Introduction: How to Weave an 8-strand Braid on a Wooden Loom.

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Having posted a seven-strand braid, I thought I'd post an eight-strand weave I learned at the same time.

This one is a bit tougher on the loom, so it really needs a wooden loom, instead of card.

Step 1: Making the Loom.

The loom is a simple wooden disc, cut with sixteen slots. I used 1/4 inch plywood, left over from making boomerangs.

I used a hole-saw to cut the disc, and re-learned an important lesson - you get what you pay for.

The hole-saw cost a whole British pound (less that two dollars). The centre-bit didn't drill through the ply, it burned it's way through, because the bit was already blunt when it came out of the packet. As soon as the saw-blade reached the wood, the whole thing locked, spinning the ply out of my hand. When I clamped the ply, and tried again, it spun the drill out of my hand!

Going slowly, I eventually wore through the ply. If you look at the photos, you can see that the edge of the hole has a 45o chamfer on it, because the blade vibrated so wildly.

Anyhoo, I eventually produced a ragged-edged disc, and threw the hole-saw in the bin (recycling bin, though, so it's not a total waste...)

Using my rotary tool, I cut sixteen equally-spaced slots around the edge, measured with a paper protractor (see the next step), and smoothed off the edges and central hole to make it more comfortable to hold, and to prevent the yarn snagging.

I then used a coat of sanding sealer to keep out skin-grease, and to show up the plywood's various grains. If you use sealer or varnish on yours, run a scrap of paper along each slot to stop stray drops drying in the wrong place and blocking the slots.

Step 2: The Paper Protractor (A Sub-Instructable)

It is quite possible to mark reasonably accurate angles with just a scrap of paper.

Folding the paper in half makes a straight edge - a 180o angle.
Fold it in half again, lining the creased edge along itself, makes a 90o angle.

Fold again, and make a 45o angle.

A final fold makes a 221/2o angle.

Open the paper up, and you find sixteen equally-spaced creases.

Line the loom up with the hole over the point where all the creases cross, and then make marks where each crease meets the edge of the loom.

Step 3: Weaving the Braid.

You need eight equal lengths of yarn, knotted at one end.

  • I used four double-length pieces, folded them in half and tied the knot at the folded end, thus making a useful loop.

Thread the yarn through the centre hole, and spread the pieces out in a cross, two pieces to an "arm".

Hold the loom so that one arm is vertical, and the other horizontal. We are always going to weave with the vertical arm.

  • Lift the bottom-left yarn out of its slot, and place it to the left of the top two yarns.
  • Take the top-right yarn, and move it to the right of the remaining bottom yarn.
  • Turn the loom a quarter-turn to the right, and start again on the other par of yarns.

Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.
Bottom to top, top to bottom, turn.

And so on, until you run out of yarn.

Knot the end of the braid, and you are ready to use it for whatever you want - bracelet, necklace, or as a cord to tie your money pouch to your belt.

Step 4: Variations.

As you can see, using two colours of yarn at ninety degrees gives a helical pattern.

Changing the order of the yarns at the beginning will change the pattern you produce, as will using different numbers of colours, or pairing different colours in each arm.

You can change the direction of the helix as well, by swapping the side you move - top-right to the bottom, bottom-left to the top.

It is possible to change the direction of the helix part-way through the braiding as well. With care, you can weave so many steps one way, then the same number of steps the other way, and produce a zig-zag pattern.

Of course, you can also use this loom to weave the seven strand braid, and probably many other combinations as well.

Whatever you do, enjoy it, and if you find or create an interesting pattern, or another weave (with different numbers of strands), then why not write up an Instructable of your own?

You can give the cords as gifts (as a kind of friendship bracelet), or make the looms themselves as gifts - just make sure you get a half-decent hole-saw before you do!

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