1st attempt, Handlooped Braid
so of course it sucks

I was so excited when I first read the directions for this. Looks easy—after all, I was pretty decent at 3 strand braiding once upon a time, and this has only two more, with the added bonus of having loops to pull against, as opposed to hanging onto ends that can slip away.

the yarns, even measured out, documented, ready to go!

So I picked out some pretty colors, including a fun, silver flecked lime yarn my friend Page recently[1] gave me, cutting the fibers long enough to make a nice stocking braid for JDftY.

1st and 2nd attempts. Ew, ew, ew!

Disaster! One of the nice things about bobbins is they keep the extra yardage neatly stored. It turns out, there is a way to hank up the ends—the very useful loopbraider blog suggests crocheting them into ‘worms’—but of course I hadn't read that far.

One of the most frustrating things when I was first learning kumi was that the book I was using had very detailed instructions for just about everything...*except* what the working lengths of the bobbins should be[2] —which I discovered, by trial and error, to be about 4–8”.

This is effort no. 3 on the left; the shorter loop to the right is try #2 (I unbraided the first attempt) At least it's starting to look like a braid, rather than a tangle, but not even my lensbaby can disguise the uneveness of the stitches.

Similarly, without a beater, one tightens the strands by spreading the arms straight out to the sides; to get the really tight braids I like, that probably means a working distance of 18" or less per loop. I started out with loops long enough that I had to walk forward and backwards as I swung my arms out to tighten them. Whoops. Back to the blog to read up more, in which I initially despair, because I think I can only make braids 10 inches or so, then find out about one 20’ long, and the tricks used for that.

Clearly, one of the advantages to braiding with a marudai are the tama.

—I have a feeling I'm going to get very friendly with my crochet hook; also, I want to read the entire loopbraider blog, as it looks most extremely informative. Just have to plow through a few other projects first...

So, here, for your delectation, is my truly horrendous first braid. The very kind proprietor of Loopbraider, Ms Ingrid Crickmore, assures me my tension will improve—which it no doubt will, after I clear the textile, egg-dying and bead-making projects[3] from the queue long enough to practice!

[1]Within the last two years, say...

[2]I.e., what the distance from the edge of the kagami/mirror to the bobbin.

[3]I'm s'posed to demo floral canes for the guild in approximately two weeks. I'd better be able to make some decent florals by then! Not to mention cleaning up the disaster area otherwise known as my studio.