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Thread: Belgian braid

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    Mehendicant Pierre's Avatar
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    Default Belgian braid

    I'm trying to do two French braids, one behind each ear, as I think they'll stay in place better on this hot day than a braid that starts behind the ear. The way I braid is this: I hold three strands in three of the four interfinger spaces, then move the strand between 2 and 3 to between 1 and 2, then 4-5->2-3, 3-4->4-5, 1-2->3-4. As I proceeded backward over the ear, I had to switch hands. The result was a braid that started Dutch and became French. Which hand should I use to braid on which side, and how should I hold it?
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    Longhaired Intellectual Periwinkle's Avatar
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    Hm. I'm not entirely sure I understood your explanation, but I think I know what's going wrong.

    I think it started Dutch and became French because when you moved your hands, you switched up your unders and overs (passing under makes a Dutch braid, over makes a French). You need to make sure that you keep it the same.

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    ... Leisha's Avatar
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    I love the name of this braid anyway!
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    Ficcare Librarian Islandgrrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
    Hm. I'm not entirely sure I understood your explanation, but I think I know what's going wrong.

    I think it started Dutch and became French because when you moved your hands, you switched up your unders and overs (passing under makes a Dutch braid, over makes a French). You need to make sure that you keep it the same.
    <lightbulb!> Ohhhhhhhh....so that's what I've been doing wrong!!!! Thank you, Pierre, for posting this problem!!! I couldn't figure out what was going wrong, either!
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    Mehendicant Pierre's Avatar
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    Okay, so which hand should I use, and how should I hold it? I think I want Dutch, since French has more air under the hair, but if it's too hard I'll take French.

    Or should I try an Alsatian braid?
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    Long-haired longhair danacc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
    Okay, so which hand should I use, and how should I hold it? I think I want Dutch, since French has more air under the hair, but if it's too hard I'll take French.

    Or should I try an Alsatian braid?

    Belgian braid <- made me smile.


    I don't know if I can answer your question the way you asked it. I will try to explain how to get the different styles of braid, and how you can keep yours a Dutch since that's how yours started and it's what you prefer.

    When you braid along your head this way, you are adding a bit of hair alternatively to each of the "outside" three strands, then half-twisting that strand with the middle strand. (After the half-twist, the outside strand has become the new middle strand.) Using your slot terminology, when you move a strand from 2-3 -> 1-2, then 4-5 -> 2-3, you have "half-twisted" the strands that started in 3-4 and 4-5. Likewise, when you move a strand from 3-4 -> 4-5, then 1-2 -> 3-4, you have "half-twisted" 2-3 and 3-4.

    Whether you get a French or Dutch braid is dependent on the direction of the half-twists. When you pull the outside strand away from the scalp, and over the middle strand, the result will be a French braid. When you keep the outside strand near the scalp, and twist it under the middle strand, the result will be a Dutch braid.

    From your description, I suspect that when you started, your fingers were pointed down, or towards the back of your head. When moving the hair from 4-5 -> 2-3, this resulted in the hair from 4-5 staying nearer the scalp than the hair in slot 3-4 before landing in slot 2-3. And likewise for the other half-twist. Then, when you switched hands, the hand that took over must have had its fingers pointing up, or more towards your forehead, and so you were passing your hair from 4-5 further from the scalp than the hair in slot 3-4 before landing in slot 2-3. In the first case, you twisted under, and in the second case, you twisted over.

    Now, what to do to keep it consistent? Switching hands is fine as long as your fingers stay pointed in the same direction, you don't twist the braid when you switch, and you keep the slot numbering consistent in relation to your head.

    I personally think of braiding as half-twisting, as you can probably tell from the rest of my explanation. For half-twisters, you need to make sure you keep the twists "under" (for Dutch) or "over" (for French) consistently.
    Last edited by danacc; June 9th, 2008 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Fixed the formatting code I inadvertently deleted.

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