one could make the same braid with yet another completely different braiding method, more like the way I braid (or unbraid) double braids, and the way the 7-loop Spanish braid is made. But the odd “transverse” way is quite fun!
Last updated Sep/22/2018
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