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KINGSMERE CRAFTS

HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS

Mystery braiding:- Closed-end, three-strand

Small articles such as wristbands, bangles and watch straps are ideal for using up small or odd scraps of (particularly vegetable-tanned) leather, and a decorative method of doing this is what is called the "mystery braid" (3mm thick cowhide leather is ideal). It's a good idea to do a trial first to get an inkling of how it's going to look when you start the plaiting. For instance, the ends will look wider than the braided bit, so you can trim them to look approximately the same width. It will also give you a clue as to the length of strip to use, as the length determines the number of times you repeat the procedures to finish evenly without the braid being too loose or too tight.

Dye your leather before you start and don't forget the cut edges of the strands. Now is the time to burnish them all as well.

Step One (Fig. 0): make two cuts in leather strip, dividing it into three equal parts but still joined at both ends. Edge and burnish each strand. Step Two (Fig. 1): pass the lower end of the strip through the slit between strands a and b.

Step Three (Fig. 2): Pass strand a over b. Step Four (Fig. 3): Pass strand c over a. Step Five (Fig 4) Pass strand b over c. Step Six (Fig 5) Fold lower end of strip between strands c and b.

Fig 0

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4


Step Seven (Fig 6) Pass strand a over b. Step Eight (Fig 7) Pass strand c over a. Step Nine (Fig 8) Pass strand b over c.

Step Ten (Fig 9) To continue braiding fold lower end of strip over between strands b and c. Repeat from Fig 2 through Fig 5 until the strands are no longer long enough to complete another full cycle of braiding.

Fig 5 Fig 6 Fig 7 Fig 8 Fig9

Three-strand mystery braiding is only one of many different braids. How to do closed-end five-strand braiding, suitably illustrated, is shown on the next page.

Click for Five-lace flat braiding

Click for Five-lace mystery braiding

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How to make the mystery braid

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