Flat Braiding

This is a follow on from the last post.  Do go and have a look because it will introduce two machines in Derwent Valley Mills, and some other interesting information.

In that post, we looked at braiding – the interwinding of strands to make a cord.  We crossed our cords and turned the plate anticlockwise.

Today we are going to use a square plate which enables us to make a type of narrow fabric, by crossing the strands diagonally.  The strands pass alternately over other strands.  Here is a plate threaded up and ready to go – with all of those tendrils, it looks like a jellyfish!  Don’t worry, it doesn’t tend to tangle, because we will not be weaving in a circular motion.

jellyfish

In the image below, you can see what your finished braid will look like.

strap

As I said in the previous post, you can buy a plate, but this plate is so easy to make, and you really just need a piece of strong cardboard to have a go at making a simple braid.  If you haven’t read other posts, I recommend stiff grey board.  This is often used as backing board for art pads and notebooks.  It really is worth keeping when your pads are empty!

To make it, you will need:

  • A piece of strong grey board or other suitable cardboard – 11cms x 11cms
  • A piece of adhesive backed craft foam – 11cms x 11cms
  • A ruler, scissors, fine marker, pencil, craft knife, cutting mat.
  • Some oddments of yarn – in three colours.

making-square-plate-1

Measure and cut out your squares of board, and foam (if you are using it).  Stick the foam.

You will now need to cut out a rectangle in the centre – this one is 1cm x 3cms

Next, mark out at 1cm intervals around the sides of the plate.  Across the top, number them 1-10.  Across the bottom, 11-20 (see below)

making-square-plate-2

Down the sides (though it is not really necessary for this project) mark A-J (capitals) on the left side, and a-i (lower case) on the right side.

You are now ready to make cuts around the edges.  NB: do not cut 1/A, 10/a, J11 and J20 on this plate.  The cuts should measure 1cm in from the edge of the plate – you might find it useful to measure and mark 1cm from the edge all the way around, as a guide.

You are now ready to thread your plate.

Cut seven one metre lengths of one colour, eight one metre lengths of another colour, and two, two metre lengths of a third colour.  the third colour makes the edge of the bracelet and is not so visible.  You might want to consider this when deciding your colourways.

Gather your strands of yarn together and tie a loose knot in one end, approx. 15cm from the end.  Pass the knotted end through the hole in the centre of the plate, to the back.

Keeping the knot in the centre, separate out your strands:

Slot in the eight strands at the top of the plate – starting at slot 2

Slot in the seven strands at the bottom – starting at slot 13.

The other two strands go out to the sides. (see below)

sq-instr-1

Now to start weaving:

  • Take the blue strand (2) at the top, and slot it into the empty slot 12 at the bottom.

2

  • Take the red strand (13) at the bottom and slot it into the empty slot 2 at the top.

sq-ins-3

  • Take the blue strand (3) at the top, and slot it into the empty slot (13) at the bottom. (see below)
  • 2-blues-bottom

Continue in this way to the end.  At the top, 2 – 8 will have the red threads slotted in, with slot 9 empty.

At the bottom, 12 – 19 will have blue threads slotted in.

sq-ins-6

Next, take the side threads out of the slots and pull them gently out to the sides (not upwards).  This will bring together the red and blue threads.  They should touch but not cross (see below)

close-up-of-pulling-strands-together

Now cross the two side threads over (the right thread now slots into the left side of the plate, and the left thread into the right side of the plate).

These are the threads that we are passing our other threads over diagonally.

You can turn the plate upside down and repeat.  However, it is easier, and seems to look neater if you just go back the way you came.  So:

  • Blue thread 19 at the bottom, slots into empty slot 9 at the top.
  • Red thread 8 at the top, slots into empty slot 19 at the bottom.

Continue to the end and then repeat the step with the side threads: take them out of the slots, pull them outwards gently to line up your red and blue threads, cross them over and place them in the slots.

That it!  Simple.  Little ones find it easy – once they are in the swing!

Turning the plate over, to check on progress, offers encouragement.

back-view

When you have reached the required length, pinch the weaving together at the back of the plate and carefully remove the threads.  This flat braid will not unravel as easily as the cord.

People finish off bracelets in a variety of ways.  As there are many threads, it is too bulky to knot them together so I separated the threads.  Split them into two equal groups, then separate each group into three, and then plait them – finishing with a small tight knot.  Plait the second group in the same way.  Untie the lose knot you made at the beginning and finish off in the same way.

bracelet

This makes a surprisingly strong and pretty ‘strap’.  There must be all kinds of things we can do with this!  Let us know how you get on.

J.

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