have you heard of this obscure craft?

It’s called medieval fingerloop braiding (I never know if I’m spelling ‘medieval’ right, so forgive me if I mess it up), and maybe I’m making a huge assumption saying that it’s obscure but I had never even heard of this craft until I recently stumbled upon this video by one of my favorite CosTubers, Morgan Donner (that’s ‘costume YouTubers,’ in case you’re not familiar with this genre of creative content makers). You literally put these long loops of string on your fingers and weave them together into a braid (watch the video — it’s hard to explain)!

I decided to give it a try, and this orange one was my first one:

It’s a simple five loop square braid (as are all the ones I’ve made so far), and it’s not perfect but for my first try I think it’s pretty good in terms of tension consistency, at least. My second try took a bit less time since I was getting the hang of the movements, and it produced a similar length of cord:

There are actually all kinds of braids and they can get super fancy and complicated, but to me this square braid seems really practical and it’s rhythmic construction is kind of nice, like knitting a length of garter stitch or crocheting a chevron blanket. The third length I made is actually going to be part of my swamp witch costume for the Renaissance Faire that I mentioned in my last post, and as you see here I’ve put a creepy crow’s claw pendant on it:

After these three successes, however, I foolishly thought I’d try three new challenges at once: using ‘caterpillars’ (lengths of crocheted chain stitches that dangle from your loops that allow you to make super long braids), holding the strings differently as I worked, and doing a technique that starts the braid with a loopie thing instead of just tying off a normal knot. I did this for a specific purpose: I wanted to make my own lacing cord for the 18th century inspired stays that I somehow managed to miraculously make (I may do a separate post on those because to be honest I’m really proud of myself for sewing those):

You can see how the braid seamlessly joins to form the loop, but oh my gosh did I ever struggle with this! And not only was this super frustrating (taking many time consuming tries before I got it right), but I also accidentally dropped loops multiple times during the making of the cord and had to figure out how on earth to get them back on my fingers in the proper configuration (if the loops twist it causes different things to happen in the appearance of the braid). I also had to figure out how to un-braid to redo some rough sections, and when I finally finished the cord I don’t even know how many frustrated hours I’d spent on it. I almost gave up a few times, to be honest, since I could just buy some regular cord and save myself the trouble, but in the effort to make as much of my costume as possible I persevered, and at the end I used some regular thread to make my own little secure aglet (which was pleasantly easy and quick):

Overall I’d recommend trying this craft out if you’ve got some embroidery thread or lace weight yarn laying around, just don’t do what I did and bite off more than you can chew at once. It’ll be fun if you take it step by step! 😄

Or perhaps you’ve already tried medieval fingerloop braiding? I’m curious to hear how many other people have tried it or even heard of it, so I’d love to hear from you in the comments! I’d also like to know what you think of this type of post, since it’s not really knitting or crochet related.

So yeah, that’s it for today! Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great day! 😁

The Swamp Witch

Hello, hello! I’m back with a new project to share with you guys today: a shawl that I will be wearing for my Renaissance Faire costume this year! I’m going as a swamp witch, and since it’s in October and November I figured a nice wool shawl wouldn’t go amiss. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

It’s a knitted triangular shawl following the Lace Mess Shawl pattern (which is really more of a tutorial than a pattern, but it’s free!), and it starts from the top down and more lace (simple yo, k2togs) is added the farther down you go. It should look kinda messy and something like a swamp witch would wear if I do it right! In fact, I’ve made one before years ago in a different yarn (sorry for the terrible photo quality):

This time I’m using KnitPicks Muse Handpainted, an aran weight 100% superwash merino (on sale at time of posting), in colorway “Success.” It’s a decently soft and nicely squishy yarn with tones of grayish green, which is exactly what I wanted for the swamp witch costume.

I haven’t gotten far with the lace yet, but you can see a little here to either side of the “spine.” Also, note my skull stitch markers, which I thought were perfectly fitting for such a project. 😄 I’d link to them for you but I can’t remember where I got them and I’ve had them for years now, so my apologies for that.

The shawl is working up very quickly on size 10 needles (6.00mm), and I’m already on the second skein of the 4 I bought. I’m spit-splicing the ends together (since it’s not something I’m giving to someone else) so that I don’t have to worry about knots. If you haven’t run across spit-splicing before I recommend you look it up — it’s a great way to join wool yarns seamlessly (and it’s delightfully weird). 😁

For the costume I also plan on using a crocheted shawl I made years ago from the Recuerdos de Infancia pattern, a versatile shawl pattern that’s proven worth the $6 for me since I’ve actually made 4 of them. Here’s the one I’m going to use, possibly as a waist wrap (sorry again for the terrible photo quality):

There are many other components of the costume I need to put together, as well, so I’ll update with those and definitely with finished photos of the current Lace Mess Shawl.

Do you ever make crocheted or knitted items for costumes? If so, do you try to make it something you can wear again on its own later, or do you just make it for the one event?

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Please take care of yourselves, and thanks for stopping by!

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