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Easy Medieval Finger Loop Braiding for Making Cords and Bracelets

It's been 10 years since I introduced medieval finger loop braiding on this blog. It is an alternative way for making cords and bracelets. People have used it to make fasteners, lacing and drawstrings. The technique is growing in popularity as many people are now recreating historical costumes.

This type of braiding unlike that of kumihimo or Viking Knit does not require tools - just your fingers to braid together long loops of thread or cord!

If you do go on to consider using this method of creating cords, remember to allow for shrinkage as the cords get shorter as they are braided. You can use any cord or thread you like so long as they are not easily breakable.

Morgan Donner produced an excellent beginner tutorial. She is very keen on sewing historical costumes.

I definitely prefer Morgan's fingers pointed down method in the above tutorial.   Check out historian Bernadette Banner's video which shows the more common palms together method. But Bernadette does show how aglets (cord ends for clothing purposes) are attached. It is a bit similar to glue on cord ends for us jewelry makers.  She also points out that very long cords will require more than one person!

Morgan Donner shows how her favorite finger loop braid pattern  "A Grene Dorge of VI Bowes" c. 1475 is done using different colored threads in this tutorial.

Game to try this technique?

I had to chuckle as one comment on Morgan's first tutorial above went like this :

"Me: I don’t need to learn another fiber skill.
Also me: Let’s dig through the yarn stash and try this!"

Before You Go:


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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  1. This could come in quite handy!

  2. I really like the fingers down technique. Hopefully it can be transferred to other braids.

  3. Thank you again for another interesting craft and these wonderful videos on the finger loop braiding technique. What I love about this is how it shows that we don't need any other tool other than our hands and fingers to create something beautiful from string, yarn or floss.

  4. The "fingers down" method is also known as Slentre and can indeed be transferred to some other braids, but not all. Historically, it was practiced only in a small geographic area... I believe somewhere around Canada but do not quote me on this. It may be the oldest style of finger loop/loop manipulation braiding, if I remember correctly.

    In any case, it's very comfortable for beginners and arguably the best method for certain styles of (not necessarily historical) braids, but others structures are nearly impossible to make palms-down. Certain passes are very hard to accomplish in this position, and holding multiple loops on one finger is much easier with palms facing each other. There are other reasons that Slentre is limiting, but that doesn't mean it's not worth knowing, and it's certainly a lot of fun! For those really interested in finger loop braiding, though, IMO this technique is a good one to have in the arsenal along with the more traditional palm-together methods (A-fell or V-fell).


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