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! 😁

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