How Did They Do That?

The Ultimate PieceWork 15 Year Digital Collection, containing all of the issues from 2001 through 2015, equals 6,078 pages filled with needlework history, patterns, and techniques. Wow—that’s a lot of pages (I counted)!

You can easily browse through the pages on your computer, tablet, or other device; search using the interactive tables of contents; print the patterns and instructions for myriad knitting, crochet, tatting, needle and bobbin lace, embroidery, needlepoint, beading, and cross-stitch projects; discover the abundance of historical techniques and stories about needleworkers from around the world and throughout time.

braids

Various loop-manipulated braids featured from the March/April 2008 issue of PieceWork featuring a short tutorial on the centuries-old technique of making loop-manipulated braids. Photo by Ann Swanson.

Below is one of my favorite examples of what you’ll find in this digital collection—it’s a short tutorial from the March/April 2008 issue of PieceWork on the centuries-old technique of making loop-manipulated braids.

How Did They Do That?
Loop-Manipulated Braids

They’re seen in tiny bronze figures dating back to the first century A.D. in China and in exquisitely fine silk purse strings from fifteenth-century England. Loop-manipulated braids span the centuries and the globe yet the technique is so simple that even a child can make them.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 1

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 1

Attach five loops of equal length to a doorknob or other fixed point. Arrange the loops as shown—three on the first three fingers of your left hand, two on the second and third fingers of your right hand.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 2

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 2

Pass the index finger of your right hand through the first and second loops, going over the first strand and under the second strand of each.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 3

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 3

Hook the third loop on the index finger of your right hand and pull it through the first two loops.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 4

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 4

Now you have three loops on your right hand and two on your left.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 5

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 5

“Walk” the two loops on the first two fingers of your left hand over one finger so that they are now on the second and third fingers.

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 6

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 6

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 7

Loop-Manipulated Braids Step 7

Continue, pulling the loops taut as the braid forms, until it is as long as you want.

Note:  Following Steps 1 through 7, shown here, will produce a square braid. For a flat braid, pass your index finger over both strands of the first loop and under both strands of the second loop before pulling the third loop across.

Enjoy!

Jeane Hutchins