L-M BRIC News Illustrated Instruction Series   No. 11                                04/10/2008  © 2008
L-M Braiding Research & Information Center / Masako Kinoshita
5 Winthrop Place, Ithaca, NY 14850 U. S. A.
Phone & Fax 607-257-0886 e-mail mkinoshi@twcny.rr.com



Fingerloop Braiding with 9 (and more) Loops, Using Method 2

Ingrid Crickmore

sample swatches
The first and the fourth swatches from the left are of 9 loops, and the second of 10 loops.  Al others are of 11 loops.  The farthest right two are the obverse and reverse side of a braid.  Made by Ingrid Crickmore.


Using your thumbs you can add 2 more loops to the usual upper limit of 7 loops (with the possibility of eventually using 11 loops). Thumbs can hold and shift loops, they just can't be the operators.
That is not a problem with Method 2 as the lowermost finger is the operator.
The little finger (d-finger) of one hand can easily reach through the loops on the d, c, b and a fingers of the other hand, take the thumb-loop and pull it off and through the other loops.

Braids made using 9 loops have 18 elements; those made using 11 loops have 22 elements―a lot of structural and pattern possibilities open up with that many elements!

Left hand=L, Right hand=R, a=index, b=middle, c=ring, d=little/small finger. Accordingly, the left index finger=La, etc.
The two shanks of a loop when held on fingers (not thumbs) are in an upper-and-lower relationship (upper and lower shank)
With my method for more than 7 loops, however, the loop on the thumb is held with the shanks in a horizontal orientation to each other (when the thumb is pointing upward). In this situation, I call the shank that is closest to the mid-point between the two hands the inner shank and the other shank the outer shank. (The inner
shank on the thumb corresponds to the upper shank when the loop is on the fingers, as will be explained below.)

Editor's note: For the undefined braiding terms used in this article, those used in our publication are given in parenthesis following each term. For the terms appearing in the parenthesis, please refer to ILLUSTRATED INSTRUCTION SERIES FOR FINGER-HELD LOOP-MANIPULATION BRAIDING: NO. 1 INTRODUCTION where the definition of the terms used in the News is given.

Loop arrangement :

Photo-1Start with 5 loops on the left hand (one per digit) and 4 on the right (no loop on Rd).  (Photo 1 at left) 

The following instructions are for a square braid.

First take (take = loop transfer):

Photo 2

Rd goes through the loops Ld, Lc, Lb and La; takes Lthumb-loop reversed. (Photo 2 at right)

How to do a reversed take of a thumb-loop
(reversed take= crossed (C) loop transfer):

Photo 3Photo 4

Photo 5Bringing Rd up in front of (NOT through) the thumb-loop, and then insert Rd from above down into the thumb loop and pull the inner shank of that loop back through all the other loops, while allowing the loop to drop off the thumb. What was originally the left thumb-loop will end up on Rd, with the loop flipped a half-turn clockwise. (Note 1)
See Photo 3, 4 and 5 here and the daigram below (C transfer I).

The diagram  below also shows the other method for making a reversed take, as well as the methods for making an unreversed take (= Open (O) loop transfer). For smoother reading, skip the following paragraph for now and go to the next paragraph, Shift the left loops.

thmb to pinky

The first example on the right-hand side (C transfer I) shown above produces a loop reversal from above―it is also possible to do a reversal from below by hooking the outer shank: bring Rd BENEATH the Lthumb-loop and hook (scoop) the outer shank from the back (from the left side of the left thumb-loop)  The diagram above (C transfer II). (Note 2)

The 2 types of loop reversals are opposite in their rotational direction. (Clockwise vs. counterclockwise) Either type of reversal can be used but stick to one type for the whole braid. These two types of C transfers give no significant difference on the final outcome of braids with an orthodox pattern such as square braids.

For an unreversed take (unreversed=open (O), i.e. not turned), insert Rd up through the Lthumb-loop from below, then either turn the R hand and hook the outer shank of the thumb-loop from above (O transfer II)(Note 3), or hook (scoop) the inner shank (O transfer I)(Note 4). Pull the thumb-loop back through the other loops and off the thumb. These two types of O transfers give no difference on the outcome of braids with an orthodox pattern.

Shift the left loops:

Now the remaining loops on the left hand must be shifted upward one finger-position, freeing Ld to perform the next take.

First shift the La-loop onto Lthumb. (Photo 6, 7 and 8 below)
This is a very different move than the rest of the loop-shifts.

Photo 6Photo 7

Photo 8Move the tip of Lthumb and La toward each other, and insert the thumb into the a-loop (moving the thumb from the fingertip toward the knuckle, i.e. in the opposite direction to the way the finger is inserted) and lift the loop off the finger and onto the thumb.

(You must
shift the a-loop this way if you are doing the loop reversals as described above.)

Continue, now shifting the rest of the loops in the regular manner: insert the empty a-finger into the b-finger's loop and remove the b-finger. Repeat with all the fingers in turn.Photo 9 (Photo 9 and 10 below)
Photo 10

Photo 11Tighten the fell: (Photo 11 at right)

Spread both hands apart so the interlaced loops tighten up at the fell of the braid. Eventually this move and the shifting of the loops will probably happen simultaneously.

Second take (mirror-image of first take):

Ld (now empty) goes through Rd, c, b and a loops and takes R thumb-loop reversed.

Shift R loops upward one finger-position, freeing Rd-finger (remember to insert thumb into index loop in the opposite direction to the finger.) 

Photo 12Tighten the fell.

Finished square braid swatch. (Photo 12 at right)

Braids with unorthodox structures (UO braids):

With 9-11 loops many variations of UO braid structures are possible, with interesting color pattern possibilities. Over-whole-loop moves as well as under-whole-loop moves are both possible with Method 2. These are plaiting (two-ridge flat braid) moves, which can be combined with fingerloop through-loop moves to make UO braids. Two very nice 9-loop UO braids are:

1. Through 2 loops (d, c), over 2 loops (b, a), take thumb-loop reversed (from above).

2. Over 2 loops, through 2 loops, take thumb-loop reversed (from above).

With many UO braids there will be a noticeable to extreme difference in the braid's appearance depending on which direction you reverse the transferred loop (number 2 above especially), but either type of reversal will work.

11-loop braids:  Yes, they are possible, and in fact they can become as automatic and enjoyable to make as 7 and 9-loop braids.

[In 11-loop braids there are 3 distinct loop positions for the d-loops: The operator d-finger holds one loop in low position (at the base of the finger).  The other d-finger holds 2 loops, one in mid (middle of finger) position and one in high (closer to the tip) position. This arrangement is important for ease of passing the operator finger through all the loops.]


Place 5 loops on the right hand (one per digit), and 6 loops on the left hand―1 loop each on Lthumb, La, Lb, Lc, and 2
loops on Ld (one mid and one high). (Photo 13 Above left)
 photo15The operator will be Rd, with its loop held in low positionRd goes through both loops on Ld and through Lc, Lb, La loops in one pass to take the Lthumb-loop and hold it in high position. Rd now has two loops--the original Rd loop in low position, and the just-transferred loop in high position. 

photo16You will have one extra move during the shifting of the Left loops: Ra will temporarily lift off and hold the high (tip-end) Ld-loop until the loop-shifts are done, and then replace the loop back onto the now-empty Ld in low
position (Ld will be the next operator, so this single Ld loop must be held low). Tighten the fell, and ease the low-position Rd loop up a bit to mid-position. It will then be in the correct position for the next take. (Eventually this shifting upward of the low d-loop will probably happen during the tightening of the fell, not as a separate move.)

Prerequisites for using 11 loops:

Complete automaticity with 9 loops, using thumbs.

Other helpful hints from Ingrid:

It's important to have a holder of some kind that you can set your loops down on and pick them up later in the correct orientation. (Can be quite simple―clothespins attached to the edge of a ruler, or wide clips and a piece of cardboard, etc.)

Be able to fix mistakes―know how to check a dropped loop to make sure it is in the correct orientation before placing it back on the correct finger, and how to unbraid back to a mistake to fix it.           


Please email me if you have any questions―I am always happy to correspond about braiding.

ingridcrickmore[ at ]earthlink.net

Replace [at] with an at symbol and please put the word braiding in the subject line, thanks!

Ingrid Crickmore © 2008