Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eight Strand Braid

   My sister convinced me to join Pinterest yesterday. I've already seen some interesting stuff on there, including this tutorial for braiding eight strands together, posted by another Shadowdalian. I saw it and the craft bug hit. It looked fun and easy and my SCA belt is MIA. But I'm not currently home, so I had to run to the local arts & crafts store and buy supplies. It was a Michael's, so the selection was minimal. I ended up buying some fasteners intended for necklaces and pendants to function as belt buckles. They didn't have any fasteners that jumped out at me (I bought a pack of plain ones in case I decide to give some away), so I had to do some finagling to make a pendant work. They also didn't have any string-type things similar to what the person in the tutorial was using in the colors of my device (the resubmission of which has finally been put on an ILoI. Yay!), so I ended up just going with yarn. This means the belt is very narrow (~1cm) and you can't make out the pattern anywhere near as well, which is fine. It's still functional, was fun to do, and I like the way it looks. And to top it all off, it only took about 2 1/2 hours to make.

Here's the pendant. I like that the two pieces fastened together look like they could be two parts of a belt buckle even though they aren't.
Here's an example of what the braiding looks like. I used two strands of black, one of silver, and one of blue (all doubled over to make eight strands). The black strands started on the outside.

To make it both removable and fastenable, I added the following steps to the parent tutorial:
1) Thread all loose ends through the other end of the pendant. I wanted the hanging part to be unbraided, but you could also braid it for the entire length if you so desire.
2) Slip it over your head and down to your waist, keeping track of the longest it needed to be to comfortably go around them.
3) While it's at this length, tie a knot just beyond the pendant. Pull to tighten and cut off unwanted length of thread beyond knot. This knot keeps the belt from coming out of that end.
4) To fix it in place, cinch it, then tie the same sort of loose knot as you would with the ring belts you see a lot in the SCA. To remove, just untie that knot and slip it back over your head and shoulders.

   UPDATE: I made this belt in Calontir's colors two days ago after finding a Joanne's with more selections. The buckle is actually intended to be part of a purse; I'm guessing the attachment for bag to handle. They had several options that work well as simple open buckles. The string is rattail cord. It's not period by any stretch of the imagination, but it's sturdy, holds it's shape well, and passes the 10-foot test. I could probably have left the end unknotted and it would be fine since it isn't prone to fraying, but I did it anyway just to be sure. It also makes the pattern very easy to see. The yellows both started on the outside, so there's a series of lopsided 'V''s running down its length.
   I did the braiding the entire length this time. It can accommodate up to about a 48" waist after being tied off. I intend to give it to the Crown as largesse, so the length puts much less of a restriction on who can wear it.

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